I’m passionate about learning and, recently, I’ve become a student on love. I want to expand the love I have for myself and others. I want to be a better partner than I’ve been in the past. I want my heart to be filled with so much love that there will be no room for fear or judgement to enter. I’m certainly not an expert on religion or relationships, and I will forever be a work-in-progress. I’m just a 23 year-old girl who makes a lot of mistakes… But I’m trying to become the best version of myself. Writing is part of that process.
I’m realizing that I’ve used past relationships to gratify my ego. Instead of seeing myself as a whole person, I sought relationships with people who had what I thought I was missing (confidence, peace, etc). Or, perhaps worse, I idealized needing a partner who constantly reassured me and boosted my confidence. When someone fell short of the ideals that I created, I moved on and the cycle repeated. A truly healthy relationship is one where both people realize they’re complete on their own, but have a great potential to teach each other. Together, they can work for the greater glory of God.
I can’t change another person and I can’t ask God to change them. Believe me, I’ve tried. I can, however, ask God to let me see someone the way He does. When I’m frustrated, I can ask for understanding. When I’m upset, I can ask for peace. I can ask God to change my heart. Thinking about relationships this way changes how I see others and seek God. My prayer is no longer, “Dear God, send me a wonderful man.” It has become, “Dear God, help me to see beauty in all people, including myself. Help me to see that everything you make is wonderful.”
I’ve approached many relationships like an audition. I hide my weaknesses for as long as I can and, in doing this, put up walls that create barriers between myself and love. I wait until I’m in a “good place” to enter a relationship so I can act like I have everything together. There’s nothing honest about pretending to have everything together. More importantly– when we stop struggling, we stop growing. What if I stopped looking at relationships as an audition and started seeing them for what they really are? An opportunitiy to expand my capacity for healing, compassion, forgiveness, and love.
I love someone best when I stop trying to control them and, instead, release them to be who they are. I’ve played the role of a jealous girlfriend more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve disliked other girls simply because my boyfriend liked them or I felt insecure about myself in their presence. I used to justify this as “normal” behavior. Then I realized I was in trouble if I only required myself to live up to normal standards. Normal is divorce. Normal is dishonesty. Normal is fear. Normal is, often, dissatisfaction. Projecting boundaries and insecurities on someone is not love. Removing expectations and encouraging another person to reach their highest potential– that’s love.
I’m not convinced that Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong exist. Maybe there are just people in front of us and lessons to be learned. Maybe we spend so much time waiting for the “perfect” person that we miss out on opportunities to evolve and expand our hearts. All relationships demand patience, forgiveness, and compassion. They expose the areas of our lives that need work. And maybe we don’t need to seek love. Love is everywhere. Maybe the trick is learning to recognize and remove barriers that keep love from entering our lives.
I feel my self-loathing habits disintegrate to nothing as I continue to pursue love. I’m not pursuing love by looking for a date or a new boyfriend– I’m pursuing love by showing kindness to myself, asking God to change me, not my circumstances, and keeping my eyes and mind open to the beauty that lies right in front of me.