It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman, of a certain age and position in life, is in search of the ‘one.’ For anyone familiar with Jane Austin, you might hear an echo of Pride and Prejudice in this statement. I’ve changed it slightly to represent what I have seen in society and myself. I have adored Austin since I first stumbled upon Pride and Prejudice at thirteen and feel the concept of the hunt transcends the three centuries between Austin and me. We have been conditioned since birth to believe in the idea of true love, that one day we will happen upon the one man that will make our lives complete. I’ve known these women. I have been this woman. And, even after finding the supposed one, I realized my life wasn’t magically completed. I didn’t suddenly have it all figured out; I didn’t suddenly have the perfect life.
If true love exists – as television, movies, novels, friends and even family assures us it does – why did finding a husband not equal eternal happiness for me? Have I done something wrong?
The answer, in my opinion, is fairly simple; the all-illusive one doesn’t exist – at least not in the way we imagine him. We have been driven to believe that there is one person out there that is singularly enough and, by being enough, singularly responsible for our happiness. We have been guaranteed a prize Mr. Darcy with perfect hair and impeccable manners who tells you every night while kissing your eyelids that you make him incandescently happy – or whatever other fictional Prince Charming you subscribe to… Before you get the wrong idea about my marriage, let me be clear: my husband is an amazing man who has made my life infinitely better than it was before him. Yet, I cannot, with any reasonableness, hold him accountable for my contentment in life. At the risk of sounding clinical, all relationships in our lives serve a purpose and that purpose is enrichment. If someone does not in some way bring more depth and quality to our lives, and in turn we do not do so for that person, the relationship is wasteful in the least and harmful at most. Cut these relationships out of your life.
I have been fortunate enough to have a life ripe with wonderful people. But even with all of them together they are not enough on their own to ensure me happiness. And, more importantly, they shouldn’t have to be. If you are aching for that sense of satisfaction in your life it is much closer than that; it whispers to us from within ourselves. The single most important relationship we will ever have, the most life-altering, and self-fulfilling, is the relationship we have with our selves. Love yourself and happiness will follow you even into the darkest depths. Do the opposite and even the brightest day will feel burdened with shadow.
Unfortunately for many people, myself especially, this is also the relationship that gets the least attention. Even before I became a mother or a wife and had to learn to put these new special people before me, I put myself on the back burner. If I were to describe my treatment of myself in the terms of a relationship, I would have to say we are often estranged.
As a child, we have yet to learn to hate ourselves; we have yet to become two beings: the physical being and the psychological. We live in a time where disengaging from ourselves is one of the first things we learn to do as young adults and as we go through life, we believe it is easier than feeling the difficult feelings. Herein lies the rub.
Somehow we must find it within ourselves to be enough, to be responsible for our own happiness and well-being separately from the society-made list of what it means to be enough. We must take the time to invest in this foundational relationship, this cornerstone, of all other relationships we will have in our lives. We must learn to love ourselves honestly for who we are because we are the one person we will always have, the one person we should be able to trust and rely on. We will always be there in good times and in bad; we will always share in our joy and in our sorrow.
Our bodies allow us to live and experience life while our spirits allow us to soak it all in, the wonderful and the painful. This is, in itself, an incredible gift and achievement and is why we are enough. I have my fair share of flaws to be sure but through this mire-packed journey I am learning to laugh at my mistakes, rejoice in my failures, and love all the moments I have with myself – even when that moment is a sob fest about my favorite jeans I just can’t get buttoned anymore. These flaws do not make me less than enough. Life is beautiful in its brokenness and we are beautiful in ours when we choose to rise again and fight to be better, to be kinder, and to be happier. We are the illusive ‘one’ and until we saturate our lives with that knowledge, no other relationship can thrive no matter how Darcy-esque the guy may be.
A.M. San Nicolas
What’s new with A.M.? “Hello! I am a wife, mother (soon to be mother of two), and a writer. When I am not cleaning, cooking, or working, I am consumed with several fiction writing projects and reading as many or more good books. What anyone unfamiliar to me should know is I shoot from the hip; that is to say I am honest to a fault but I make up for it with a lifelong love for all people in every walk of life–even those who see the world differently than I do.”