Imagine something crazy for me, quickly.
What if you peered into a fortune ball right now – this very second, today – and saw with indisputable clarity that you were never going to meet the love of your life?
That’s a sad thing that I’m asking you to think of, I’m aware. You’ve been hoping to meet “The One” for a while now – or at least someone half-decent who you can deal with for the rest of your life. I know, I know. You’re not fanciful like everyone else. You don’t believe in soul mates. But you were expecting to meet someone you liked a fair amount. Someone to curl up next to at the end of a long day, who would take care of you when you got sick and listen to your stories every evening after work. We all hope that. We’re human.
Because here’s the thing about finding love – it affects us constantly. And we all loathe admitting it. But love is on the forefront of our actions even when it’s not on the forefront of our minds. It’s the reason you bought those new jeans last week. It’s the reason you went to that barbeque that you didn’t want to go to last weekend. It’s the reason you sometimes feel cripplingly insecure and inadequate and scared about everything that’s coming next. Love’s what inspires most of your greatest changes.
So if you knew, with indisputable certainty, that love was never going to be yours, how would you live your life differently? What about your daily routine would you alter? What about your long-term plans?
Your first inclination may be to say “Nothing.” After all, you’re a smart person. You have plans that don’t involve someone else’s influence. We all do. But ponder it a few moments more. Because here’s what we don’t want to admit about love: it is a crutch that we use all the time. The idea that someday somebody will love all our flaws is a subtle excuse not to work on them. The principle of two halves making a whole restrains us from becoming our own better half. We want someone to swoop in during our darkest hour and save us, but what if we knew they never would? We’d have to start doing everything differently.
If you knew that love would never be an option for you, what would be? How would you structure the rest of your life? Would it have a heavier focus on career, a stronger inclination toward success? Or would you use the time to invest in yourself – go on a few more vacations, travel further outside your comfort zone? If you knew that you would never again feel the rush of budding romance, where would you turn to for your thrills? How would you get your blood pumping?
And what about your other relationships – would they suddenly take on more weight? Would you spend more time appreciating your family, if you knew that they are the people who will have loved you the most strongly at the end of your life? What about your friendships? Would you nurture and care more for the people who love you platonically if you knew that nobody would ever love you romantically? Would you show up a little more often, share a little more of your life?
My inclination is to believe that never finding love would be a game-changer for most of us. One we’d initially consider to be devastating but may eventually realize is the ultimate liberation. Without the fear of ending up alone, the opportunities open to you would become endless. You could live on every continent. You could scale the corporate ladder. You could go back to school and get that degree you’ve always felt interested in, without worrying about the financial burden your debt may place on somebody else. Love holds us back in an infinite amount of subtle ways that perhaps we do not even realize. And the guarantee of its absence may just be the ultimate sense of liberation.
Because if we didn’t have to search for the love of our lives, we would finally be free to realize that we are allowed to be the loves of our own. That we can spend our lives developing ourselves, challenging ourselves, pampering ourselves and building ourselves up to be bigger, more capable people than we ever once hoped to become. We could become everything we’ve been searching for. We could construct our soul mates in ourselves.
If there’s one thing we all need to stop doing, it’s waiting around for someone else to show up and change our lives. Just be the person you’ve been waiting for. Live your life as if you are the love of it. Because that’s the only thing you know for sure – that through every triumph, every failure, every fear and every gain that you will ever experience until the day you die, you are going to be present. You are going to be the person who shows up to accept your rewards. You are going to be the person who holds your own hand when you’re broken. You are going to be the person who gets yourself up off the floor every time you get knocked down and if those things are not love-of-your-life qualities, I don’t know what are.
We have to start appreciating all that we bring to our own lives. Because the ironic truth is, you are most attractive when you’re not worried about who you’re attracting. When you’re living your life confidently, freely and without restraint, you emit the kind of energy that it just isn’t possible to fake. The kind of energy that’s capable of transforming not just your own life, but the lives of people around you.
So stop looking for The One to spend the rest of your life with. Be The One.
And let everybody else come searching for you.