Thursday, August 14, 2014

Finding The One Part I: I Am One

She’s not going to come into your life until you have done the self-work you need to do to be ready. A potential One may come, but if you’re not ready to receive her at your highest, best self, the connection won’t likely be what you want or need it to be.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
--Helen Keller 
The above quote may seem strange to connect to finding “The One” in the dating quest. But when I re-read it (it’s one of my favorite quotes), I thought about how important it is to do one’s part in being available, willing and ready to enter a relationship. So I interpret this to mean: I am responsible for who and what I bring into a relationship. I can’t change anyone but me. I will actively work on me—especially when I am bothered by something in HER. Some things I won’t be able to heal in myself until I get into a relationship.

First, I’m clear that the optimal relationship is one that brings me compatibility and companionship. I have been dating and loving myself. So I am looking for the right woman to complement me—not complete me. I am committed to self- awareness and seeking self-actualization. So, I am not needing validation or approval of who I am. I also want to offer the same affirmation and support to her. I believe that we will be good to each other, good with each other and good for each other.

Secondly, if I can easily spot her faults and flaws, it may be that those things are reflecting, highlighting or triggering flaws, character defects or issues in me. And because I can’t change her, I need to change my response to her and make sure that I’m not labeling her as difficult just because she’s different than me. I certainly need to be honest about anything that I am doing to contribute to the difficult behaviors. It’s kind of like playing a game with someone and realizing that they are breaking the rules or perhaps just not playing like you like to play. You can always take your ball (or dolls) and stop playing. In other words, if she does something that automatically draws a certain reaction from me, and I continue to react in the same way each time, now I’m playing a significant part in the difficult behavior.
Finally, there some personal habits, some reactionary patterns and some interpersonal dynamics that can only be addressed in the context of a relationship. It could be something simple like how you sleep in your bed—in the middle versus curled up on one side. Or something ongoing like what you do as a part of your weekend routine. And it could be something bigger like your values around friendships and family; or your spending habits. The way you deal with those things individually could be different than the negotiation and compromise that is required in a relationship. I also believe that the best way to learn to trust again, is to try trusting. And intimacy with another person can’t be achieved in isolation or just being with yourself. Plus, creating new love and new experiences can be a great way to provide contrast to painful pasts and unpleasant memories.

So as I explore myself and others in the dating process, I look for opportunities to grow. Even if a connection with someone doesn’t lead to what I call “intentional dating’ to see if we are each other’s one, I can always use the encounter to learn more and better prepare for the real thing.

Gwen Thomas is the author of The S.H.E. Experience, a woman’s perspective on self-actualization. She is also the President and CEO of The C.A.S.T. Company, which provides training, consulting and professional coaching to individuals and organizations. As speaker and consultant, she presents various professional development and personal growth topics. She has provided training and motivational speaking throughout the United States, in the Caribbean; a total of 7 countries on three continents.

She has experience and expertise in leadership and organizational development, communication skills and women’s professional and personal growth. She has spent the majority of her professional life motivating and teaching others in workplace settings and in spiritual environments.


  1. great article. I actually going through this process as well.

  2. Greetings, Gwen!

    I loved your article and your opening sentence pulled me right in! "She’s not going to come into your life until you have done the self-work you need to do to be ready." I find its truth timely!

    Best wishes,