Far From Perfect
About a year ago on his 30th birthday, after spending his entire adult life loosely dating different women, he suddenly decided he was ready to settle down. He wanted to find a real mate… a lover… a life partner – someone who could show him what it meant to be in a deep, monogamous, trusting relationship.
So he searched far and wide. There were so many women to choose from, all with great qualities, but none with everything he was looking for. And then, finally, just when he thought that he would never find her, he found her. And she was perfect. She had everything he ever wanted in a woman. And he rejoiced, for he knew how rare a find she was. “I’ve done my research,” he told her. “You are the one for me.”
But as the days and weeks turned into months and years, he started to realize that she was far from perfect. She had issues with trust and self-confidence, she liked to be silly when he wanted to be serious, and she was much messier than he was. So he started to have doubts – doubts about her, doubts about himself, doubts about everything.
And to validate these doubts, he subconsciously tested her. He constantly looked around the apartment for things that weren’t clean just to prove that she was messy. He decided to go out alone to parties with his single guy friends just to prove that she had trust issues. He set her up and waited for her to do something silly just to prove that she couldn’t be serious. It went on like this for awhile.
As the tests continued – and as she, clearly shaken and confused, failed more and more often – he became more and more convinced that she was not a perfect fit for him after all. Because he had dated women in the past who were more mature, more confident, and more willing to have serious conversations.
Inevitably, he found himself at a crossroads. Should he continue to be in a relationship with a woman who he once thought was perfect, but now realizes is lacking the qualities that he already found in the other women that came before her? Or should he return to the lifestyle he had come from, drifting from one empty relationship to the next?
Every Light Casts A Shadow
When he showed up at my door this evening looking for answers, this is what I told him:
One of the greatest lessons we get to learn in life is that we are often attracted to a bright light in another person. Initially, this light is all we see. It’s so bright and beautiful. But after awhile, as our eyes adjust, we notice that this light is accompanied by a shadow – and usually a fairly large one.
When we see this shadow, we have two choices: We can either shine our own light on the shadow or we can run from it and continue searching for a shadowless light.
If we decide to run from the shadow, we must also run from the light that created it. And we soon find out that our light is the only light illuminating the space around us. Then, at some point, as we look closer at our own light, we notice something out of the ordinary. Our light is casting a shadow too. And our shadow is a bigger and darker than some of the other shadows we’ve seen.
If, on the other hand, instead of running from the shadow, we decide to walk towards it, something amazing happens. We inadvertently cast our own light on the shadow, and likewise, the light that created this shadow casts its light on ours. Suddenly, both shadows begin to disappear. Not completely, of course, but every part of the two shadows that are touched by the other person’s light illuminate and disappear.
And as a result, we each find more of that bright beautiful light in the other person – which is precisely what we have been searching for all along.
Photo by: Antony Chammond