Settling and Self-Improvement

Earlier this year, I put my foot down and finally created a 5 year plan for my life. It felt overdue but I think it was right on time. I covered all the areas that I thought needed improvements, which is to say, I covered all the areas in my life. I’ve been running on autopilot for a while now and as a planner and an organized thinker it was starting to stress me out. I spent the better part of last year in limbo regarding many aspects of my existence. I needed an overhaul.  The plan took stock of my finances, my spiritual life, my professional goals, my emotional health and my personal life. It required absolute honesty with myself and that was not easy. But, it was necessary.

So I made commitments. I needed to pay off debts so I set a timeline and I’ve been working toward it with only minor setbacks so far. I needed to reclaim my inner peace and sanity and reconnect with the Divine in a meaningful way. I needed to reacquaint my self with my beliefs and live according to them more fully. I needed to set medium and long term goals. I hate structured jobs; the humdrum and minutiae of corporate or government work drains me so I needed to finally decide what I wanted to do for myself and start taking steps to doing it. And wow. Putting it in writing really made a difference. I could see paths forward where I had previously seen only obstacles. Having made the commitment to my self I was more motivated to actually get things done. And so far, I’m doing well. I intend to continue.

Once aspect of my life with which I’ve always been unnecessarily careless, has been my personal interactions. I’ve always been very accepting of people as they are. I forgive easily and I find it hard to hold grudges. Because I don’t depend heavily on any one person for my well-being, I tend to just let people be and do regardless of the temporary impact it may have on me. I let things slide and I rarely confront. I believe strongly in meeting people at the place where they are. I’m not responsible for their actions nor do I take them personally. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been hurt. And some of that hurt was buried. I needed to let go of those past hurts, forgive some people and extricate myself from toxic relationships. I also needed to make some important decisions about what I wanted for my personal and romantic life.

I know a lot of amazing people. A number of them are single. Some of them are actually looking for a relationship. It wasn’t until I started along this path that it clicked why it’s been so difficult. I, and the persons with whom I keep company are strong, independent individuals. In one way or another, we’ve been on a path of self-improvement for most of our lives. We have striven for balance and happiness and enjoyment and are now in a place where we are protecting those things at all costs. Because of this, we can no longer settle. We’ve all had the crappy relationships; the unfulfilling interactions that we held on to for way too long for reasons unique to each of us. But as we set new goals and new benchmarks for our selves, we’ve set the same for the people we let into our lives, both platonic and romantically. We don’t allow ourselves to be inconsistent, unkind or inadequate anymore. How then can we entertain people who exhibit those tendencies? We’ve taken the time and the effort to forge a healthy relationship with our selves, based on self-compassion, self-care and self-improvement. It’s no longer possible or comfortable to accept less from someone else. And we don’t need it. We can survive, and even thrive in spaces occupied only by us. Our remaining platonic interactions are sustainable and meaningful. How can we fathom or justify settling for less in our romantic interactions?

The greatest challenge for me in this regard is that I actually want to have a relationship, a partnership. While there are some who are content with their solitude, I’ve come to the realization that I prefer companionship. What I don’t want is an unequal relationship that results in an acrimonious end. I’ve had that. It’s unpleasant. But this is the aspect of my plan that contains the most important variable – another human being. While I can commit many things to the Divine and take steps that lead me to my goals, the elements of the plan that have human interaction as a variable will always be the most difficult to execute. Separate and apart from basic chemistry, where you’re just not attracted to a particular person or they’re not attracted to you, there are the personality differences that stand out. People don’t always fit into the mold you wish they would and not just anyone can fit into the new space being occupied by the life you’re creating. We are who we choose to be and I can’t be mad if someone isn’t choosing to be the type of person I would want to be with, if that isn’t their path.

What I can continue to do is choose not to settle. I can continue to choose self-improvement. I can continue to build a life that I can be proud of. I can continue to set goals and achieve them. And I will…

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