On the road to finding an ideal romantic partner, many of us think we need to strive for perfection first, or strive to be fully self actualized in order to be worthy of attracting a loving, long term companion. The thinking goes—once we’ve lost those 10 lbs, or taken up Ashtanga yoga or started volunteering at the local animal shelter, we’ll finally be ready for that perfect soul mate.
Or conversely, we may be waiting for Mr. or Ms. Perfect with a long, carefully selected bucket list of qualities they need to possess in order to be worthy of our love.
This kind of thinking can blind us to our own inherent worthiness of love exactly as we are, imperfections and all. It may also completely blind us to the love that may already be in our experience or coming in our direction because we’ve pre-defined and limited love to only present itself in one specific package.
Most of us know that perfection is an un-attainable ideal. If perfection were required for love, humanity would have died out a long time ago.
And yet popular culture relentlessly reinforces the ideal of perfection. Couple that with society’s focus on individual empowerment and agency, it’s easy to think both perfection and love are things you can make happen by sheer force of will and determination.
But love is not something we can orchestrate or manufacture. We can’t choose who we fall in love with or force romantic connection and intimacy. We may have to surrender the idea that we can control this aspect of our lives. Acceptance is really important here. No amount of weight loss, e-harmony dates or even therapy is going to guarantee that you’ll find a soul mate. But what we can take heart in is that attracting love actually has nothing to do with perfection, ours or anyone else’s.
Many of us feel that finding a romantic partner is the most important kind of love relationship we can experience as adults. We can become more open to loving connection by casting off the heavy goggles of perfectionism and either an inflated sense of entitlement or conversely, feelings of unworthiness and insecurity. Both positions fuel the perfection trap.
The fundamental truth is that we are all in relationships, whether in a committed romantic one, or not. We all have the possibility to strengthen and expand our connection to our sense of love in our lives, right in the present moment. No perfection required.
Deeply entrenched habits won’t dissolve in a day, but if we continue to bring mindful awareness to this subject, we can experience a shift in how we we relate to this issue. Romantic love is not something we need to acquire, although it is something that most of us feel is absolutely essential to a fulfilling life.
We all have an evolving relationship to our definition of love and if we choose to cultivate it, a deep capacity to express love as well. If we’re not constantly privileging one expression of love over every other kind, we’ll start to become more and more aware that love is in our field of experience.
All the time.