Earlier this year, I decided it would be a good idea to get some counseling to help me heal from my previous marriage. I thought I would go in, talk about my story, get some pat answers and overused advice, then maybe I'd feel better.
My counselor listened. Then she gave me a book. The first chapter (my homework assignment) talked about honoring yourself, and acting in your own best interest.
This was akin to blasphemy to my way of thinking. I have that kind of personality that wants to please everyone, even at the expense of me. I had mastered it so much that I no longer thought of me at all. Every decision was what other people thought would be best: for me, for my children, for my future. Think about myself? You're kidding, right?
The point that really struck home to me in that chapter was that almost 100% of the time, acting in your own best interest is in everyone else's best interest, too.
Talk about a paradigm shift! To go from thinking only of others, to thinking only of my own interests was mind-boggling.
Here's how it relates to dating.
I'm very easily persuaded. Unless deep-rooted, or consciously kept in mind, I often forget my own opinions when presented with strongly voice opinions of others.
And I cannot tell you how many times a man has started dating me and proceeded to fall in love immediately, only to be followed by the need to convince me we're meant to be together. I have mentioned before how I have been seeing casually several men at a time. Twice in the last three months, I have had 3-5 different men telling me we're meant to be together. Now, I don't know of any religion, and certainly not mine, that allows polyandry here on earth or in heaven, so I knew they couldn't all be right. But they were all so sure!!! I knew I had to make a decision. But which one?
I found myself talking about it in terms of how I could help them. "I could be an example to him, his strength." "He needs support." "He needs a mother for his kids."
Or I thought about what lessons I would be teaching my children: Marry in the temple, give second chances, there are exceptions, etc.
What I needed to think about, at least a little, was myself. How do I feel when I'm with him? How do I feel when we're apart? What personality traits are important to have? Which traits should I avoid?
As I asked myself these questions, I was finally able to sort through these men who all claimed me as theirs and decide on one I wanted to claim for myself. I could see how I wasn't really what they needed or wanted. I could see that they would be better with someone else. I could see how my choice was also the best for my kids.
And I felt peace.
And I felt hope.
And I felt love.
It was and will be hard to break up with the others, but acting in my own best interest truly is best for everyone in the end.