You're single and want to meet that someone special NOW! Especially since we are on the brink of the holidays, right? So naturally your "Mate-dar" (your ability to suss out a great mate) is turned up a notch. Or so you think. Truth is, Mate-dar is only as good as its end user.
The problem—or, should I say, one of the many challenges—with being human is knowing the difference between who we are and who we are not. Making the all-important distinction between our unconscious persona and our authentic, healthy, whole selves. Until we have addressed this process, it is likely that our wounded little kid has a hold of an adult tool, waving it around like a toy and then BANG!—somebody gets hurt. Our Mate-dar, when operated by our 5-year-old wound, can get us into a lot of trouble—as would any part of ourselves we have not made peace with, healed or become aware of on some level.
In the case of seeking a great partner, when we are seeing through the eyes of a wound we are less likely to see clearly! This can show up in different ways (boy, can they be tricky, slippery and subtle all at once), most of them falling under the guise of denial or rationalization.
Here's a great story to illustrate how elusive accessing our very own truth can be.
My husband, David, got on the scale this morning. I could hear the clang and distinct argh. "How can that be? I gained four pounds? I have only been eating lettuce all week, for crying out loud!" I tried to comfort him by saying that muscle weighs more than fat, and then burst out laughing, realizing that's what I told myself last time I got on the scale. After we lavished one and another with a few more excuses, we decided that the scale was broken and we needed to get a new one—one that told us what we wanted to hear!
I have learned it's one thing to sit around and bitch and moan wishing things were different, and another to do something about it. So I went for a run, then later we went to get the scale.
"It's never a good idea to weigh yourself late in the day, sweetie" I reminded him as he stepped off the fancy glass scale in Bed Bath and Beyond, that seconds before had held such promise. "Yeah, but this one says I weigh even more than the one at home—did I gain four more pounds since we left?" I wasn't laughing as I was about to climb on. Mind you, I don't make it a habit to get on scales—I know all too well they are not my friends, because I almost never feel better about myself as a result, but how bad could it be? I run and eat well and anyway, I would know if I "What the…? A hundred and what?! Wow, I don't know what to say, except that scale can't be right!" I leapt off like it was a bed of hot coals.
"Oh, look, here's one that tells you how much muscle versus fat you have, and it will show us how much water we are retaining! Let's try it. You go first!" I said. David placed the Ferrari version of a scale on the floor, took his flip-flops off again and stepped on. "Uh oh. Uhhhh—Wait, try that one, that's just a regular old scale," and quickly pointed to another. We both waited as it calculated. "Well, this one says the same thing as the one at home does," he shrugged. "Which means—uh…we're fat, right?" We both laughed, let it sink in for a minute, and then decided that since we were ready to admit the truth, that we weighed more than we wanted to, we might as well buy the really cool one that told us in great detail all about it.
What the heck does this have to do with relationships? That's a very good question, and if you answered "Everything!" you are definitely smarter than the average bear!
Pay attention because this is heavy. It doesn't get any more real than this kind of reality. A huge contributor, if not a top ten reason so many of us don't have a GREAT relationship, is—we don't tell ourselves (or others) the truth. It's an exact proportion, as a matter of fact! Think about it. Let's say I asked you right now to write down your name, how much you weigh, how much you make a year, the color of your eyes, hair, your shoe size, how tall you are, where you live. Nine out of ten of you would lie about at least half. The rest of you would at least exaggerate or minimize. Don't believe me? Go grab the next person you see and tell them how much you really weigh. How tall you are, to the centimeter. What color your hair really is. How old you actually are. Go down the list; if you are honest with yourself, you will see how often we lie about the most mundane things. Why? Because of what we make it mean:
I weigh X = I am fat = no one will want/love me
I am X years old = I am too old = no one will love me
I am five feet X = too short (or tall) = no one wants that = no one will want me
My real hair color is X = I am unattractive = no one will love me
I make X amount of money = I am poor = no one will want to be with me/love me
So we do what my husband and I tried to do. We slip right into the old river called Denial. We begin with some simple rationalizations, adding or taking away a zero here and there. What harm can it do? we think, Who cares? If I don't care, why should anyone else? Well, that's the problem. You do care, or you wouldn't bother lying—especially to yourself!
You can see how easy it is to miss cues, red flags and warnings or signs from another person that they really aren’t interested. Our agenda for love can be so strong, our wound-ology so ingrained, that it actually distorts reality! Here are some recommendations to help develop or adjust our Mate-dar.
1. One of my favorites is to interview people who have the kind of relationship you want. If you can't interview, at least pay attention and jot down some features that stand out for you!
2. Date yourself seriously. Yes, seriously—date yourself. Make a date, get ready for it, pick the place you want yourself to take yourself, the whole nine, and do it. How do you like your own company, what do you notice about yourself?
3. Interview yourself. Yeah, why not? Who are you? What do you want out of life? What's your five-year plan, what is your relationship history? Ask yourself all the questions you would ask of another, and see how you react or what comes up for you.
4. Have a few practice dates with real people to see how well your intuition is working. Yes, a date where you actually try and work on your weakness. Maybe you even ask the person for feedback about you and see how your perceptions compare. Could be very enlightening, if you have the courage!
Look, if you don't take care to do these things, or things like this, for yourself, why would you expect anyone else to? Awakening to consciousness is not for lightweights—it's hard work, and you got want the good stuff! Like I always say, great relationships begin within. Don't kid yourself!
For More Single Advice From YourTango: