Valentine's Day is Thursday, and that used to mean something to me. It was always a defining moment for whomever I was talking to because it showed me where we stood. The day became an annual let down. I was so pressed to be in a relationship, I ignored the signs telling me “not now.”
I wasn’t prepared for what I wanted. I underestimated the process, and rushed myself into problems (or repeated let downs). Truth is, whether we’re preparing for love or business, worthwhile outcomes take preparation and time. Here are three lessons I picked up along the way:
1. Accept your journey and unpack your habits
From ages 27-30, I heavily resented being single. It was the check box I hadn’t marked off, and it was in contrast to my parents and grandparents’ path. My relationship status was a badge of shame, a reminder that something was wrong. That was my perception, and boy was it skewed.
Looking back there are several causes for my perspective and clear evidence of when it began to change. Society and family painted a picture and timeline that I internalized. Marriages were happening in waves, and I hoped to be on the next one. I spent years chasing this fantasy before realizing my patterns. I was attracting the same non-committal energy in different forms. Marriage wasn’t MY STORY.
I didn’t fully accept this until April 2018 when a series on relationship goals unpacked the purpose of singleness. Once I accepted being single, I could happily spend Valentine’s Day at Red Lobsters catching up with a girlfriend without internally feeling like I needed to be somewhere besides where I was. Your story won’t look like anyone else’s; focus on unpacking your patterns and enjoy the space you’re in.
2. Get prepared
I mentioned that I kept attracting non-committal energy. I learned in therapy that our relationships are mirrors and the people I attracted were simply reflecting my own issues with commitment. Every adult relationship I was in (all two of them) made me feel immediately trapped until I built up the energy to end them. I liked the idea of a relationship more than the reality of it because I wasn’t ready.
The easiest way to prepare for the next level is to transform where you are. If I wanted a relationship, I needed to look at what was and wasn’t working in with existing connections. In light of this, I shifted my energy toward my friendships and realized I had issues with vulnerability, forgiveness, and self-advocacy. How was I going to be in a relationship with a stranger, when I didn’t have the skill set to effectively maintain meaningful relationships with people I loved?
I had work to do and I couldn’t see that until I stopped looking for what I didn’t have and learned to pour into what I did.
3. Give it to God
This last point is easy but the most frustrating. The control freak in me struggles with this one daily. When I’m not caught up in trying to figure it all out, I find peace in knowing what’s meant for me is for me, and it will happen in due time. In the interim, we can stop looking at the big picture and focus on being our best selves in each moment.
Not sure what plans you have this Thursday, but don’t overthink them. Whatever you ultimately want, will come when you’re ready. Focus on you and what you can control. If you're building something to last forever, don’t rush it.