Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Finding "The One"

The other day, I visited a blog at, written by a fellow who lives in London and who works for a financial institution there (reminds me of myself when I used to work for CIBC, but I lived in British Columbia, not in the British Isles), and, there, I read a post from someone who asked GB how to meet "the one," the right person for him with which to built a long-term relationship.

This is a subject near and dear to my heart, because
1). I remember when I was single and desperate--yes, desperate--to find the right person for me;
2). I found the right person in June 1992, and we just celebrated our seventeenth anniversary together; and
3). I believe loneliness is epidemic in the world, especially in the gay community, and I don't want anyone, straight or gay, to be emotionally alone one minute longer if he doesn't want to be.

I returned to Gay Banker today to copy the comments I attached to his post--with the hope of saying something that would help someone find "the one"--and to include them here in my own blog, because I know that what I wrote helped me find "the one" in my life. I'll use my copied comments as the basis for this post, and, because I have the additional opportunity, I'll elaborate or clarify wherever I think necessary.
Here's what I had to say:
There is no better way to find "the one" than to work on yourself first. Low self-esteem often translates to "I'm desperate," and no one is attracted to someone who is desperate to couple.

I don't think anyone should feel that unless he spends thousands and thousands of dollars on counseling or therapy, he doesn't have a chance of improving his self-esteem and readying himself for "the one." There are other ways of getting yourself together, such as reading self-help books, journaling through your issues (both of which I've found very helpful over the years), and sharing with trusted family and friends. But, in the end, you can only change by wanting to more than anything else, by truly believing in your own self-worth, and by taking small steps in that direction.

Also, don't think for a moment you ever get to a place of having healthy self-esteem, and there's no further work to do. That's just deluding yourself. In some respects, you'll have low, or poor, self-esteem for the rest of your life. You'll go along thinking you've done the hard work to love and accept yourself, and then something will come up that returns you to the same self-loathing and insecure person you were years ago. It happens because, honestly, we never really get rid of that person inside--we only mask him over.

And you'll think you're right back where you were before, except that you're not. Because, this time, you live your life more consciously, more aware of the games you play with yourself. And, when you start to put yourself down, you'll recognize the old patterns, and you'll stop, and you'll tell yourself you won't do that again, and you'll change the mind talk to something more positive, or, at least, something not so negative and destructive. That's called, "living life consciously." It's also called, "doing yourself a favor." You don't deserve all that negative talk. You have value and self-worth, just by being born into this world. And you should stop all the negative self-talk at once. It's an utter waste of time and brain space.

Sometimes...sometimes you need outside help with your self-esteem issues, that manifest themselves in the most unusual and unexpected ways.

Late last year, I started having major problems sleeping. Some nights, I went to bed at 11:00 pm, or just before, and didn't fall asleep until 4:00 or 5:00 am. I woke up around 7:30, exhausted, and I was a zombie for the rest of the day. I dreaded another night rolling around, because I was certain I wouldn't be able to fall sleep. I got myself on a vicious cycle.

I saw my doctor numerous times. Eventually, he had to prescribe Ativan (which is hard on the brain and addictive, and which I took until only a week ago, having slowly weaned myself from it).

I also went to see a family counsellor. Initially, the issue was that I couldn't sleep, but I soon learned that my inability to fall asleep was directly connected to my ongoing self-esteem issues, which I thought I'd resolved some time ago but obviously hadn't.

During six intensive sessions with Susan, I cried my face off (to the point that I was exhausted from the purging of emotions and pent up anxieties related to growing up in a dysfunctional family and growing up gay), and I learned more about myself than I knew before. I left each session feeling cleansed, and refreshed, and strengthened to move forward with my life, including relaxing enough to fall asleep. I also learned techniques:
1). to breathe properly and to relax my body and mind;
2). to re-parent myself (since my mom and dad didn't always do the greatest job;
3). to change the negative script in my head;
4). to stop blaming the little boy inside of me for all the bad things that happened to me while I was growing up; and
5). to love that little boy unconditionally, the source of all self-esteem as an adult.
Did I solve every problem in my life through counseling? Of course not. But what a great help it was in so many ways.

(I hasten to add that counseling may not be for everyone. You must be in a position to accept counseling as a means of getting better, to trust your counsellor completely, and you have to be prepared to open yourself to another human being in ways that you never have before. But do I recommend it as a method of self-discovery, and as the means to get on with the business of living. Sometimes, counseling helps to unblock what prevents you from moving forward. It may be the only way to do it. But, as I said before, I don't think that you have to pay hundreds of dollars to undergo counseling in order to find the right person for you.)

Finally, I don't believe you can actively go looking for "the one." I do believe you can leave yourself open and available to "the one" when that person crosses your path. But, just like everything else in life, the right person for you will enter your life when it's meant to happen--and not a moment before. As cliche as that sounds, it's absolutely true.

In the meantime, the foremost task ahead of you is to work on loving yourself first. In the process, live your life fully and vibrantly, engaging in tasks and activities that you feel passionate about and that make you come alive. Prepare for how wonderful and incredible it will be to be with "the one," because, believe me, it is.

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