Since I was a little girl, I was in a constant quest for validation from the opposite sex. I longed for the validation of another to feel okay with myself. And when you’re still figuring out who you are and what you stand for, feeling temporary empowerment and fulfillment from another person seems like a good option.
I’ve liked all sorts of boys – and usually there was a certain “type” that would attract my interest depending on the phase of life I was in. In my teens and early twenties I was drawn to bad boys. In my party promoting days I had tunnel vision for DJ’s and party promoters. Then I found myself in a relationship with the starving artist, who fell in love just as quickly as he fell out of love with me.
Our imbalance of finances and success proved to be a cancer in our relationship, and I realized that love does not prevail all. While the professions, personalities and appearances of the different people that came in and out of my life were different, there was a common thread. Almost each and every one was unavailable in some shape or form. Like attracts like. And in retrospect, I see that I was unavailable too.
Regardless of how great things were going in my life, I felt the need for a man to give me a sense of fulfillment. I centered my world around my boyfriends or the men I pined over – I dumbed down my success, negotiated my boundaries, made people a priority who only saw me as an option. I increased my giving – hoping that my investment would equate to a proportional increase in the amount of feelings someone had for me. I would feel heart pangs when the latest apple of my eye didn’t return a phone call, and would be ridden with anxiety wishing that the bad boy would “change”.
But then it hit me. After time and time again spending my energy and devoting headspace to unavailable men, I realized that it was time to close that pattern of my life. I learned my lesson. Or maybe it just took me a good three decades to really appreciate my worth.
Today I’m at a stage where there is great positive momentum in my life. I have a fruitful career, I contribute to society, and have created a loving and supportive community of friends and colleagues. And there’s so much more to do. There really isn’t time to waste mulling about, pining over, convincing, or trying to force a relationship to work. There are business opportunities to be had, contributions to the community to be made, youth to be mentored, impact to be created. And if you are devoting so much energy and headspace to people who don’t support and boost you in your momentum, then not only are you doing a disservice to yourself, but you are hurting your potential to contribute to the world.
So my advice to you ambitious, inspiring, positive, impact making women out there. If you’re pining over a man who doesn’t reciprocate effort, trust that there is nothing wrong with you, it’s just that he is not your right fit. If you have to convince someone that you’re worthy of his time and investment, try to take off your blinders of emotional attachment and see it as it is: a lose-lose situation with no happy ending.
If you are in a relationship that drags you down more than it supports you to rise, then seriously consider if that person is the right life partner for you. Your partner, on an overall level, should elevate you to grow and be a better person, and vice versa.
If you are single and dating around – try not to rush into labeling things just because it’s so engrained in us to follow the traditional path of dating/marriage/kids. Take your time to get to know someone, as only experiencing life events together coupled with time and consistency will reveal one’s true character.
If you are daydreaming and wishing on a star for your prince to come, be conscious not to idealize someone to fit into your fairytale, as you’ll likely be disappointed when reality hits.
And if you have met someone who supports you, appreciates your essence, and will be your rock and biggest cheerleader, cherish that person. Create a partnership with that person where the two of you will be a force stronger together than as individuals.
Whatever your situation, remember that life is too short to waste on mulling over the wrong fit. Your headspace is too valuable. There’s impact to be made and work to be done.
If it’s not fitting it’s because it’s not meant to. Listen to that inner voice to know when to close a chapter and be open to the opportunity to start a new one. Look for the lesson that each person brings so that you can develop yourself and perhaps one day, you’ll be the “right” one so you can meet the “right” one.
I’d like to end off with a quote that inspired me to write this post, from Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In: