We all crave love, but not just any love. We crave a love where we are free to be ourselves; where we connect with the other person intimately; where we feel supported, listened to, and protected. All of us want a love that completes us physically, emotionally, and mentally. We want to find the Right One we can give our entire soul to … knowing they will do the same.

Yet, with over 8 billion people on this planet, finding “the right one” can be a bit challenging. Young girls are raised to look for a knight on a great stallion to sweep in and carry them away. A man is taught to go out and seek many women until they find the woman of their dreams. These are quite contradictory to each other and certainly not how love works in reality.

Finding “The Right One” may require you to find yourself first.

It may require you to let go of your fairytales from childhood and be willing to accept that the man may not be the tall, dark, handsome prince, but instead of average height, slightly overweight, and possibly bald. The woman of your dreams may not have the perfect figure you dreamed of, be a great housewife, or blindly follow you wherever you wish to go.

It is those traits that may make them perfect for your imperfections.

“Never obsess about chasing love. Chase goals [and] dreams. Chase the behaviors that are going to make you better. You don’t chase love; you allow that to find you by accident, and when it finds you on accident, you’ll know that it was supposed to find you purposely” – Sylvester McNutt III, in “Lust for Life”

Know yourself and heal yourself

Knowing yourself, or self-actualization can be a crucial component to finding lasting love. I had a friend who carried around insecurities, past loves, and old emotional baggage; she found the “one” for her at 70 years of age.

How you may ask?

It wasn’t that she hadn’t been married before. She had. Sadly, this person became a widow by age 50. Events related to her husband’s death and relationships afterward kept her from becoming the person she was meant to be. She also failed to accept who she was. Once she did accept herself and made some necessary changes in her life, she found the man of her dreams.

Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking it was as easy as I made it sound. She was on that journey for years. I just so happened to become friends with her in the most pivotal last few years. It was an amazing transformation and I was so happy for her when I attended her wedding. They were married within a year of starting to date because they “just knew.”

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the right one is going to make you happy and take away all of your baggage and insecurities. The goal in life should be to become the best version of yourself you can possibly be. Granted, that is a lifelong process. You should always be changing and growing. However, it is essential that you recognize that happiness is a “now” concept. It is not about when all the ducks are lined up in a row perfectly.

Be happy with who and where you now.

For several of us, that is a difficult concept. Part of that means dealing with your past baggage and insecurities. You have to be able to love yourself to let love in. That is not just a cliché. When you are hurt, angry, or bitter, you are less trusting of others and, therefore, less open to allowing others into your life.

The sooner you are able to know and heal yourself, the more willing you are meet others, trust them in your life and be open to receiving love.

Embrace Imperfection

Knowing yourself should include embracing your imperfections, as well as the imperfections of others. Our imperfections are part of what makes us who we are. They are the unique twists and turns of your personality that make you, you. What you may view as a fault, maybe something that another person finds real value in. The same philosophy should apply to how we view others.

Some people can look at the traits of stubbornness and think of negative ideas like closed-mindedness, inflexibility, and determination to have their way. Others can look at the stubbornness and see a strong will, passion, and determination.

Oftentimes, humorously, one person’s perceived faults can be what makes our strengths shine. It can aid in creating a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, having two stubborn people in a relationship together can be intense. They tend to be more like two bulls butting heads.

Yet, if one of the two knows how to back off, then communication becomes far more successful. On the other hand, the more willful one may bring out the expressiveness of the passive one. In essence, they complement each other through this dichotomy so long as respect is given to each.

No One Is Perfect

Learning to recognize that not only are you not perfect, but neither is anyone else, can surprisingly bring you great relief. The pressure is off for you to force yourself to be a certain way that is contradictory to your nature. You can then learn to appreciate your faults and see where they actually serve you. You will see how your weaknesses have taught your brain to think differently. A person prone to depression, for example, will usually be more empathetic than the average person. They feel for the underdog and will go out of their way to help someone in need.

Accepting your flaws will allow you to be far more accepting of other weaknesses. It will also balance the idea that the right one you are looking for must fit your idea of the “perfect person.” They don’t need to be perfect, and shouldn’t be. Their imperfections will perfectly offset your imperfections and allow each other’s strengths to shine.

Pushing your limits to grow together

While striving to become the best you that you can be, the right one may enter your life and cause even more havoc. The right one might push all of your buttons. He/she may challenge your way of thinking about life, people, success, and love.

Finding the right one does not guarantee love at first glance or the whirlwind romance of roses and kisses. Sometimes that right one is going to turn your world on its end first. They force you to make changes for your own betterment that you hadn’t even conceived yet. They will challenge you, push your limits, and even infuriate you. In the end, the two of you have been molded together.

On the other hand, they may also teach you how to love yourself and heal. They may see through your façade and demonstrate enough love, care, and patience to help you bloom back into the person you were meant to be.

Essentially, not every relationship is obvious in the beginning. Everyone is a work in progress and, therefore, relationships require work as well. The more two people learn about each other through strife but remain supportive, the stronger their love can become. Life is hard and so are relationships. Both require work, but that work becomes the foundation for something great and lasting. Knowing you have each other’s back breeds trust, a sense of calm about each other, an innate ability to communicate with each other, and comfort in each other’s nearness.

the one

Above all, the right one will only help grow your capacity to love, be empathetic and supportive, and further encourage you to be the best you can be.

The right one is not about just what they can do for you. You are together to help each other through this world and this life. With continued work, communication, trust, respect, and love, your relationship can only grow stronger. With appreciation and gratitude, love only grows more abundant. There is no limit to the amount of love you can share and the beauty is, the more you share, the more it grows.

In conclusion, finding the right one may include finding and accepting yourself, flaws and all, so you can, in turn, open your eyes and your heart. The right one may not be the perfect one of your dreams, and neither are you. Yet, a relationship with the right one will be far more substantial and rewarding than any fairy tale.

“I’d rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else.

I’d rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself.

I’d rather have hard times together than to have it easy apart.

I’d rather have the one who holds my heart.”

Luther Vandross – song “I’d Rather”