Social media has exacerbated the romanticism of your partner being your “#everything.” We constantly see Instagram posts about our friend’s boyfriend with captions like, “He’s my everything.” Facebook photos of a picture of a couple’s silhouette in the sunset with cute calligraphy typed over top, “She is my everything.” Or tweets of a sleeping spouse with hashtags of, “#myeverything.”
What? Where does that even stem from? What lead us to the problematic belief that our partners are the one and only person we need in our life?
That checklist of needs and desires we have shouldn’t be about finding a life partner who checks every box. It should be about making new discoveries that come from you. It’s unreasonable to rely on one person to meet all your needs. Release your partner of that unrealistic expectation.
In life, we should surround ourselves with people who lift us up, people to be on our “teams.” Turns out your partner isn’t into yoga? Go to the studio anyways – you’re bound to meet other yogis who can share in your passion. Your partner not a hockey fan? Invite your hockey friends over to watch the game; I’m sure your partner would love to watch you where you thrive.
It’s important for all of us to figure out what our needs are and who can fulfill them, so we aren’t setting our partners up for failure. We have the power to decide how and where to seek out the support to meet our needs. Take some time today to sort out what are actually your priorities in life. Journal about it, talk it out, write a song about it, go for a walk and interpretive dance it through, however you need to process it.
For example, my top seven needs are a clear mind, a healthy body, emotional support, time for myself, physical intimacy, a clean and trendy appearance, and ways to stimulate my mind. These are the things that are important to me, and now it is my responsibility to figure out how to fulfill those needs.
I can fulfill about four of the seven needs myself through yoga, a healthy diet, meditation, couch-veg time, and reading (in no specific order). Family, friends, and other important people in my life can help with a few as well. For example, my friends and I love to spend time window shopping at the local mall, which allows me to stay on top of the latest trends. My mom is always a call for comfort when I need emotional support. My professors in graduate school know how to stimulate my mind. And I can always rely on my yoga instructor to help me clear my mind and my body.
Lastly, my partner can fill my needs of emotional support, physical intimacy, and mind stimulation. We check in with each other each day to see how we are feeling. We are constantly challenging one another to think outside of the box, providing each other with new perspectives on our points of views. But as you can see, I don’t look to my partner to fulfill every single one of my needs. My partner isn’t my everything – and he shouldn’t be. I want a partner who can support me and be on my team, and I would never expect him to be the only one helping me cross the finish line.
We should all have a team of people, including your partner and yourself and your other loved ones, which is – in fact – your everything. Don’t let social media skew your view of what your partner can and should do for you, or make you think that all of your needs will be met by just one person.
Take some time today to think through these questions to create the perfect team:
- What are your essential needs?
- How many of those needs can you support yourself?
- Who else is on your team to help you meet your other needs?
By recognizing the value of having many people in your life who are able to meet your needs (and by freeing your partner of the expectation to meet them all), you give everyone, including yourself, the opportunity to be the best version of themselves they can be.