So far we have looked at one side of the equation. Let us now put the equal sign and look at the other side. What if your partner also behaved like you? What if they also looked out for your happiness and made deliberate steps to make you happy? You would both be satisfied.
And the square root to this equation is that there would be less pain. When you go out of your way to intentionally make someone happy, the baseline is making sure you don’t hurt them in the first place.
Let us now go back a few paragraphs to our words and chew them. Humans are selfish by nature. We think about ourselves first and others later. That means loving someone else and making them a priority instead of you will not come naturally. It will not be easy. It will be going against our nature. What we have accustomed ourselves to for the eighteen-plus years of our single lives.
There will be compromises to make. It will be painful. It will be easy to forget. Change is not a joke. But we are the most intelligent species roaming the earth. If there are candidates more qualified than us to make this change then they must be angels. As with many things in life, it will be hard at first. But if we don’t give up then it will become second nature to us. And the results will speak for themselves.
To add seasoning to this article let us cast off the idea of perfection. High expectations make disappointed folk. We are not fools anymore. We know that no matter how well you wear cologne and match your suits with your ties, or how well your hair looks and your uncanny penchant for picking dresses that complement your figure… We know that you are not perfect.
So why don’t we save each other the ugly discoveries? You know yourself. Let us start on an honest note. Tell me your dark side. Your true colors. Five things about you that are very annoying. I will tell you mine. That way we can gauge and see if we can live with that.
Don’t they say better the demon you know? Maybe you are short-tempered and impatient. I may know exactly how to live with such a person because my own mother was short-tempered and impatient. I can weather that storm to enjoy the fact that you are an excellent cook too.
But if you don’t tell me earlier, you may be shocked to realize that I actually cannot handle the active volcano you are because I was raised in a humble home where no one ever raised a voice. You think I am joking but such people exist.
Then I will simply call it quits one or three years into the relationship because I have reached the end point of my tolerance and I just can’t take it anymore.
Let’s save ourselves the pain. Let’s be kind to our own hearts. If the ship is destined to sink then let us not board it in the first place. Swimming in ice-cold ocean water is not what the human body was designed for.
And if we truly want to see the people we love happy, we will be willing to work on our imperfections. We are being deliberate about seeing them happy after all. Just know that this work will take time and effort. A big chunk of both.
And speaking about time. Take time to know each other better. What are your potential partner’s likes, dislikes, and goals in life? Are they in line with yours? Are they out of line? Can compromises be made? Are some beyond repair?
It will save you a lot of heartaches later. Remember, there is no version of paracetamol that can cure heartache.
But Daktari, what if they lie? Humans are masters of deceit. Two things. One, there must be somebody somewhere who knows this person for who they really are. Don’t go it alone. You won’t get far. And we want to get far. As far as death do us part.
Ask around. Consult their friends, your friends, and family. Ask and be willing to listen. You may uncover sharpened razor blades that could have cut your heart to fine shreds later on.
Two, again, give it time. One can hide the truth, but not forever. In the end, like the product of our bowel functions, you can’t hold it in ad infinitum. It will come out at some point.
You don’t have to rush in as if not getting this person is going to kill you. News headline: No one is indispensable. Let me illustrate with beauty. There will always be someone with longer hair, more perfect eyes, cuter nails, baby skin, etc.
Whatever your peculiar preferences, the world is not running out of resources to fulfill them. Put away one and another is sure to show up. You had better take your time and get it right than move fast and land a wolf in sheepskin. A wolf with big, long canines. As big and long as the ones we are using to chew up the misconceptions about love.
But what if I am already in a relationship? Does that mean I quit because I never followed these principles when dating? There is a thing called communication. Talk to your “baby”(another word I hate. I am an adult and proud of it) about this. Who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, where you are headed. Honesty will pay handsomely.
If you see things are repairable then by all means stay put and keep working. Try making each other happy because it is well known that love begets love. If you show someone kindness then they are likely to reciprocate.
But if you see it’s not going to work then be bold and kind enough to yourself to pull the plug. Don’t die because of someone who doesn’t even love you. Leave that to Jesus. He is operating on another level. Being single is not all doom and gloom either because you will be free to make yourself happy.
Take time too to make yourself a better person and with time you will find a person who is your fit. You can tolerate their mishaps and they can tolerate yours. You are both willing to compromise to see each other happy. You are willing to be kind to each other and every day you do something small to make the other person happy. Your goals in life align and those that don’t you are willing to find a middle ground.
Such a fit is not easy to find because we are so many, but such a fit also exists because we are so many. A little patience and effort are all it takes to find the right person (because we are known for having no patience at all, so even a little will suffice. Like a few years) because under the sun, time and chance happens not to the swift, wise and strong only but to us all.
So what is love? Love is showing kindness and caring for those who don’t deserve it. It’s not impossible. Parents do it all the time. We tend to want to care for and give our affection to perfection. But the only perfect being I know of is God. If that definition of love doesn’t sit right with you then you are not ready to love. Sit on the docks and watch the grown-ups play because you are still growing at heart.
It may seem contradictory. Staying with and caring for someone who is not perfect. Don’t people in toxic relationships do that too?
Repetition is the mother of all teachers so let us repeat. Perfection is a mirage. So whether we like it or not, we will find ourselves in a relationship where the other person sucks at something.
The difference is that this time we will have been forewarned, we will have given ourselves the opportunity to gauge whether we are equal to the task, we will have time to shop for the right equipment to undertake this task, and most of all… We will be willing and able to live with that person.
If they start a fire we will have the extinguisher to put it out and no one will suffer any damage. The other guys in toxic relationships are just burning in the fire, unprepared and unable to help themselves.