Before moving to the UK, I started a private journal.
I was 17 years old, about to uproot my life. Naturally, I had a lot going on in my mind, and I needed the space to be brutally honest with myself. It was self-therapy before I even knew what therapy was.
Thanks to these blog posts, now, I enjoy having a window into my past self. I’m pleasantly surprised by my maturity back then. But, perhaps, I sounded so wise and confident because I hadn’t actually seen much yet to know how wrong I could be. I had the hypotheses, but I didn’t have the evidence to support or disprove them. Oh, the bliss of ignorance.
I notice there was one thing I was crystal clear about even as a teenager: the type of man my future husband would be.
I wasn’t psychologically sophisticated like I am now, but my ideas of love have pretty much stayed the same. Somehow I had always known what I wanted. Yet, it didn’t seem like it at all when my love life in the following few years turned out to be a real mess. I had jumped through endless learning hoops to find myself exactly where I was.
How could it be?
Well, I have an idea.
Deep down, you already know what you want because your imagination can show you what it’s like to have your needs and desires fulfilled — to be in a state of fullness and wholeness.
It’s a very heuristic exercise for the brain, but it can be hard for you to consciously understand what it means in real terms. One reason is that you’re subject to endless biases and emotional effects from interacting with another human being.
However, there’s a caveat.
There’s no guarantee that what you discover within yourself is what’s good for you in the long run.
If you don’t have an understanding of what makes a healthy, happy life and relationship and what that looks like in daily life, your inner guidance will be vague and likely lead to a mediocre, or even misguided, outcome.
You have the answers to your burning questions, but you need to make sure your answers are rooted in wholesomeness, to begin with.
The truth is, not everyone has this.
It comes from the unspoken privileges that many don’t want to admit they have. For example, being born to two married parents, being emotionally secure, having a happy upbringing, and so on.
Personally, I always knew what I wanted because I’ve had plenty of role models around me and I was brought up with the moral values that I still agree with now. I could afford to explore and make mistakes and still have the inner compass to guide me back on the right path.
So how do you align what you want with what’s good for you?
The first step is to acknowledge and accept where you are and what you don’t have.
If you have no clue if what you want is good for you or not, or you feel completely out of touch with yourself, it’s okay.
Be honest with yourself, and start from here.
Improve your self-awareness.
Your self-awareness is the key to everything in your life. It will unlock your success simply because you can’t achieve any goals if you don’t even know what they are.
Keep a journal. Or start writing on Medium (with a fake account if that helps!) Make notes on your phone if it’s easier. Give yourself access to your thoughts and emotions. Call them out as you experience them.
Listen to what experts say about healthy relationships. Read informative articles. Look into research papers. Watch youtube videos. Take courses. Knowledge will free you.
Learn from past mistakes.
What did you do that hurt you? In what circumstances did you do it? How did it make you feel? What did it cost you? Examine these questions and come up with a plan to avoid the negative outcomes.
Ask for help.
Find a therapist or a dating coach if possible (Yes, I’m available for 1–2–1 coaching! I’m currently working with clients to help them through the dating process, step by step.)
Don’t be afraid to discuss ideas with your friends. You could turn this into a writing project and interview different people for it. Ask for advice from those you trust.
Find role models. Copy them. Imagine what they would do and do it.
Trust yourself, and remember that you’re resourceful. You have all the answers you’re looking for — make them work for you.