This brings us to our second-to-last post in this Dating Wisely series. Over the last couple months, we’ve discussed 13 concepts that can help you to make good choices out there in the dating jungle. However, if 13 concepts are too numerous to keep in mind, let me simplify with the two most important ones: Dating Wisely Concept #1: Personal Growth Before Personal Fulfillment and Dating Wisely Concept #6: Differentiate.
Primarily Personal Growth
Dating Wisely Concept #1: Personal Growth Before Personal Fulfillment is necessary because that’s what happens anyway. Along with all their splendor, the best relationships are simply a lot of work for both parties, so you might as well accept this fact and make it your goal to let the relationship grow you up into the emotionally mature person you were born to be. It’s just pragmatic.
If you don’t accept this reality, you’ll simply project your expectations onto each other and try to get each other to conform to your fantasy. You don’t like that, and neither does anyone else, so don’t do it. In the end, you’ll be grateful that you surrendered to all that personal growth because it can leave you with a comfortable, life-long friend and partner.
Dating Wisely Concept #2: Differentiate is also just practical. The brain wants to grow up and be emotionally mature. It’s wired to do that, even with all the emotional baggage that comes our way and confounds the process. It’s simply the developmental trajectory of human beings, so you might as well surrender to it. Plus, it’s a relief to be able to just be you; it’s too hard to be anyone else.
As e e cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” I’ll say! It takes a lot of time, too, but the effort’s worth it. Guaranteed. If you want a long-term, committed relationship, that’s what it’ll take. We’ve been talking about how important it is to “know thyself,” as Socrates and others have said, when it comes to getting the love you want. When you do, you can live with no regrets.
Identify what you want in life and then apply that to your relationships. Have you ever written a mission statement for your life? Or considered what you want on your tombstone? I want my tombstone to say “She loved well.” If I can get to the end of life and legitimately leave that as my legacy, I will die satisfied.
Hey, how about exchanging mission statements or epitaphs on your next date!? That should make for interested conversation!
Two Concepts, Like Two Partners
These two concepts make great bedfellows. Figure out who you are and who you want to be (differentiate), and then go into relationship with the primary goal of developing into that person in every relationship (personal growth), romantic or not. Every relationship will challenge your resolve to be that person, particularly when you bump up against the differences between you and the other.
This is simply life’s gift to you, to help you grow into the kind person you can be proud of. If you’re choices are between pseudo and solid, solid always wins in the long run.
You’ve been a trooper! Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up our discussion with a nice big bow.