I recently read a book entitled It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. Okay, whatever, I read most of it. Ugh, OKAY, so I actually only got through three chapters before my kindle loan on it ended. I got sidetracked by a true crime…and by a smutty book (don’t judge!). But really, three chapters was all I needed of It’s Not You. I was excited to read this book. Normally I don’t really go for “self-help” style books, but after hearing nearly every reason in the world on why I might be single (see: Dumb reasons people say you might be single) I decided I needed to be reassured that all those reasons were probably bullshit. Well, the author of this book did just that. She tells you that being too independent, being too needy, wanting it too much, not wanting it enough, etc., ALL OF THAT is all bullshit. HOORAY! Finally someone speaking some sort of sense! Three pages into this and I was like, ‘move over, To Kill A Mockingbird, this is my new favorite book!’ In fact, there are plenty of people who have baggage and are needy, and all the other things people tell you are reasons you aren’t meeting someone, who are in relationships. There are no set right or wrong’s when it comes to who you should be when you want a relationship. HOORAY, I shout to myself again. The book just keeps getting better and better, and I’m still only in the first chapter! But then, she drops in the one reason people are single… you just haven’t met the person you are supposed to meet yet.
NO. SERIOUSLY. WHAT?
That’s all there is? As soon as I read this, I’m irate. The author goes on to say you can look and look for that person. You can go to parties, you can join clubs, you can online date, you can put yourself out there all you want. And you can work on loving yourself, you can work on becoming more independent, you can work on sorting out all your “issues”, you can do all of the things people tell you you should do to be relationship-ready, but you really can’t force the matter because, eventually, you will just meet that person when you meet that person. Well, thank you, oh wise Buddha author lady for all your zen-like advice! I throw the book down and start furiously texting my other single friends and dropping this “revelation” on them. ‘So glad I didn’t actually purchase this book’ I start typing out, ‘Just haven’t met the person you’re supposed to meet yet? Well, THANKS for enlightening me! I mean, I’ve NEVER heard that before. Oh wait, I HAVE!’ Ugh. Like I said, I was irate. A lot of all-caps shouty texts were sent. Why was I so irate, you may ask? Well, because! Because if I just haven’t met the person I’m supposed to meet yet and it will only happen when it’s supposed to happen how can I make it happen already?!
And then, of course, it clicks. I can’t make it happen. Oh. So that’s what she was getting at.
It didn’t really click with me until a few weeks later. I spent a few days in a real huff. Then I spent a few more days focusing on my true crime and my smut to take my mind off the huff I was in. And then, I just kind of got it. Her book isn’t telling you that all the advice people give you, like love yourself first, and become more independent, and work out all your past dating issues, isn’t actually valid advice. It is valid. But, it’s not valid in the sense people typically give it out. Those things won’t make you become more dateable. They won’t magically make you find Mr. Right. If you want to love yourself more, if you want to be more independent, if you want to work out your issues, then do it! But, do it for you. If the real reason that your single is you haven’t met the person you are supposed to meet yet, then don’t put your life on hold waiting for this person.
Of course, it’s highly possible that, as with most self-help style books, I may have gotten all of this from her book (or three chapters I read) because this is what I needed to hear. Maybe, after endless frustrations with dating this last year, this was already in the back of my head, but I just needed to see it written out for me to accept this “it will happen when it’s meant to happen” type of thinking. As a person who is very impatient and who thinks they can make almost anything happen if they just try hard enough and, okay, is somewhat controlling, it is very hard to accept that there are things in this world that I want, that I really want, that aren’t in my control. On the other hand, it is kind of nice accepting this way of thinking. If all the reasons we are typically told we still haven’t found the one yet are wrong then finally I can cut myself a little slack for being a little too scared of being hurt and a little too slow to open up and a little too stubborn.
Realizing all of this has been a pretty huge weight off of my shoulders, but it’s not a cure all. It doesn’t make me anymore patient and stop wishing I’d just meet the person who is going to laugh at and love me for all my terrible puns and awesome pop culture knowledge already, but it does make me stop beating myself up for not having that person in my life yet. There’s no reason for me to change anything about myself (except for the things I want to change for ME!) because eventually, when that person comes along, he’s going to know that I’m a little too scared of being hurt and a little too slow to open up and a little too stubborn, and he’s going to love the shit out of those things.