Thursday, December 1, 2011

‘Tis The Season To Have An Open Mind

I spent most of this year in a relationship, which was good at times and not so good at times. However, this time around, about 9 months into it, as soon as I saw things going left and knew that this relationship was not good for me, I broke it off. After my dad died earlier this year, I realized that life is indeed short and it made me look at life differently. It has forced me to re-evaluate my life, including my dating choices.

We have all been guilty of staying with someone we were not entirely happy with because we didn't want to be alone or millions of other reasons. For whatever reason, we decided to hang in there, hopeful that things will change. And they don't. It's harder to leave because you are essentially walking away from that fairytale we all have of being with someone. But honestly, I'm at a point in my life where I'd rather be happy alone than unhappy with someone, just to be with someone.

I have learned a lot being in the dating/single world. One thing I hear all the time from both men and women are how they aren’t any good mates out there. I am guilty of saying that myself. But I have learned over time, that I was getting in my own way. I was so focused on my “list” of characteristics of what I was looking for in a man and that led me to ignore and dismiss good men that were right in my face.

This is what I think. As a single person, you have to have an open mind. There are some great single people out there but they’re not connecting. So you have men and women out there who are great catches but they are not meeting each other because they won’t look twice at each other.

For me, of course, being a big girl, that is a strike against me when it comes to men who are only seeking women of a certain size. I have met many men who I liked and vibed with but they wouldn’t even give me a chance because they “preferred” someone smaller. Don’t get me wrong. I get that. I know all about preferences. We all have them. But I think limiting yourself with such preferences can hinder you in your search for that special someone because you will rule out some great people.

I used to date men who were extremely tall and thin. That was my physical preference. I also only dated black men because honestly, they were the only ones checking for me. They found my curves and big body attractive. But then I got to this place, where I kept meeting guys who treated me like crap. It was the same thing over and over again. Sure, I can say that these guys were jerks but in the end, I was choosing to be with them, to date them, so I am accountable for those choices. If he mistreats me once, okay, it’s on him. But if I CHOOSE to stay and he continues to mistreat me, it’s on me. I am accountable.

We need to stop being so focused on a person’s height, weight, shoe size, financial status, the type of car they drive, their fashion sense, etc. We need to look past the outer shell and what’s on paper. I'm not saying that money, status, having a job (!) or the number of children he/she has is not important. However, sometimes we get fixated solely on those things and ignore everything else. We need to look at a person’s character, their heart and their mind. Once you do that, you can make a proper decision on whether you are interested in him/her or not. Who knows? You may see qualities you like and connect with and that person becomes so attractive to you that you see someone that those other folks who are looking at the exterior don’t see. Like the saying goes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Life is about taking chances and having faith. If you close yourself off to the possibilities out there and just settle, you will never know what could have been. You could miss out on something great and wonderful. It’s about letting go of perceptions of what you think is the right type of mate. It’s not being concerned with what others think. You're the one dating this person and your happiness should supercede what anyone thinks.

So now, I know what you’re probably saying…but what if there is no connection or attraction when we first meet? Well, there may not be a connection or spark at the beginning but that does not mean you should rule the person out, if they possess those other deeper qualities you are seeking in a significant other (caring, considerate, sense of humor, etc). A solid relationship is one built over time, getting to know someone, being that person’s friend and companion - knowing them to their core. How do you know someone when you first meet them? I think we put too much emphasis on establishing that instant connection and use that to make a decision on whether we want to date the person or not. But honestly, that instant connection will burn out as fast as it appeared.

We want things NOW. We want to rush into a relationship because we yearn for that. But if you rush into something without knowing a person and just based on an instant connection, what will you do when that connection burns out and you want to run for the hills?

What I am saying is, take your time to get to know someone before you rule them out. Don’t dismiss them solely on their appearance/outer shell or lack of an instant connection. Then make a decision on whether you want to pursue something with them or not. Just make sure you are being true to your heart and not letting outer forces influence your judgment. Because in the end, someone will always have something to say. You can’t make everyone happy but you can make yourself happy. So who cares what someone else thinks? If you’re happy, it’s all good.

You may not always get what you want but just know you will receive what you need when the time is right. Just keep an open mind, be patient and continue to live your life fabulously, alone or not. Love will find you - it may not be on your timetable but it will happen. Usually, when we are looking too hard for something or someone, we end up settling for the first thing or person that comes along. And you know and I know, you are too amazing and beautiful for that mess!

On that note, this holiday season, gift yourself with an open mind and the other gifts I have discussed in the last 2 months:

- Know your self-worth

- Tap into that self-love from within

- Believe in yourself & your beauty

- Take care of yourself physically (Put yourself out there, be active, meet people)

Those are the best gifts you can give to yourself this holiday season and those are the gifts that keep on giving. Be good to yourself today and always.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your words are very insightful. I commend you for self examining throughout the course of events that inspired you to write this article. So many people just point the finger of blame and blindly assume that if every relationship goes down the same road the others were to blame.

I have to say that I agree with your processes, it's important to maintain a healthy yet realistic list of criteria. Keeping in mind that some criteria are superficial BUT, very hard to overlook. If certain body types are more appealing to you it is quite a task trying to change the way you think. Especially since these types of criteria stem from standards created a long time ago in our heads. Basically, I think we like what we like. A man who prefers a full figured woman would find it challenging to pursue thin women instead, and visa-versa. But one thing that we can change is being attracted to the same negative patterns when choosing who we will spend time with. I have had friends who find themselves in physically abusive relationships with numerous partners over the years. And if you put these men in a line up you would have a hard time telling them apart, not in looks, but mannerisms and personalities.

Sometimes we ignore the red flags for one reason or another. The standards you set for yourself dictate what you will and will not accept. (when I say you , I mean single people in general) You know when the bar is set too high for anybody to jump over, and you certainly know when it's set so low that anything can crawl right through.

I am a fond believer in this theory when it comes to seeking guidance in relationships...

I say the people who are best suited to give a single person "food for thought" is a much older person (a senior) experience and lots of it has a better chance of steering you the right way than your best friend of less experience.

Marcy, i love the way your article teaches us to examine all the evidence in order to figure out how did we get the same result, and what can be done different next time. Is there a right person? They may be right, and we may not be at that level yet when we meet them. Or they may not be at the level we have achieved (career, maturity, sacrifice, experience etc.) One thing we definitely can say is whoever we choose to have a relationship with, it will take work to maintain it. When they walk into your life they bring the baggage of decades with them, it takes time to sort it all out and find a happy medium. Taking care of yourself and loving yourself gives your future loved one a well rounded confident person to deal with and the relationship has a better chance of making it - - Great article Marcy, great Advice!