There is no short cut to finding the love of your life. Screening and finding “the right person” out of the millions isn’t the core meaning of love. Finding true love is not likened to shopping for clothes or buying food in the marketplace. Sadly, the way we choose our lifelong partner reflects the societal norm which values frequent change of taste, efficiency and a self-centred “what’s in it for me”, instead of establishing a sustainable win-win partnership. Is it still possible to find true love in this confused world?
I used to think that in order to feel good, I must hide my weaknesses or be defensive when others point out my shortcomings. As a Chinese, we even have a saying, “Men only shed blood and not tears!” Human pride or male ego causes us to be judgemental. We put others down to make ourselves look superior or better. The distorted self-image and perception often causes relational conflict among couples. Having put my faith in God, I now have a new self-image in Him. I interpret the world around me differently, with a new mindset:
- No one is perfect and therefore, I don’t need to prove that I am. Thus, admitting my weaknesses and seeking help are not a sign of weakness. To me, real men are those who dare confront and overcome their weaknesses. There is no shame to say these liberating words: “I am sorry”, “Please forgive me”, and “I need help”. They are signs of true strength for one who is secure in his/her own make-up and talent.
- I have something that others need and others have something that I need. I don’t need to know everything and I don’t need to be able to do everything. Someone needs what I have to offer. And I need what someone else has to offer.
Armed with a healthy self-image, I don’t search for a life-partner who is exactly like me, although it is important that we share essential values of life. I need someone who is different and can best complement me to fulfill my life-purpose. I am not here to compete with my partner, but to work together as a team, to achieve more as a team and to bring out the best in one another as team. With a healthy self-image, I don’t need to prove that I am better or superior than others. Everyone has a gift to explore within. I just need to match my talent with the right task and the right person who celebrates and values what I have.
Open and Transparent
In my previous relationship with my ex-girlfriend, I was unwilling to share my true feelings in an honest and transparent manner. This bred mistrust, doubts and insecurity in our relationship, filled with constant conflict and quarrels, which eventually led to untimely break-up. With a healthy self-image of who I am, I now dare to be open and transparent. Doing so, I make myself vulnerable and can be hurt by others who could potentially misunderstand me, especially those who don’t reciprocate my openness. But I strongly believe that openness breeds openness. We tend to attract those who share our values and repel those who don’t. Since we are not made for everyone, we don’t need to please everyone.
I realise that whether it is my spiritual relationship with God or my relationship with those who matter in my life, the decision to be open and transparent with each other without hiding feelings of pain and joy, is necessary to develop a healthy growing friendship:
- When I do or say something wrong – I must be quick to confess, forsake my old ways and replace them with new habits of thoughts and actions.
- When in doubt, I must be quick to clarify. If anyone brings any accusations or criticisms about anyone, I am always mindful of hearing both sides of every story before making my conclusion.
Being in my early 20’s, I am acutely aware that I still have a long journey in front of me. I am a “rough diamond” in the making. Daily, I am being transformed into a better man, who is better prepared for the woman that I will commit to spend a lifetime together.
Beyond Reciprocal Love
Due to my upbringing and my natural make-up, I have no qualm to give but I have difficulty receiving love from others freely. I grew up with the conception: “No pain, no gain!” I am very conscious of others’ needs and expectations and always endeavour to meet them to the very best of my ability. I thought that was the way to get love, and acceptance from others.
On my 21st birthday, I was thrown a surprise birthday party by my girlfriend and close friends. I was very touched by their sincere love and gifts lavished upon me. But at the end of the party, I was feeling very uncomfortable over the whole event. I felt that I had not done enough for my friends to deserve the party. I operated on the equation of proportional giving and taking. However, my girlfriend who prayed with me then, helped me to realize that true love does not always reciprocate in return in our lifetime. Some good we do in life, we may never see the returns, but God who sees in secret will always reward us openly in the life to come. True love is not just a trading of giving and receiving. What my girlfriend shared with me still rings in my ears today, “We love you not because of what you have or what you can do for us, but because of who you are…”
True love is unconditional and we can simply believe and accept it with a thankful heart
Finding the true love of our lives is never a quick process. It is a gradual, life-long process of learning to make sacrifices for our partner. As human-beings, we are inclined to be self-centred. We need to make an intentional decision to exercise true love and experience the joy of giving more than receiving what we want.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Samuel So Him is an aspiring millennial writer. He believes that love is not an innate ability but learned through a lifelong growth process. He hopes that his reflections on finding true love, filled with ups and downs throughout the journey would empower readers to nurture strong relationships. He acknowledges that without the love of God in his heart and His continuing guidance, he would not be able to come to his current level of maturity and understanding.
Currently, Samuel is pursuing a Bachelor of Pharmacy in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.