Deciding What You Want

The older we get the more we begin to analyze what we really want in life, at least in my experience. The years of experimentation fade away and we start to consider our decisions with our heads firmly screwed on, perhaps for the very first time. Naturally I believe this applies to relationships just as much as anything else in life. Those three month non-starters and dead-end flings are no longer good enough and more than ever before we ask ourselves – what do I actually want?

I don’t really believe in compromise when it comes to relationships. By this I mean our specific choice of partner. You only live once, what could be worse than a life spent with the wrong person? There’s nothing selfish about being picky – it’s your life after all. If you fear the idea of settling for convenience or choosing the person that suits your family or someone else’s expectations then you’re doing it wrong. Ultimately it only has to suit you. Relationships of convenience are a curse in my opinion, I compare it to jobs I’ve had in the past. Steady, comfortable, and nice but completely unremarkable. The ever wonderful Sheldon Cooper once said “Howard is perfectly justified in seeking out the optimum mate for the propagation of his genetic line.” In human terms quite simply – aim high.

I would never of course try to determine who is the best kind of partner. For some it might be the person with the best job or the flashiest car. Me? I just want a good spoon and some Netflix but everyone is different. One of my readers messaged me recently asking for advice, something which I am continuously flattered by. I always say if my writing helps even one person then it was worthwhile doing. For this guy, years of being single were taking it’s toll. Online dating, speed dating, blind dates, being set up by friends – every attempt as fruitless as the next. I spent so much time trying to convince this person of his qualities. ‘Convince’ him – I find that so sad. We all have flaws but we should never shy away from acknowledging our qualities, even if it’s just privately to ourselves. After all, we should be proud of these traits it’s what makes us good people. To listen to such a genuine person be so self-critical was genuinely quite upsetting, particularly as I know that for every person to ever reject him there are fifty women out there who would kill to be with him. Trying to convince him of this was another story. I tried to make him see that he had just as many qualities as any other guy out there he just needed to believe it and find the right person to appreciate and acknowledge those qualities. I know it will happen for him sooner or later, even if he doesn’t.

I remember being 19. For the first time I found myself dating someone who I knew (on paper) was way out of my league. With regret I changed for her, I would’ve been anything she wanted me to be. Naturally we grow as people and learn from experience but I can’t help but cringe at the thought of doing that for someone even if I was only 19. Who we are as people is the one permanent fixture we will always have in life until the very day we die, don’t compromise it for the wrong people. No one is worth that. I remember being so lost in this facade of being someone I wasn’t that I would just freeze mid-conversation, not knowing what to do or what to say. What a horrible feeling. To completely lose sight of who you are through your pathetic desperation to be someone else. It was like losing the very foundations of the person I was and who I was brought up to be. I had become nothing and all to impress a girl. Back then I was just a lost teenager but I still see grown adults doing this every single day. If this is you I urge you to stop, take a step back, think about your relationship. Do you really want to live your life like this? Acting?

Be yourself, have faith, have hope, have confidence, recognize your talents, your qualities, even the gap in your two front teeth. Not everyone will appreciate these things but someone, somewhere – will. That I promise. As for me, ten years later have I learnt my lesson? Well, someone tried to make me give up writing. I politely declined With Much Love,

PTB

Twitter:@paulthomasbell

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16 Comments

  1. December 18, 2014 / 9:48 pm

    Another great article, as I would expect from you. Thanks for this, PTB. Your fan and friend, Susan

  2. Diane Connor
    December 18, 2014 / 10:04 pm

    A fantastic article, I myself have found myself guilty of being in both situations. Being in a relationship where you find yourself acting is the worst, and I became a better person once I realised and walked away, albeit after a long time. Beautifully written.
    Diane.

    • December 18, 2014 / 10:15 pm

      Thank you Diane, I really appreciate that and I sincerely you’ve found your happiness 🙂 better late than never. PTB

  3. December 19, 2014 / 12:15 am

    I’m a relationship flunky. I’d be happy to pull an average grade in the romance department but all things considered, I’m fortunate. I’m aging, but I’m not lonely.

    Then again, even if you love peanut butter, an allergy to it will do wonders to help curb the craving.

  4. December 19, 2014 / 11:15 am

    Really relevant to me right now, thank you 🙂 just beginning to realise how damaging those years of pretending really were.

  5. December 19, 2014 / 11:57 am

    It is strange how people strive to be different when all they need to be is themselves. There is only one of you more unique than that you can’t get. This fact alone will be enough. I truly believe you can’t be happy with anyone else until you are happy with yourself. The difficulty is keeping this in mind during the ebbs and flows of life. Great article Paul, love the positivity.. Ada

    • December 31, 2014 / 11:22 pm

      Thank you Ada I really appreciate that. have a wonderful new year! Paul

  6. December 19, 2014 / 5:03 pm

    The biggest mistake people make, and I made it lots of times myself, is finding someone to complete your life. Without the other you can’t be happy, you think.
    Instead you should have a large happy complete life yourself and just find someone who fits in and maybe make it XL.
    As always it was great reading you 🙂
    I hope you have awesome Christmas days and an even better new year.
    xxx

  7. December 20, 2014 / 7:31 pm

    Good one Paul. I think it starts to work better when you find yourself with someone who makes it easier for you to be yourself, but better still if you can be easier in yourself before being with anyone else. It was also an early trap of mine that I looked for women to make me happy, and a hard lesson that you can’t expect that of anyone. Harder still is to let the women you’re with know it’s unfair of them to expect you to make them happy too, and to let them go if they don’t get that most basic of facts, and if they insist on treating you more as a possession than a human being.

    I think its right for a guy to aim high – however he defines that. A very beautiful woman once told me it was the most beautiful women in the room who were the loneliest, because every guy was scared of talking to them, so if I had my time again I’d certainly be taking more chances in that department. 🙂 As for what’s right, it’s hard to say. It just fits. She may not look like the woman you imagined being with for the rest of your life. You may have nothing at all in common, but it still fits. That’s important when, later on, life is throwing a lot of really bad stuff at you, and though you may have forgotten just what it was that drew you together in the first place that sense of something basic you can trust in is still there, so you know you’ve still got a team mate you can trust whose got your back, and you’ve got hers when it matters and it looks like the whole world has it in for you.

    Great reading you.

    Regards

    Michael

  8. December 22, 2014 / 6:44 am

    Here’s to dating myself and realizing that the most awesome relationship I will ever be in is the one with myself!! *cheers*

  9. December 23, 2014 / 3:55 pm

    After nearly 50 years of marriage to the same man, I can say without fear of contradiction: You were NOT what I expected! Of course he would say the same about me. No matter how ‘honest’ and ‘real’ we were, until the deed was done (marriage!), we didn’t have a clue what was coming. Looking back, it’s a blessing we didn’t. I’m with Michael G.: You need to be as wise as possible before you say Yes or No to someone. It’s going to be a long, long journey! Great post. Thanks!
    Elouise

  10. January 2, 2015 / 4:19 am

    I remember freezing in conversations with people I was trying to impress, because I thought they were friends and people I wanted to impress. In truth, when I needed friends to help me get through a very scary health scare and surgery these were the people that were not there, they could not be found even when I reached out. The people who were there were the ones that conversation flowed with naturally and the topics kept changing and bouncing around, every word just flowed.

    I’m glade I had this lesson, as I now don’t hide who I am and I don’t try and impress the unimpressive. Those who get my time are those who accept me 100%.

    I absolutely love the truth in your words. Thanks for sharing. It was very thought provoking.

  11. January 2, 2015 / 6:13 am

    Great article. We are in constant need of this simple, but incredibly important, reminder to be ourselves.
    Thanks for the follow and the like that led me here. 🙂

  12. May 14, 2017 / 6:12 am

    An honest, relatable and well written article. I strongly agree with the need to live aunthentic lives where we celebrate and love ourselves for who we are.

    Kindest,

    Emily.

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