To all the people who have felt immense pressure to find a partner, yet are still roaming this earth single, or are currently with someone yet still not feeling fulfilled, dabbling in and out of the hopefulness-hopelessness cycle, this is for you:
I’ve done the dating apps dance too many times over…
Swipe, swipe, swipe, message, get ghosted.
Swipe, swipe, swipe, superficial conversations.
Swipe, swipe, swipe, vibe, connect, meet up, ends after 3 dates because you’re both hypercritical trying to find a perfect match.
Deletes the app.
Takes time for yourself to try to meet people in person.
Re-downloads the app.
Rinse & repeat, baby.
Don’t get me wrong: plenty of people have extraordinarily easy and wonderful times dating.
This piece is less about the dating experience and more about the peculiar overarching message in mainstream society that prioritizes having a partner above all else and neglects the most important relationship: the one we have with ourselves.
Perhaps it’s the innate animalistic desire to procreate, the psychological need to connect with others on a deep level, or the misconstrued spiritual belief that you’re only whole when you find your “soulmate.”
I get it. I mean there’s something about intimacy that is coveted.
Being in love is potent.
To quote the queen of dating herself, Miss Taylor Swift “it’s miserable and magical.” Oh yeaaaaaah.
(A true Swiftie knows that this lyric is in reference to how it feels being 22, but it most definitely applies here as well.)
Even though there are beautiful benefits of finding a lovely partner to share a meal, a home, and a life with, it’s become such an integral part of society that it feels like if you don’t find someone to bring to your family events….well then there is clearly something inherently wrong with you.
I mean take it from my grandma, who doesn’t understand how her granddaughter is still single while all of her other grandma friends have weddings to attend and baby showers to throw.
This is the message ubiquitously laced everywhere you turn.
Grandiose wedding celebrations engraved in girls’ dreams from a young age.
Rom com movies with that familiar plot line of how life isn't complete unless the handsome boy falls in love with the esoteric girl.
Older generational mindsets of getting married and having kids as a life’s purpose.
None of these mindsets are necessarily bad or wrong, yet there are many mutated iterations of these tropes that infiltrate society that place the focus on finding a partner instead of becoming aware of ourselves and working on our own growth so that when we do find a partner, we can have it be healthy, healing, and nourishing.
There is a growing movement of mindfulness, healing, and personal development, but the “you must find someone” perspective cuts deep.
So deep that it can leave us feeling defective, unworthy, and like there’s something wrong with us if we’re still single by 30, 40 or 50.
And then when you do start dating someone, there’s this constant overthinking of:
“Is this person the one?”
“Are we a good match?”
“Am I wasting my time?”
“Am I even happy?”
Which are good questions to ask, until you start to spiral and have these thoughts take over the relationship instead of just enjoying the present moment and learning from the experience.
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Finding a partner is all well and good, but in order to feel the most fulfilled in this lifetime, it’s most important to water and cultivate the relationship you have with yourself.
You spend 100% of your time with yourself.
That’s the relationship that matters the most.
Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean that the race is won.
Relationships take constant work – communicating openly, becoming aware of your triggers, being open and honest with someone, getting vulnerable.
Just because two people take photos together and plaster it all over social media doesn’t mean that it is the healthiest thing on earth.
You never know what is going on behind closed doors.
The important thing is to foster your own love and acceptance for yourself so you know you have the resilience to also trek the highs and lows in a relationship.
Relationships are beautiful and can be so incredibly healing if we allow them to be.
Yet, it boggles my mind how we cheer people on at the altar, yet we also subscribe to the mainstream societal messaging of “not being good enough.”
It solidifies this idea that we are not good enough until we are in a partnership.
That somehow a partnership deems us worthy.
The real celebration is when we choose to love our own selves with so much vigor that it feels like an act of rebellion.
When we choose to leave someone because they are no longer making us happy.
When we choose to stand up for ourselves even though it may make our partners feel uncomfortable.
When we choose to be alone and not settle for someone who isn’t a fit out of the sheer idea that we must be with somebody.
When we’ve been told our bodies aren’t good enough, our skin has to be flawless, and you need this next big product in order to be considered beautiful…of course we’re stressed and anxious about aging, about dating, about how we’re being perceived.
And getting validation and love from others is like the stamp of approval that “yay, other people like me, I must be good enough!”
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Now with a bigger self love and body acceptance movement, we’re starting to see this shift where the emphasis is on our own love toward ourselves.
We’re realizing that it’s our own company we must channel our energy toward.
The instance I channeled loving energy toward myself was when I learned that I was settling for partners who barely gave me the minimum just so I didn’t have to sit with the uncomfortable feeling that I didn’t feel worthy.
Now, I’d much rather be alone quirkily dancing in my bedroom than settle for spending time with potential partners who aren’t exponentially enhancing my life.
Don’t get me wrong, going on dates and getting to know different people can be fun – even if you know they aren’t going to be your future partner.
It’s a great way to learn more about who you are, your perspectives, and how you act in different environments.
And It’s even better when you can go into these dates with an open mind and not put so much pressure on the other person to be the one you’ll end up with forever.
Unfortunately, we can fall victim to the mindset that finding a partner will make everything better.
You can learn, grow, and heal with a partner.
You don’t have to be 100% healed to be with someone.
Heck, there’s always learning and growing to do.
However, a relationship doesn’t necessarily equal happiness if you can’t find happiness within yourself.
You're still you in a relationship.
Your worries, fears, traumas, and anxieties don't just *poof* vanish because now you have someone to share your life with.
There are people in relationships who are lonelier than people who are single.
Happiness is an inside job and no one else can provide that for you or take that away from you.
As much joy as a secure intimate relationship can give you, the best relationship to cultivate, is the one with yourself.
Of course there will be days where you crave intimacy and you want a partner, and you’re fed up that the perfect partner hasn’t rounded the corner yet.
And on those days, come back to yourself.
Feel the uncomfortable emotions and then come back to trust.
Date yourself and set the bar so high that when someone comes in, you have a baseline of what to compare it to.
Is spending time with this person more fun, more joyous, and more loving than spending time alone?
Or is it causing more of a headache?
At the end of the day, you’re the one who lays your head to rest, thinks all of your thoughts, and creates your actions, so make sure that’s the person you’re dedicating time to because that relationship isn’t going anywhere.
How's the relationship to yourself?
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