I have put in the time it takes to know myself.
I have thoroughly researched my needs, my likes and dislikes, and the many little faults that make me uniquely me. I have sat cross-legged in the middle of the fire and burned away the parts of myself that no longer had any use. I’ve let go of the insecurities, the fears, and the idiosyncrasies that didn’t serve me and held on to the ones that do.
I’m not saying this to brag. I believe that everyone can and should put this much effort into them selves.
I didn’t wake up one day and simply choose to love myself as I am—although I’ve certainly tried that route. I have put in the work to change myself for the better. I have been through my own mind with a fine-tooth comb and left only the pieces I needed to be a better human being. I am not perfect, but I am constantly working.
So I will not settle.
I will not settle for a love that is dependent on constant reassurance; a love that pleads and begs for attention at every turn. I will not settle for a love that takes more than it gives and believes it is justified in doing so. I will not settle for lacklustre kisses and halfhearted embraces, for long nights of silence in front of the TV.
I cannot settle for entire wasted days arguing over money. For discussing dreams that never see reality. For pettiness, jealousy, blame, regret or countless sleepless nights wondering how we got here, what we became, and whether or not it’s too late to leave. Settling occurs when we start to worry that we are not where we should be. When we get jealous of what other people have and try to artificially fabricate it.
No, I will not settle for that. I deserve more.
You deserve more.
I deserve a love that has the power to occasionally keep me awake at night, in awe of my life. I deserve a love that fills my body with a lightness and an ease. I want to believe that this love will keep me safe from ever feeling another negative feeling in my life, even though I know this to be a lie.
I deserve long talks about the future, summertime naps in the spooning position, and dancing into the night. I deserve a forward-thinking love. A love where we pursue our goals as one and settle for nothing less than success, whatever that happens to look like from day to day.
I deserve a love that never settles. A love that forgives. A love that sees beyond the relationship “rules.” I want a love that creates its own world and laughs at those who can’t understand it. I want a love that loves without reason. A love filled with laughter, plans and tough discussions. I want a love that is worth the effort.
I want to jump at the chance to create a better “us.”
You teach yourself what love means. Once you have, let the bar slip one rung below your norm, it will stay there until you physically reach down and pull it up. The longer it stays down there, the harder it will be to pick up again. Make sure you don’t get stuck. Don’t get stuck in love. No one should be stuck in a mediocre version of something that could change their life so drastically.
No one should settle.
We should all raise our bars. We are not defined by your partnerships. We can choose to create the best version of ourselves and not settle for anything but the best version of our partner. And don’t get me wrong, even our best version will be riddled with deficiencies, but that’s 100 percent okay—as long as we’re constantly working, constantly striving to be better, for what is just beyond our reach.
I implore you to wait to find the love you deserve. There is no certain age you must be to find your soul mate. There are no specific life milestones that need to be met by a certain point. Sure, love yourself. Sure, have some life experiences, but you know intuitively, deep in your bones, that you’ll learn more from the right partner than life will ever teach you.
We dictate the quality of the lives we lead. So why settle for any less than what you deserve?
I know I won’t.
Author: Jordan Gray
Photo: Christoffer Engström at Unsplash
Apprentice Editor: Alicia Wozniak / Editor: Renée Picard