Well, I’m finally back from my vacation to Japan, and must admit, I’m still a little woozy over it. Maybe it’s the crazy hoofing my husband and I did all over Tokyo and Nagano and Kyoto. Maybe it was the time-traveling flight home, the first I’ve taken where we landed three hours earlier than we had taken off. Or maybe it’s the heat wave hitting L.A. and compounding it all.
Either way, as foggy as I’m feeling, I still wanted to share a quote I came across this weekend from author Tom Robbins (he wrote Jitterbug Perfume and Even the Cowgirls Get the Blues). He said something so wise about what people should and shouldn’t look for in relationships.
“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimension to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”
I know it can sound like a broken record sometimes to point out out that we need to be fulfilled in our own lives rather than looking for someone to fulfill us, but we still look for short cuts. Smart, successful people do this all the time. We feel we have great lives of our own, and yet we sneak in these lazy little wishes. You know the ones: Wishing for a healthy partner who will kick you in the butt to be more active and exercise more. Wishing for a rich partner so you can take a break from worrying about bills. Wishing for a social partner who will make you more outgoing.
But like Tom Robbins points out, looking for someone to fill those voids never, ever works. Because we’ll always find new voids and new reasons why this one person isn’t fixing or filling in where they should. The answer? Fulfill yourself.
We all need to create the lives we want for ourselves—be it full of money, adventure, exercise, travel, drive, family—and then, once we feel great about who we are and what a good partner we’ll be for someone else, then we look for the partner to share life with. We’re responsible for our own fulfillment. A relationship is about joining two fulfilling lives together, where each person can share and be a part of the great lives they’ve built and will start building together. The more together you are, the more you can bring to the relationship. How can you be strong for your partner if you don’t feel strong within yourself? How can you support your partner if you’re not in control of yourself? How can you help your partner laugh if you’re not already smiling yourself?
Tom Cruise had it all wrong in Jerry Maguire when he said, “You complete me.” Your half-orange shouldn’t be the person who completes you. You should complete yourself. Let your half-orange complement the fulfilling, wonderful life you’ve created for yourself. The more fulfilled and happy you are, the more right your relationship can be.