Weaknesses vs Self-Love: The Relationship Edition

As a solo traveler, I often find myself in the company of younger travelers in their twenties. When we play the "guess my age" game, I consistently find myself pegged in my mid-20s, a whole decade younger than my actual age.

Today, as I gaze into the mirror, I can't help but notice the emergence of clear wrinkles on my face. I see a weary countenance, and health issues have begun to make their presence felt.

My frustration mounts. I remain single.

Just yesterday, a friend suggested that it's because I haven't been actively seeking a relationship. Little does she know that I've put in considerable effort to find a partner. I've gone on numerous dates, but those with whom I felt a deep connection invariably turned out to be unfaithful or uninterested in a committed relationship. Conversely, those I felt no romantic attraction to were outstanding gentlemen, perfect candidates for a serious relationship, yet the spark was conspicuously absent.

Luck has not been on my side.

Perhaps it's not a matter of luck at all. It's possible that I haven't adopted the right mindset. Instead of trying to change others, who are beyond my control, perhaps it's time to change myself. Alter my perspective and mindset.

In summary:

1. The Courage to Love: Despite being outspoken about my thoughts, I've struggled to take the necessary steps to form a meaningful relationship. My fear of vulnerability often leads me to build walls and engage in behaviors that sabotage potential connections. I sometimes find myself uncertain about what I truly desire in a relationship, and my frankness can inadvertently push away good people. I feel it would be enlightening to interview some of the men I've dated in the past, though I lack the courage to confront the truth.

Self-reflection: It's essential for me to summon the courage to bridge the gap between two people. This means expressing my intentions and recognizing the potential for a connection. The challenge lies in doing this without overwhelming the other person. Seeking guidance in this area is something I should consider.

2. Dependencies: In relationships, I tend to shift from a strong, confident persona to someone who craves love and care. I realize that I'm drawn to men who take charge and don't seek my permission for everything. I appreciate a more dominant approach, where they lead, and I follow without overthinking. However, many considerate men do seek my input and permission.

Self-reflection: Part of self-love is accepting and embracing who I am. While I long for affection, it's crucial to maintain a balance in the relationship. Instead of trying to change others, I should focus on appreciating the small gestures and initiatives, savoring these moments. If I can't find these in a relationship, it may not be the right fit for me.

3. Societal Influence: I've been influenced by my mother's favorite variety shows, specifically the Chinese Matchmaking Shows on YouTube, which depict idealized relationships. I've watched many of these shows, witnessing young, attractive individuals finding love and going on perfect dates. This has created unrealistic expectations for relationships that often clash with reality.

Self-reflection: It's important to recognize that real relationships have imperfections and challenges. It's crucial to separate fantasy from reality and not hold my relationships to an unattainable standard influenced by media and entertainment.

I previously embarked on a three-month social media detox, and the experience left me feeling quite positive. As I write this, I've just removed Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook from my phone. I recognize the necessity of LinkedIn for work purposes, and I continue to find inspiration and motivation from fellow bootstrapped entrepreneurs on Twitter, so I'm retaining that platform for now.

Upon reflection, it's essential to remember the value of a social media detox. It's a reminder that societal opinions about me and the influence of digital media shouldn't dictate the course of my life. It's about taking control of my online presence and not letting it overwhelm my sense of self or purpose.

Reflecting on four challenging past experiences:

4. Short-lived Marriage: I entered into a marriage that lasted a mere 14 days, only to discover that my spouse had cheated shortly after our legal wedding ceremony. This betrayal occurred while I was with my ailing father, who required major heart surgery. To make matters worse, my ex-partner countered by making false and offensive accusations against me during the divorce proceedings.

This ordeal has led me to question the significance of marriage as just a legal document. I've come to believe that genuine commitment doesn't require a piece of paper, grand ceremonies, or specific occasions to prove its sincerity. It's the everyday actions that truly reflect a partner's dedication to a relationship.

Self-reflection: I've resolved not to rush into marriage unless I'm absolutely certain about the relationship. Societal pressures, such as the need for marriage to secure a house or conforming to arbitrary timelines, won't dictate my choices. However, I remain open to committed relationships. It's a personal challenge for me to handle conversations about marriage without feeling pressured, and I aim to embrace differences and communicate openly about my feelings.

In summary, these experiences have taught me to embrace differences, pursue what genuinely matters to me, take control of my own life, and cherish the small moments that make life meaningful.