Written by: Lauren Steeves
"When you begin to look at love from a different lens, you realize that it doesn’t need to fit a certain mold, criteria or length of time to be deemed valuable and coveted to you. You can make of it whatever you please."
From a very young age, we are taught one of life’s greatest missions is finding “The One”. We are told to pursue this journey relentlessly and to never give up until we reach our end goal. While the idea of there being “The One” seems romantic and it seems aspirational, by solely focusing on the bigger picture (aka “The One”), we tend to ignore the subtle, small intricacies that actually weave the pattern of the fabric of our beings and our lives. These intricacies are all our relationships – both big and small, both heartbreaking and uplifting, and of course, everything in between.
There is a popular saying, “It’s a reason, a season or a lifetime” and this phrase holds much more depth than we realize. So often we put on our tunnel vision and we ignore everything else in the pursuit of “The One” and this can spawn a series of unpleasant reactions.
If we aren’t in a relationship, we feel inferior.
If a relationship doesn’t work out, we feel defeated.
If a serious relationship has yet to produce a diamond ring, we feel less.
But in honesty, none of these reactions are serving us well. These types of reactions are skewing our perceptions – and in a big way. In order to correct this misconception, we must first change our understanding of love.
We need to broaden our perspective and look at things from a different lens. This is where the phrase, “It’s a reason, a season or a lifetime” comes in. Every relationship has a purpose and just because that relationship doesn’t work out or doesn’t end with “I dos” or a happily ever after does not make it any less meaningful. And even if the relationship is sealed with vows and then unravels, it doesn’t make it a failure either.
Let’s first explore a reason. Some relationships come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not so good, but often times there’s a reason behind it. For instance, when I think of a relationship that came into my life for a reason I think of a guy I was seeing briefly over the course of a few weeks. This guy was sweet. He treated me well. He was charming and he could make me smile. However, I wasn’t attracted to him at all, yet I kept holding onto him. One day, I broke down. I felt like absolute garbage and I realized that I needed to let him go. As soon as I let him go, I felt relieved. I felt revived. I felt a new.
Because I was enough.
I was clinging onto a relationship for the sake of feeling loved and needed, because at that time, I didn’t really love myself. However, that relationship, so ever brief, ended up being one of the most valuable relationships in my life.
After that relationship, I picked myself up on my own two feet and built a life for myself, and I made sure I only filled it with things that we’re right for me and we’re meaningful for me. The relationship healed my soul, and as corny as it may sound, I fell in love with myself. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a long journey, and it’s one I’m still working on. But the second I began valuing the relationship with myself was when I became a much happier person and I became a much better friend, daughter, sister, and human being.
And yet, from the outside, that relationship looked like a waste of time. It looked like a massive failure and it seemed pointless. But to me, it was quite the opposite – it was so much more. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Okay, I’m lying. I would change one thing: my hair. There’s another lesson learned – never get bangs again.
Let’s next explore a season. Some relationships are only meant to take up a season of our lives and that’s the reality of it all. Just like a reason, sometimes a seasonal relationship is uplifting, sometimes it’s tumultuous, and sometimes it’s just fucking fun. For me, my season was the latter. My season was filled with tequila shots, late summer nights, and sexual chemistry that was off the charts. He was someone that I immediately knew was not “The One,” but I could not have cared less. In fact, the very fact that he wasn’t “The One” made him all the more attractive. He was an amazing kisser. He was seductive. And he had as much swagger as Don Draper. Needless to say, the relationship was definitely the highlight of an incredible summer – pure bliss. But when a relationship vibrates at such an intense frequency, sooner or later, it explodes. And it definitely did.
We both knew it wouldn’t last, but once again, although it was short-lived it was also a pivotal relationship in my life.
The relationship taught me the importance of being with someone who makes you smile, who makes you feel attractive, who makes you laugh and better yet who makes you forget about all the other shit going on in the world. It proved that although relationships are complicated, things don’t always have to feel that way.
It was a short-lived season, but one that I will hold dearly for the rest of my life.
Let’s flashback to the relationship that was my reason for a second – the one that taught me the importance of self-love. Well, while I was determined to put me first, to focus solely on my own growth, and to forget about any kind of relationship in any capacity, was right when I found a person who has made me more happy and more loved than I could ever imagine.
The irony of it all, was that I wasn’t looking for love, I wasn’t looking for “The One,” I wasn’t even looking for a good lay (but little did I know that would come too), but love smacked me right across my face and was persistent as fuck in getting my attention.
Fast forward, many years later and even more moons, and we are still together.
I now have a ring on my finger and I’m headed towards saying my “I dos”. Even after these years together, it still feels crazy and it is still blowing my mind.
Is he “The One”? I have no fucking clue. And to be frank, none of us do which is why I hate the term. However, is he someone I see myself building and sharing a life with? Yes. Is he someone that makes me incredibly happy? Yes. And is he someone that I'm in love with and I am attracted to beyond belief? Yes.
But regardless of if we ever got engaged, or if we ever get married, or if we do get married and it ends with the big “D” (get your head out of the gutter, I’m talking about divorce), it would not make this relationship any less meaningful, any less significant, or any less impactful on my life. Even if it ends in one of the most tumultuous ways possible, I will still regard it as a great love. It’s as simple as that.
Because when you begin to look at love from a different lens, you realize that it doesn’t need to fit a certain mold, criteria or length of time to be deemed valuable and coveted to you. You can make of it whatever you please.
As actress Sophia Bush recently said so perfectly, "When you take the pressure of 'The One' off, you'll open yourself up to endless possibilities. You'll learn to have a truly deep, knowing relationship with yourself first. Then the rest will fall into place. Reasons, seasons and lifetimes. They're all valid."