It was Aristotle that said, “You are what you repeatedly do”. While that says something harsh about all of us in one way or another, it all depends on how you approach life. A statement like that can be devastating to some, but for others, it can be seen as an opportunity for improvement. It can be seen as it was intended when it was delivered, as a call for self-evaluation.
When we look at some of the failed relationships that we find ourselves in, it’s often a matter of the mistakes we insist on making repeatedly. Some of the qualities that we know we don’t mix well with seem to be evident in each partner we choose. We struggle to carry each lesson learned from the past relationship to the next one (Note: There’s a difference between carrying lessons learned and carrying baggage). There’s another quote I’d like to share with you, the origin of which is debated: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.
When we look at relationships as they exist today, some of the oldest rules apply, but are still rarely used. Find your own happiness rather than looking for someone else to make you happy. Don’t play games unless you want to be played yourself one day. Identify your own needs and it will be easier to find someone that can supply those needs. The list goes on and on, and yet, we still have columns like this one and others that have to be written because people swear they can’t figure this out.
Something I talked about in my first book, Temporarily Disconnected, was the idea of identifying wants and needs and knowing the difference between the two. Most people blur the lines and wind up with the wrong partner. For example, as a young man, my physical desires ruled. Like most young and testosterone filled young men, I knew exactly what I wanted from a woman, even though it wasn’t always what I needed. The same is still true for men today. They desire lots of sex when what they need is lots of training and lots of conversation. They desire lots of fast food at all times of the night when that’s not good for your health, when what they actually need is a nice, home cooked meal, prepared with love.
Women will often plan their lives out in ways that contradict what they actually need. They plan the wedding without planning the marriage. They plan the finances before they have a plan for fidelity. They plan the 2.5 kids before they have a plan for the man they will create them with and whether or not he’ll be there. They plan to be single parents because they’ve seen it done before, without realizing that this was never the plan, it’s just how it turns out sometimes. To take that a step further, they say with pride that they don’t need the father around to raise their baby, never realizing that it’s the child that actually needs dad more than you do.
Men have a better idea of how they want their women to look than they do of what kind of qualities she should have. Sure, they say they want that “down chick”, but if she doesn’t look like they envisioned she would, are they able to look past the physical and see that quality in her? Men make decisions like what car to drive or what job to take based on what type of woman they want to attract, but they spend less time developing the character that will attract the highest quality of woman. And like a lot of women these days, we’ll dress to attract a certain person and not necessarily to look good for ourselves.
As I’ve heard from people that are reading this Relationship Friday series, they’ve told me that this is something that they need. However, I can’t help but wonder how many men and women are being helped and how many are just being entertained.
Some of us crave the comforts of a relationship, but we don’t have the attributes of a good partner. A relationship sounds like a lot of fun, until you realize how much work it is. Everybody wants a farm, but nobody wants to milk any cows. Here’s what you need to know about success in relationships: You can’t be selfish and be successful. You can’t be immature and be successful. You can’t be inconsiderate and be successful. And you certainly can’t be self-centered and be successful. If you don’t have the ability to put someone else’s wants, needs, desires and feelings ahead of yours, single is the path you should stay on for now. Do relationships with these issues exist? Absolutely! Are they dysfunctional? I guarantee it.
It took me some time to get married. Some thought I was just being difficult, stubborn or whatever else they wanted to attribute to me. I contend that I was waiting for my wife, and when I saw her, I was off to the jewelry store. I wasn’t afraid of marriage, I just refused to settle. It’s only been just over a year, but I swear to you, she was worth every day that I waited.
I’ve made some relationship mistakes in my past, but I could never blame the fact that I wasn’t married solely on the women that I dated. I don’t think I was the one for them and they weren’t the ones for me. But at some point, it became less about just knowing that I wasn’t compatible enough with these women and more about actually doing something about the situation. I could either stay put and wait for someone to fall out of the sky, or I could do what I had to do and move on. For myself and any women that I may have been involved with, we could either do what best for both of us and seek a different path, or we could’ve continued trying to fit square pegs into round holes. The latter just didn’t make sense. After all, you are what you repeatedly do.
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