26 Jan 2013
Love the One You’re With
I was re-listening to Arielle Ford’s interview on the Lifetime Love Affair Summit about “How to Wabi Sabi Your Relationship”, based on her new book, Wabi Sabi Love. For those of you who missed it, Wabi Sabi is the ancient Japanese art of seeing the perfection in the imperfect.
The Quest for Perfection or How to Commit to Misery for Life
We get so obsessed about trying to be perfect. I think of this as the ultimate commitment to misery. It is at the core of what keeps alive our sense of inadequacy or “Who I am is never enough” – not beautiful enough, smart enough, sexy enough, successful enough, rich enough, conscious enough, accomplished enough… and we project these ideas all over our partners as well. If only they were somehow “more”…
We look at ourselves and our partners as some kind of Fixer Upper or “home improvement project” that with some work might turn out well. It keeps us both feeling like we are never good enough – a familiar feeling for most people!
If you’ve ever studied personality testing, one of the things that you realize as you identify your core strengths is that inherent in our strengths are things that we aren’t so good at. One couple I worked with were a perfect example of this: She is an organizational wizard whose personality type tends to really like structure. He is the opposite – works well with a minimum amount of structure and is spontaneous and creative. Of course she is always trying to get him to be more organized, and he is always trying to get her to just relax. Sound familiar? They each want the other to let go of what they do best, rather than be advocates for what they each do best!
Let’s take an example in business:
Walmart is the #1 store for lowest prices. Target makes their niche having higher quality items but their prices are higher. What K-Mart tried to do was to combine those two things – be the middle road. What was the result? That’s right! No more K-Mart!
When you do what you do best, you thrive. Instead of seeing your partner’s “imperfections” as their weaknesses, why not see them as their strengths? Your disorganized spouse is actually a creative genius who thrives in a lack of structure and a certain amount of chaos. Start trying to get him to be an organizer and you are going for the K-Mart relationship! Instead, just give him a list of some things that you would like him to do around the house, like fix the shelf in the washroom or move the pots on the patio. Don’t expect him to be the one looking around and figuring it out. Think again! Who does that? Ahhh . . . that would be you! That’s your genius.
Instead of trying to get your structured and organized spouse to “loosen up,” just let them create as much structure as they need in order to be able to relax. Remember, what gets you to relax may have nothing to do with what gets them to relax. Men often like to relax by sitting and watching TV. Often, women relax by getting things done or chatting. So let go of trying to “improve” your partner by being more like you! Instead, just “love the one you’re with” and Wabi Sabi your relationship. Remember, your partner may not be perfect, but parts of them are pretty awesome!
Susan Mayginnes was one of our featured love luminaries in The Art of Love Relationship Series. If you want to learn more about the series, please click here. Over 50 of the world’s foremost experts on love and relationships shared their most recent wisdom and insights into creating and sustaining deep, connected, passionate relationships. This series was the biggest GLOBAL event on LOVE ever!