Sometimes you have to let go of what's in your head and listen to your heart.
The first thing you have to ask yourself when you wonder why you can't find a satisfying relationship is, "Am I satisfied with myself?"
If your answer is, no, that's your problem. If your answer is, yes, but you are still having trouble finding a satisfying relationship, I've got news for you. There are things about yourself you do not know, and those things are keeping you from finding what you want. One of the most important of those things is the issue of perfection. Nobody is perfect, which I'm sure you know, and neither are you.
However, something you probably don't know about yourself, and might not believe it as I tell you, is that you think you should be perfect. This can also be described as the belief that you should be able to reach some goal outside yourself that proves your worth. I know that at a conscious level you probably don't believe that you should be perfect. That's not what I’m talking about. I'm talking about the part of your mind that's in control of your beliefs when you are busy thinking about other things.
I'm talking about the part of your mind that is in control of what you think about yourself 95% of the time. I'm talking about a part of your mind that was developed when you were very young (0-6). It is your unconscious, which is sometimes referred to as the subconscious. It was developed in relationship to the people who parented you. How well their parenting meshed with your innate personality determines, in large part, how strong your belief is that you need to be perfect (i.e. that you should be able to reach some goal outside yourself that proves your worth.) Don't worry, it's a universal problem. It's the price we pay for being a part of a "civilized society."
So, how does this apply to why you can't find a satisfying relationship?
- First, your unconscious need to be perfect causes you to judge others by the same measuring stick with which you judge yourself. You know that so-and-so is really a pretty good person, but you can't seem to give them a break and let yourself fall for them. You can't convince yourself that they are the right one. You don't feel passionate about them, but otherwise, all the time you spend with them is great.
- Second, your drive to be perfect keeps you from being fully vulnerable with anyone. When you can't be vulnerable, you can't be close. Without closeness, there is no long lasting passion. To be vulnerable requires that you be fully conscious of and emotionally connected to your "imperfections," and that you be kind to yourself anyway. When that happens, you will be open to true intimacy with others.
When you can lay down your gavel of judgment, you will find a satisfying relationship. Your ability to be vulnerable will bring you connection, passion and deep satisfaction beyond any that the attainment of goals outside yourself can bring. This does not happen in the vacuum of your mind. It is not done by willpower. It happens in relationships.
Want to know more? Call me. We'll talk.
This article was originally published at Leah Benson Therapy. Reprinted with permission from the author.