Self-development important in relationships


Olivia Perkins , asst.opinions editor

Dear society, we need to talk. 

It’s not about me, it’s about you. I want more than what you want. You want for most people to experience a life alongside someone else, and I want something more. Although I understand how it may be difficult to find happiness in solitude, I kindly but firmly say it’s time to reject the notion that everyone needs a partner to consider themselves completely whole. 

“Party of one” is a phrase that seems to be inherently uncomfortable or awkward. Whether it’s responding to an RSVP form and lacking a plus-one or showing up to a restaurant expecting the host to ask if you’re waiting on someone, we as a society need to start reconsidering the meaning behind romantic relationships and whether we are whole with or without them. 

Finding the meaning behind your relationship is a vital step in ensuring that you are dating for a natural purpose, a reason in which you are willing to pursue a relationship as opposed to your want for conformity. It’s worth recognizing if you’re just dating because you feel pressured to, you’re settling for something, or you’re struggling to find your self-worth. 

Even if you find yourself pursuing a romantic or platonic relationship, being able to separate yourself from that person and hold true to your own morals is necessary. Enmeshment is something that may occur when you spend every waking moment with someone, causing autonomous development which could end up harming you more than you think. There’s a healthy balance somewhere for you, but knowing who you are before getting to know someone romantically will be helpful. In an attachment that’s considered unhealthy, one person may lean on the other for more emotional support leaving the person who’s offering said support feeling drained, unsupported, or resentful, according to Healthline. 

Knowing who you are and what you want for your life are two steps that are worth taking if willing. It would be unfair to assume another person could love you in the way that you want to be loved if you are still figuring out how to love yourself. We attract from life what we think we deserve and if you expect less than what you deserve, you’ll end up in an uncomfortable situation. Therefore, leaving the vital self-assessment one must undergo before finding somebody to love. Are you even ready? Do you want this or is it just society telling you that you aren’t whole without it? 

It’s daunting to envision a life in which you spend your time “alone.” While everyone wants and deserves love, there are other ways you can receive and experience it. Instead of forcing yourself to be codependent with someone, you may be putting your focus elsewhere. If you leave a relationship that is not serving you or avoid one you didn’t want to begin with, you would have the time to focus on the most important long-term relationship you have: the one you hold with yourself. You can find the love you deserve through spending time treating yourself to self-care and self-development. This may be the healthiest and most wholesome thing you could ever do for yourself.

Whichever route you choose to take, always remember that whatever you do should be for you. It should be clear if you’re truly ready to take on the company of someone else. This is the time in our lives where we can take the time to get to know ourselves and establish the solid foundation which is needed to develop any future relationships. 

The majority of the teenage population hasn’t explored a romantic relationship just yet, 35 percent of all teenagers have been in a romantic relationship and only 14 percent are in a relationship that they consider to be serious, according to Pew Research Center. There is no rush to find your person. 

So if you’re feeling the pressure to find that special someone, enjoy the time it takes to get there and focus on the here and now.