YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE
A friend once told me the only kind of gay men I attracted were lost boys that needed someone to look after them. For years, my “type” of men didn’t exist. I made them up in my head. My ideal mate was only inside fairy tales or black and white movies, until one day I woke up. Like everything else in my life, I had tried to control fate – that which is impossible to control; I tried to veer my destiny towards the direction I wanted; I denied myself to look past anyone who didn’t fit my criteria; I blamed myself for being single; and I thought something was wrong with me. I realized I wasn’t my problem. It was the lack of compassion I had for myself that kept me from seeing the forest through the trees. Let me explain.
Being single didn’t mean I was “alone.” I was waiting for an ideal mate to enter my life, but I didn’t see it this way at the time. The more I complained, cursed myself, thought I was incomplete, thought I wasn’t worthy of love, assumed no one paid attention to me because I was fractured or inadequate, the more I started to mold myself around that idea. After countless hours of reflecting, I realized I wasn’t inadequate for them. I was inadequate for myself.
I didn’t like myself therefore I gave no one an opportunity to like me. It was then I realized if I didn’t change this mindset I would be forever alone, for how can I let anyone into my life if I was subconsciously pushing them all away?
I wanted so desperately to have a taste of what it was like. I was 26, a workaholic, had lots of friends (all platonic), and had never been in a real relationship. I didn’t handle rejection well and I was well aware of my cynicism towards gay men. Everyone who showed interest was never good enough. When the potential of love came into my life I should have welcomed it, but instead I distanced myself. If it were anyone else, I would have called him or her crazy. When someone great comes along you’d think a healthy person would see it as a good thing; unfortunately, I saw it as a reminder of what I can’t have – again, a symptom of not liking myself.
My point is this. For years I had surrounded myself with people like my friend above who said “all I attracted were so and so guys.” Most of my friends were also cynical about love, but whenever they entered a relationship they disappeared off the radar never to be seen again. Collectively, this only fueled my insecurities. If you’re a man who chooses to look at the bad more than the good, refuses to humor the idea that you deserve happiness, and has made up your mind that love, in fact, doesn’t exist, this is the roadmap you are unconsciously creating for yourself and you will have no choice but to follow it until you decide to change it.
Falling in love takes a bit of naivety. It’s not practical, i.e. something you can plan out like a vacation, a weekend, or a workout schedule. In many ways it requires both people to let their guard down, to enter it thoughtless, even carelessly. But because we’re trained to overthink, overanalyze, and underestimate, we become victims of our own intellect. Before we know it, we’re too busy feeling with our heads when we should be feeling with our hearts.
The trick is attitude, a mature way of making sense of rejection, and a strong sense of self. You are not your parents (that was a big epiphany for me). You are YOU. Everyone deserves to be loved, but being loved is the aftereffect of giving love. When you love, you receive it in return; if you don’t, you will welcome that as well.
Listen to me carefully. You deserve to be happy. Who said a relationship was a requirement for that? The years of being single are the ones we treasure most in the long run. They’re all about figuring out our place in the world, getting to know who and what we can handle, and deciphering our character. Singlehood is precious, but you will always get what you put into it. Stop fighting it, and at least humor the idea of being happy first and foremost. When there’s an overload of that, you’ll be surprised how many guys show up at your door wanting to get a piece of it.