When we want something bad enough, and we’re in a hurry to achieve it, get it, feel it, secure it, we sometimes put blinders on, and dive in. Our desire for immediate gratification can be all encompassing depending how hungry we are. And with Valentine’s day tomorrow, this could mean rushing out to find “the one” within the next 24-hours. Loneliness, in fact, is one of the major motivators for risky behaviors. But, sadly, it never pays to dive into something quickly and blindly.
Here’s a rather ugly metaphor for what I’m talking about:
You are told by a stranger that there’s a pool at someone’s house in town. You LOVE, love, love swimming and you haven’t swum in years, so, without missing a beat, or asking any questions except “where’s the pool?” you run home, get your bathing suit, your towel, your sun block, your goggles and head on over to the address.
On the way over, you envision the water, the warm air, how wonderful the rush of the plunge will feel against your skin. You fantasize about how good it will all be–just the way you remember it. Maybe you’ll do laps. Maybe you’ll do the butterfly. Or the side stroke. Oh, the possibilities! It’s been so long!!!
You finally arrive at the door of the owner, knock, meet and say, “I’d love to use your swimming pool.” But before waiting for his answer, you waltz right passed him to his back yard. Without actually looking at the pool though, and sizing it up, you then proceed to put a pair of blinders on. You feel your way to the diving board, bounce a few times with exhilaration…and then….jump into a shallow, dirty pool of water and not only break two arms and a leg, but your nose as well.
How could this have happened, you think? How could I have dove into this filthy shallow water when I “envisioned” the water so perfectly?
This, of course, is a rather far flung story, and yet, the love addict does this every time he or she gets involved in a relationship. We fall helplessly in love–some of us within hours–only to later realize that the object of our affection was a shallow pool and now that are blinders are off, we are broken.
When we are willing to put blinders on and turn our lives and our safety over to someone we do not know well enough, it’s because the “fantasy” for a perfect love far outweighs the importance of what is real. And what is real might be too ugly or scary for us. So…we close our eyes, we throw caution to the wind and we dive in. Chances are when we do that, there will be enough water in the pool to catch us. But when we are blind, how can we be sure? We can’t, because there’s no guarantee UNLESS we make such a big decision with our eyes wide open, fully aware.
- Take your blinders off. When you refuse to LOOK at things as they are, you run the risk of diving into a shallow or empty pool!
- Stop the “fantasy” in your head telling you that that guy you just met online is your soul mate. He’s not. At least you have no way of knowing that until you spend months, YEARS getting to know him first.
- Be open to seeing, acknowledging and, if necessary, taking action toward avoid people with red flags (don’t just avoid the flag! Avoid the person waving the flag!!!)
- Use common sense when dating. Would you dive into a pool blind-folded? No. Then why go home with someone on the first date? It’s the same thing. Why allow your emotions to lead you to the sensation of “falling in love” when you just met someone? That’s not realistic. You may feel a chemical “attraction” to someone immediately, but don’t confuse that with LOVE. It’s NOT!
- Ask the right questions. Don’t just ask “where’s the address of the pool” ask if the pool actually has WATER. In other words, when you are dating, don’t just focus on a person’s good looks, or pick up lines. A relationship takes a long time to form and while I don’t suggest interviewing anyone on a first date about all the skeletons in their closet, it might be a good idea to think of dating someone as taking a college class. Educate yourself about this person through a series of dates. Don’t be afraid to hear info like, “I’m already dating someone.” WHen you Value yourself and love yourself, chances are you will want to protect yourself from getting hurt. Learn as much about the people who enter into your life as you can. The more you know, the better you will be able to make decisions about keeping them in your life or letting them go.
- Never trust your fantasy. In your mind Jack the Ripper or Charles Manson could be turned into the perfect mate if you’re creative enough (and trust me, love addicts are!). When you open yourself to reality and what is right in front of you, you can SEE the truth, and while it might not be what you want it to be, it is real and will allow you to make healthy decisions.