Rejection is one of those things we learn at a young age to dodge, like unplanned pregnancy and legal trouble. No one wants to be unwanted, no one wants to be undesired, even to the people we don’t desire for ourselves. It’s a shot to the ego when someone doesn’t find us attractive or worthy of their time. If we can be honest with ourselves, we would admit that, from the beginning of our dating careers – because let’s face it, it is a full time job – we’ve always tried to put our best foot forward. Whether it’s because we want someone to love us in ways we haven’t learned to love ourselves or because we want someone else to validate the love we have for ourselves – it just doesn’t feel complete with just us.
Dating is similar to making a big purchase in the sense that, we decide that there is something that we want and we gather up all that we have to see what it can get us – sometimes negotiating and compromising to reduce the chance of a loss.
We don’t exactly see losing as a part of trying just like we don’t see “No” as the other 50% chance of asking. No is wrong, not winning is bad, losing is akin to being incorrect. Enough losses will bring you down from a possible 100% and no one wants to be less than the best. The trouble is, we see “good”, “better”, “best” as solid standards rather than levels of self improvement so we compete and compare and act rashly to compensate for our inadequacies. We learn lessons from putting ourselves out there in real, raw and honest ways. Lessons that bring us to the conclusion that being too open results in pain, so we hide what we consider to be our worst selves behind the socially acceptable traits that we have had validated by those we feel have met the same standards we strive for.
We go through and pick out our best qualities to lure in prospects – whether it be friendships or relationships, even for jobs – in hopes that someone will accept all the good that we have to offer and that it will be so worth it that the negatives won’t matter too much. How has that worked out for us? Sweeping dirt under the rug isn’t cleaning; it’s offering the illusion of clean.
What if, instead of sifting through and selecting the shiniest of our elements, we opted to show the dullest – or better yet, a combination of both and how they balance each other out? Highlighting our flaws for our prospects takes away from what they’ll be surprised to find while dissecting – or, getting to know us.
It sounds fairly negative, on the surface, almost like we would be choosing to complain about our shortcomings rather than celebrating our personal successes but if the only way to acknowledge your flaws is negatively, then there might be some self love issues at play. If that is the case, it would be best to sort those out on your own before involving someone else that might not understand you like you do.
We see it all the time, especially by way of social media in the way men seem to promote themselves from their work ethic to their sexual capabilities – and women are no strangers to this “let me show you what I can do” trend.
From photos of prepared meals to “thirst trap” pictures, both men and women have been showing off all of their cards – in hopes to reel in something special, no doubt.
But of course it doesn’t stop there, what is a good competition without a little foul play? It is completely human of us to use our best selves as bait. It is also very human of us to sabotage our competition when we don’t believe we have the “full package”. I don’t know whether it is as obvious in all cultures as I have found it to be in my own, or if there’s something more conspicuous about “minorities” sabotaging each other as well as themselves – or if it’s just obvious to meticulous observers such as myself – but it shows and it looks bad.
Nothing has to be the way it is, we all have the capacity for change, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. There are less dramatic ways to go about finding love. For example, if we all knew exactly what we wanted and were determined not to settle, we could acquire what we desire. I’m referring to knowing what type of life you want, including what kind of spouse you would like whether or not you believe you are “in their league”. It’s like purchasing a vehicle. You see your dream car, it might be a little steep for your current budget but you are determined to drive that car one day so you work hard; you make necessary sacrifices to save up enough money to purchase that car and to be able to maintain it – because maintenance is just as essential. I think we often forget that acquisition is only one of several steps in “having”. If we cannot or do not maintain what we have acquired, we will lose it.
We spread ourselves thin bouncing from relationship to fling and back, rather than “saving up” for our future. Emotional attachments are taxing, more so if they are mismatched – but we are so in a rush to not be alone that we spend our entire selves on illusions of love.
Let’s say it works. You have successfully masked your negatives and attracted what you thought you wanted. What do you do with the rest? Where do you stash those things you don’t want your partner knowing about? How long can you maintain your façade before those inevitable relationship storms blow away your cover? Is it worth potentially losing what you dedicated countless time and energy on?
I’m not saying that you should try to repulse people with your bad habits and imperfect traits. I’m saying, there is someone that will see character in those flaws if you give them the chance to. But if you are content with being loved for only a part of who you are, then none of this matters. But if deep down inside you know that you would like to let your colloquial “hair” down and have it be okay to be a mess when you don’t feel like girdling your imperfections then that journey starts with taking all the rusty pennies out of your pockets and adding them to what you have to offer – pennies have value too!
Kimolee Eryn is an artist and writer who believes in creating for a purpose beyond the purpose of creating. She believes that a life should be lived not just to sustain itself but to cultivate peace, love and growth in all adjacent beings and hopes to exemplify that in all she does.