Evaluate & Participate
As an introvert, this is something I have struggled with my entire life. Sitting on the sidelines evaluating the odds of failure, rejection or even someone hurting you. All the while, everyone else has "jumped in".
Win, lose or draw; those who have "jumped in" are experiencing something. I'm not saying evaluation isn't important. And I'm certainly not saying to "jump in" to anything that comes along. But there is a point where you must start participating on a level worthy of the opportunity or risk losing it.
I don't talk much about my love life on here but I took a year off to evaluate some things. (kinda why I grew that long, crazy beard)
After a harsh break up with someone I loved dearly, I made a good many adjustments in my life. There were several things I had to do for me and lots of questions that needed answers.
What things needed changed to be ready to trust someone again? What did I have to reset to be able to give someone new my absolute best? What vital things did I overlook when choosing the former partner? What things did I overlook in my own behavior that might have contributed to the failure?
As a hardcore romantic, I knew those questions needed answers or I was doomed to another round of chaos with a similar partner.
During that time, I thought long and hard about the person I wanted in my life. (I know... I just said long and hard) - get your mind out of the gutter.
For me, it's always been important to visualize what your future successes might look like as opportunities. More times than not, opportunities present themselves quickly and if we spend too much time evaluating, we miss out. Situations and feelings change. Interest moves on. People walk away.
I wrote a letter to the person I visualized spending my life with. In it, I described many of the characteristics and personality traits I felt were needed to be my partner, what we both might need as individuals, who we were to each other and what I felt our lifestyle might look like together.
I hear you, that sounds more like a laundry list of must and must nots.
I assure you, it was written as a letter to her, celebrating our life together. - That she was truly worth the wait.
And I was especially careful not to get too specific as I realize there are so many variables to people and partnerships. I just wanted a good positive outline of the person I wanted in my life.
I found having the letter allows me to fairly evaluate new friendships in a short time. Whether or not to start participating is a lot easier when I go back and read the letter.
That year off really helped me reset and find me again.
Trust isn’t something I just throw around. There’s always a vetting period for new people coming into my life, but there's a point when we have to stop evaluating and start participating. Especially if the other person is truly giving you his or her "A" game.
It's simply not fair to make a new person pay the bill for the sins of partner's past. If we learn and continue to grow from our mistakes and failures, past shouldn’t dictate future.
Just my .02 ;-)