Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Lid For Every Pot

Lindsey and I met when she was a student, a good one, in my classes at Towson University. We've stayed friendly over the years since. She often asks for my perspective on things, mostly the sort of stuff that girls share.

Linds is newly involved with a great guy. She finds herself in the position of really, really liking this man. Wouldn't be hard to do, he is a- great guy. But, lately, based on things he's said, she wonders if he is looking at the relationship and its potential in the same light as she views it. She's thinking she is way more into him than he is into her. Her female internal warning device is beginning to sound the alarm. She's in a bit of an emotional knot. She turns to me, "What to do?" I can't tell her.

I'm fairly certain she doesn't really want me to tell her; the mere fact that she has questions means that things aren't the way she wants them to be. She doesn't want me to confirm that. And, since I'm not standing in the middle of the emotional quick-sand, I see it in black and white terms. She, on the other hand, is seeing through the kaleidoscope of emotions. Way different perspective. Besides, if she were to say out loud what her gut's already warning, well...what then? Our conversation got me thinking about the entire Looking For Mr/Ms Right thing. But, this entry isn't about Lindsey and her current situation; it's about what I've learned via my time on the circuit.

Here's what I know to be true about the quest for the correct relationship:

Close enough/good enough are never close or good enough when it comes to relationships. And, when I hear someone passionately say, "I want him/her so very badly," I always think, "Great, because that's how you're likely to get him/her, badly." When you say things like that, it points to being emotionally needy. And, being needy is the kiss of death to a relationship. You can't be healthy and needy. So, which are you?

It's critically important to learn to live with yourself, like yourself, be content and satisfied with your own company. Until you do that emotional heavy lifting, you end up desperately wanting something...anxiously hoping for someone. You justify relationships...you settle...you lie to yourself making all sorts of rationalizations as to why they behave this way or that. You cling to less than satisfying relationships like a bat to the wall of a dark cave.

We women yammer for hours and days in demented detail about the disappointments delivered by the not-quite-right guy we're currently obsessed with. We cry, sigh, bemoan. But, by damn, we'll continue to hang in there on the misguided notion that love conquers all! One day, he'll just wake up out of his walking coma and realize how wonderful you are. Through your powerful magic of love and belief in him, he'll change into the prince you know him to be! You'll get your happily ever after. Music up. Birds and furry creatures scamper happily about while you waltz into the sunset. Fade to black. The end.

Do I need to go any further here? Okay, look- here's how it really works. Happily ever after is the end of a fable. You're not looking for an ending; you should be looking for a life! The goal here is for you to turn into your own bit of royalty, not try to love someone into the shape you want them. It's not about them; it's most certainly about you!

It's all about you. Who you are...what you hope to be...your goals...your aspirations...what you want out of life...how do you define success and happiness? If your partner doesn't share the same sorts of notions and help you in your quest to be the best you can be...she/he's not the one! Close enough isn't when it comes to a critically important issue like a mate.

In the years I was on my own, I'd get really weary and frustrated. A friend trying to be comforting said, "Don't worry, Holly. He's out there. There's a lid for every pot, you know." She squeezed my hand and smiled. While not necessarily digging the mental image of resembling a cooking utensil, I took her meaning and the gesture of support. Years later, I know my friend was right.

But, let me let you in on a secret...the bit my friend didn't share about the whole lid/pot thing. While it is true that there is a lid, if you don't know what shape and size pot you are, you can't find the lid that's perfect for you! Your partner is out there. However, if you don't truthfully know who you are, you'll never find him/her.

Quit being a martyr for love! It isn't noble to sacrifice yourself for a relationship. To make yourself less than you know you can be and should be. To snip off bits of your dreams/hopes/desires to fit into what you think will suite him/her best. Love doesn't ask that of anything or anybody. True love expands and builds; it does not diminish dreams and lives!

It's Human to want a mate and partner; someone who completes you. So, you'll seriously consider almost every lid that comes your way. You'll make some real doozy mistakes because mostly, we rationalize- "oh, this one could be the one if we work on things together." "I can't have everything...I need to be reasonable. He makes me happy most of the time." "She's pretty great even though we don't have any of the same interests."

No! Instead of obsessing about them and how it could be made right if you or they would just change, focus on falling in love with yourself and getting to know you in intimate detail. Learn that you're complete just as you are! It's not about changing into anything. Take off the love goggles and look at things the way they are. Stop over-laying the current less-than situation with the notion that it can be changed if you just hang on long enough, or work on it hard enough.

If the one you're with doesn't make you love yourself more each day, it's time to vote with your feet! There are millions of people in the world. Millions! And, while I believe it is miraculous that in all of those, two people who are meant to be together do find each other, you can't have The One if you decide to jam up your life with close enough- Mr. Good Enough; Ms. Mostly I'm Happy With.

One of the things that drives women crazy about men is how most seem able to easily walk away from relationships that don't work for them. As soon as they determine it's not what they're looking for, they're gone. Not so much when they've committed to a long-term thing, but in the dating phase, guys can cut things off pretty quickly with surgical precision. Men don't question this. They simply believe that they have the right to continue hunting until they find exactly what they are searching for.

They don't waste time after they've crossed something off their list. They don't retro-fit. They don't keep working on it. They don't negotiate. They don't stress about what-ifs. They let go and walk on. We hate that about them. But, on some level, aren't we a bit envious of their ability to walk and keep looking? Come on, admit it! You'd love to be able to act the same way, wouldn't you?

Well, you can. Nothing's stopping you except fear. Fear that Mr. Right may never find you so better hold onto Mr. Close Enough. Let go! Let go of fear. Let go of Mr. Close Enough. Let go of all angst and drama. Grow your life and be excited about your choices. Be brave! Own your life. Be intrepid. Trust. Experiment. Get to know yourself. Be honest. Live for yourself! Fall in love- with yourself, first!

Once you do, you'll know clearly what sort of vessel you are and you'll be proud of your pot-ness! And, Mr/Ms. Fits Just Right Lid will be much more easy to recognize when walking into your life. Go forth and begin to own how wonderful you are and how grand your life plan is! Do not settle. Now you're cooking!!

Namaste' Till Next Time,


Caroline & Co. said...

Loved it, so true! Can't wait to talk to you.

LynnZRae said...

Morning Holls,

I read your blog this morning, I absolutely I agree with the message but, I have to be honest in saying that I do not really feel that it necessarily pertains to me, yet anyway. I love who I am with him. I love who he is with me. I do not feel that I am changing to hold onto him or vice verse. Yes, there are things about him that I do not necessarily love but no one is perfect and those things are things that I am willing to compromise on.

Am I worried about the commitment down the road, yes. However, we have only been together for six months so isn't it only fair for him to not be thinking that way? I know that I want and on some levels need marriage to the guy that I am in love with. If he cannot or will not offer me that than I know I need to move on. That is something that I am not willing to compromise on. With that being said, he has never said that he does not want to be married, he has said that his generation is very weary about it. I guess the direction that I need advice on is whether or not to confront him about that now or to wait say a year into the relationship to bring it up. I need to know basically if I am wasting my time with the wrong person but I don't know if that is a fair pressure to put on him at this stage in the game or on the relationship.

I also make it easy on him, I am there on the weekends and give him space during the week. I agree with you in that I need to stop doing that. I have an animal that I am responsible for and love very much. If he were to let me bring him with me, maybe it would be a different story.

I know I am getting repetitive but I am just kind of writing what I am feeling right now. My worry is that he is too afraid of commitment that he will never allow us to take that big step...getting engaged, married, and moving in together. I want to unite my life with his at some point but is he too afraid to do the same with me? I am not his therapist so I cannot hold his hand through this, I have to get what I need.

With that being said, it is not as if the relationship is stagnant at any level. I went home with him to for Thanksgiving, he is going home with me for Christmas. He does do a little of the "we" in the future (like discussing next Thanksgiving) but not as much as I would hope for, but again it has only been six months, or does the fact that it has only been six months make a difference?

Yes, I am nervous that he will tell me that he is not willing to offer me what I need for myself but, I am more afraid that I will waste my time with him while someone who is right for me passes me by.

What I think a lot of this (if not all) has to do with is my need for validation and my need for feeling special and different from the other 2 women of his past. I want to know that he wants to be with me forever. I know, I know that is a lot of pressure to put on him, myself, and this relationship so fast. It all comes back to that need to feel safe and in control and away from the potential hurt.

I know you said I was not fooling you, that if he were to propose today I would say "yes" in a heart beat and you are right, I would say yes. However, I really want this relationship to work, to be forever, and I know that if we were to take that plunge now it would not be as likely that we would survive rather than if we waited. I don't think we are there yet, but I do believe we could be. I just don't want to have to wait 10 years for it to happen.

Maybe he was saying that to challenge me,maybe there was a reason (positive or negative) or maybe he just needed to talk to someone about his feelings. He has told me that I am his only confidant and his best friend. Maybe I am making a bigger deal out of this and I need to just relax and let nature take its course. I want to share my life with him someday but I am NOT willing to lose myself for the glimmer of hope that it might be.

I am sorry I am kind of everywhere with this post but it helped to just write and not worry about grammar or repetition. I am writing to you like how you told us in class to write in a journal-just write whatever comes to mind. I hope I am making sense to you.

I love you!!

Holly said...

I love you, too! And, I love that you shared how you see things so that the other readers can hear your views. As I said in the blog, the entry was not so much about you and the current situation so much as our conversatoin got me to thinking of the entire dating ritual and the hunt for a mate. Love you, too, in all ways! Readers, any words of advice for my girl here?

LionKing said...

All I know is that if the lid doesn't fit the pot, all the steam escapes and nothing is cooking!!!

Maybe simplistic, but that's just me. Smooch

Nels2008 said...

All true. That being said, while loneliness and feeling good with yourself are great, I don t think anyone is supposed or designed to be alone their whole life. If we were to strictly follow your guidelines, we could very well spend the rest of our lives alone. Because it s hard to find someone who really fits you. Most women are settled before 40 for obvious biological reasons. Does it mean they are all wrong ?

Holly said...

Well, Nels2008, that's a great question. No, I don't say they are wrong, but I will say that if that was the primary reason for settling, funny, we say Settled down, and they're not the same thing, btw, I suppose it's this. Most of us don't find the correct fit in early life. If you ask anyone who is married more than once, they'll say it's because they didn't really know who they were or who they were searching for. It makes sense, then, to Know Thy Self. And, I say experiment away with meeting and dating and learning who you are through those experiences. But, when it comes time to making that hard and fast decision, it should be done with a clear understanding of who you are and what and who it will take to allow you to live authentically and grow to full happy potential. I still maintain that close enough isn't close enough. Readers? What say you?

LynnZRae said...

I completely agree that when it comes time to making that decision you need to be clear about who you are and what you want and need and same goes for the significant other. I also agree that living authenticlly is essential for a successful, maturing, and happy relatioship. However, I believe that comprimising is not settling. There are certain things in life that I will NOT compromise on and there are certain things in life that I am willing to compromise on and still live an authentically happy life. (My lid might not fit perfectly but it still works well with the pot-the water will still boil). I don't believe that is settling I believe that is growing as a person and as a couple. The improtance in the comprimising is the communication within the comporomise-and I find value in that. Sometimes he may communicate a point to me that I never thought of before and at the end may make sense to me. Overall, I believe the importance of knowing yourself allows you to know what you can and cannot live with. I want/need to be married but I do not need to have children. Marriage I will not compormise on but children, I will. I don't think I will ever find that perfect man but honestly, I don't think I want to. I like having someone that challenges me, my thoughts, my beliefs but, in order to have that I need someone that communicates with me and listens to me. We may not always come out of the discussion with an agreement but we always hear each other out.

Holly said...

I agree with what you write here. Let's be clear. Compromization takes place on the day to day living part. There should be no compromizing about who you are, what you want out of life, what you are seeking in the best partner for you. And, there should be absolutely no compromising in what is needed for you to be the best, most authentic Human you wish to be. Can you agree?

LynnZRae said...

I absolutely agree!

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