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November 14, 2019

Advice to People who are Looking for “The One.”

My best friend and I became best friends in our undergraduate years.

We were in a frat house drinking cheap coolers, when, from a broken heart, she began to cry.

I corralled her into the bathroom and sat on the sink while she sobbed over some boy whose name is too insignificant to remember. That’s just the thing. We get so wrapped up about love. And maybe we should—it’s a lot to trust another person to love you the way you want to be loved. But maybe what matters more is you.

It’s a popular belief in Gestalt therapy that who we fall in love with is often the person who we want to heal us. We fall for the parts of a person that secure or deflect the parts of us that we are unhappy with. Then we are surprised when we feel let down by our partners.

I met my partner walking across a country (see how we met), and I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but I still don’t totally believe the experts when they say, “You’ll find love when you least expect it.”

Life and relationship coach Kelli Fisher said, “When you’re focused on meeting someone, that stress can be seen from a mile away.” In my case, I was 222 miles into a walk and I was by no means focused on meeting someone. But I was focused on something else. Something I believe can be seen from hundreds of miles away.

Want my personal and professional advice on what you should do if you’re looking for the one?

Take a look at what everyone else is doing first.

People daydream about finding the one. They imagine all sorts of things—appearance, status, even characterization. But the fault in this is that they don’t ask themselves what they would look like if they found the one.

Again for the people in the back:

What would you look like if you found the one?

Would you be more confident? Sexually adventurous? Would having security give you peace of mind? Give you the ability to be more honest? Would finally warding off your parents from the continuous interrogations make you feel empowered?

If you’re looking for the one, work on yourself. Join a gym and give yourself your power back. Tell your parents the truth: that you don’t like being hounded. Secure your own peace of mind by following through with the promises you make. Be honest about faking an orgasm. Or buy a new toy. Be adventurous with yourself.

I was looking for who I truly was, and in that painful process full of introspection, failures, therapy, and experiences, I found the one. It was because I had the desire to radiate. To shine. For myself. Because it can be felt from hundreds of miles away when someone is working on themselves.

I don’t completely believe that you’ll find the one when you least expect it because I thought I’d find the one once I had done this work. The reality is that when you meet your person, they are going to push you, change you, and transform you. Just by being with them, the work you’ll have to do on yourself will continue.

It’s not easy. But neither are relationships. And neither is losing the one because you weren’t ready for them.

What made my best friend and I so close that blurry night was that I told her the truth:

One day, you’re going to meet that person who is worth making a commitment to. The question isn’t when. The question isn’t how. The question is: are you who you should be when that happens? If not, then stop looking and start working.

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author: Jessa Janai

Image: Getoutski/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman