They will think twice before doing something that might hurt you because they know it would hurt them too.
When I was younger, I used to have a long checklist for my ideal partner. I wanted someone who was good-looking, exciting, outdoorsy, sociable, had an impressive job, and so on. Basically, I wanted someone who would make me seem cool and worthy by proximity.
I wanted someone who was different from me.
In hindsight, it was because I didn’t like myself very much.
I was young and the lack of experience and maturity made it very hard for me to manage my emotions. I was a lot more sensitive and “dramatic” than what was deemed acceptable in the dating world. I felt ashamed for being so weak and uncool. I wanted to be an attractive girl who always kept her composure and could take things easy.
So I was set on finding my “ideal” type while morphing myself into the modern life’s text-book “chill girl”, believing that it would solve my self-esteem issues (It didn’t.)
For a while, I dated people who were exactly like that checklist. I attributed value to their good look, their extroverted hobbies, their big job title. I convinced myself they were of high quality and so I wanted to be liked by them. I tried really hard to maintain the relationship with them regardless of whether it was right for me.
It was a painful struggle — not just because none of those relationships were right for me, but because I couldn’t even like the person I was dating and didn’t know why I was so desperate to have their approvals. I was often shocked by how oblivious they were to the impact of their words and actions on me, how they could just sweep back into my life after hurt feelings and disrespect as if nothing had happened.
That was usually when I dropped my chill act and let my gut out.
I sent them paragraph after paragraph while paralysed by anxiety.
I justified it by telling myself that I was being authentic and it was the right thing to do. Well, it did feel good to do. Though they remained nonchalant and I soon became the crazy one. But, the more misunderstood I felt, the more I wanted them to see the emotional side of me — the side that I’d buried so hard it hurt for all my life.
Therapy and reading books helped me understand that there was nothing wrong with being emotional.
My feelings and reactions were valid. I was rightfully triggered and deserved compassion — of course, first, from myself.
When I became calmer and had time to reflect, it hit me that none of those guys offered me compassion — perhaps they weren’t even capable of doing so. I ended up bearing by myself all the emotional cost of our inherent incompatibility and their lack of understanding.
When facing my anxiety and authenticity, they were at a loss. They were overwhelmed and scared. So they toughened up. They didn’t get it. They were nonchalant because they genuinely couldn’t see how or why something they did could wound me so deeply. They didn’t have enough empathy to experience first hand the impact of their words and actions on others.
Surely, they were emotionally intelligent enough to be good at talking smooth, pulling moves, playing hard to get, keeping others at an arm’s length, but not enough to know when someone’s genuinely hurting and needs their kindness instead of their indifference, aggressiveness, or defensiveness.
My low self-esteem issues were resolved the moment I understood that people’s inability to respond appropriately to my anxiety wasn’t my fault and I believed that being authentic and empathetic was my power.
It was my strength and also one of my core qualities.
I knew this because all my healthy and trusted platonic relationships shared this quality. Because my writing was best-received when this quality shone through. Because I felt my best self when this quality was appreciated.
Essentially, I stopped feeling the need to be validated by other people.
I validated myself and trusted my own judgment of others.
Afterward, my checklist was renewed. My perception of those people with a shiny front also changed. I didn’t think anything bad of them but I didn’t necessarily put a high value on what first met the eyes either.
The funny thing about outer qualities (for example, a good look or a good background) is that you can’t really seek them out — it doesn’t work like that.
How it usually happens is this: You carry them yourself and people who are similar to you will navigate towards you. You shall be the walking demonstration of those qualities.
Inner qualities are different.
Inner qualities take time to recognise and uncover.
So, while I continually become a better me, I put empathy at the forefront of my checklist. I acknowledged my anxiety and emotional nature and I decided that I needed a partner who had enough emotional depth to handle it. I asked for emotional depth also because I knew it was something I had plenty of — something I could give back just as much as I might receive.
From then on, my dating or even friendship experience transformed.
I connected with people who might or might not seem outwardly successful by society’s or media’s standards, but they were genuine and authentic and powerful in their own ways. Our friendships had real depth and were fulfilling to me. I also found a partner who is so wonderfully empathetic and highly emotionally intelligent that my heart could sometimes burst in appreciation and happiness.
Date someone with high empathy because they will see you and see your reasons.
They will think twice before doing something that might hurt you because they know it would hurt them too. They will ask you what you’re thinking and get to the bottom of your difficult feelings. They will make you feel safe and seen and cared for every single day. They will embrace you not just with their body but with their big heart and kindness. They will make you be more considerate and softer when you realise you had the power to hurt them too.
Date someone who shares your core qualities. Date someone who makes you more you.
Source : Medium