I‘m starting to connect the dots between love and the ability to let go in a way I never have before. We have all heard the old phrase, “If you love someone let them go”. I always applied that to partners that I was in the middle of breaking up with thinking oh, if it’s meant to be we will find each other again. Sure there is some truth to that but it seems over simplified and more like a way to find comfort in the intense pain of separation. It is also much more about the other person than me and the letting go that I need to do in order to invite in the love that I so long for in my life.
Lately I have been getting very clear on the childish ideas and fantasies I have around romantic love, or rather partnership. Really I don’t believe there is a such thing as romantic love, I think love is just love and partnership seems like a better word to use here. For years I would write lists of all the qualities I wanted my dream partner to have. I was told if I used that list on myself, i.e. told the truth if I wrote I wanted an honest partner than I would attract what I wanted. There is some validity to this. We have to be the person we want, we can’t just sit around expecting our dream partner with all their incredible qualities to show up and be like, “hey I’m here let’s do this!”. We have to work on ourselves. We have to heal our past wounds and we have to clear away some space to let in the love that we desire.
Much of my work today in this area looks like opening up to what is in front of me. Instead of focusing on my narrow and limited ideas about what true partnership should be I practice cultivating mindfulness in each moment and pay attention to how I feel, not what I think or am attached to. Looking back on my life if I actually lived out all of my fantasies I know I would be bored and have short changed myself. I have a great capacity to love, more than I realize most days and it is important to surrender to that rather than to be stuck on a few details that shut me off from experiencing sharing love with others.
Creating those lists in some ways was a good exercise for me. In the beginning it got my mind to expand to a degree and got me thinking less about a persons outsides and more about their insides. I found after time though that my lists became these hard and fast rules and when someone didn’t meet my set of rigid qualifications I wrote them off. Or I would spin out in the other direction dating people that were not available on any level. Today I am practicing letting go of my lengthy list of dream partner attributes and to be honest it is scary. Sometimes it feels like I am stepping into a void and I look around thinking omg, how can I change this like asap? The grace comes in not trying to change anything and through breathing into the void.
By no means am I suggesting it is not important to have a sense of the partner we want in our lives. I think it is imperative to create a vision and come up with a short list of qualities we are willing to work towards, my point is to get out of the business of creating people and into the real world of meeting them as they are. Today, I understand that if I don’t let go of my unrealistic expectations of what a person should be I will miss out on someone that truly has what I want from a partner.