In life, we are told if something isn’t working to throw it out. I was always instructed to change something about myself if I didn’t entirely like it.
But what happens to this belief when we place it onto other people, like our partners?
There are many things that we make come and go from our lives, and often the most important of these are people. But perhaps some of these individuals are actually worth accepting, totally and completely, right now.
This new action requires faith.
For me, loving all of someone else has been a revolution, because it means that I first have to love my entirety, too.
I am a recovering perfectionist, which is not always the easiest thing to be around or the most peaceful head to live inside. However, it has shown me that there must be a gentler way of living than wanting only things in my life that are just right. An alternate mode of being I have come to understand involves the following words:
Acceptance. Value. Celebration. Purpose.
As I value connection and love more than anything, I knew there had to be a way to do relationships other than habitually throwing proverbial pieces of my lovers out the window.
Growing up, I thought the easiest way to have a happy union was to push, argue, resolve or fix the things I didn’t like.
I realize now that it is my reaction to what I see in the other person that affects me poorly—not so much what they are doing or not (usually minding their own business).
This I discovered through observing my relationship to myself.
How many times have we fought with the stories of self-doubt, fear and inadequacy that go ’round in our head? Ten million? A billion? So much time spent arguing the undesirable things in us, but have we tried allowing them to just be—seen, noticed, unreacted to—and then naturally shift?
Because that is what happens when things are left alone; they express themselves, are seen, and then change.
We use much energy noticing the things that we don’t like, and by doing so, especially attempting to alter them, we give them power.
What if we witnessed what bothered us, but didn’t take it so seriously, and what if we could do this with those things that irked us in our love connections too? What if we took the energy we used in trying to make things perfect, and focused on celebrating the things that we value and cherish in our partners and ourselves instead?
Life becomes about not getting rid of what we don’t want—as humans are meant to be a range of things—but rather the ability to move forward no matter how our minds, feelings and emotions are showing up.
This is transformational; whatever we are experiencing, we can still be on the path to creating a life of meaning and purpose.
So I have been asking myself this question:
“What do I value right now, and how can I move closer to it?”
When we cherish our lovers completely, as I believe they deserve, we will not try to get rid of any parts of them.
As we give less importance to the things that bother us inside of ourselves, we can do the same for the things that get under our skin about the rest of the world.
It means we align to what inspires and enlivens us, rather than to that which does not. There is no need to throw any bits away, and there is plenty of space for each to be, including our own imperfect selves.
We don’t need to feed the compulsion to make a more flawless us or them.
We are all here doing our best at being human, and it is merely our perspective that determines what we are at peace with—or not.
I don’t want to treat my lovers the way I treated myself for years. I don’t want to get rid of or fix anymore; instead, I want to celebrate the things that I adore and know that the hard ones will come and go.
If a relationship is adding to my purpose-filled life, then that is all I need to know.
Lover, I will no longer try to get rid of any of you, because I no longer choose to get rid of any of me.
Both our whole selves are welcome right here.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Ryan McGuire/Gratisography