I had an interesting conversation with an acquaintance recently. We were talking about a friend of his who is in an open relationship. And, while I’m certainly supportive of any relationship dynamic that helps people express love, I saw some signs that made me doubtful that this particular relationship did in fact do that.
I try to always stay open-minded and reserve any judgments, so in the event that I was unconsciously projecting my own preferences on to the situation, I wanted to hear a lot more about why he felt open relationships just worked so much better.
We talked about differences in sexual needs, about biological hardwiring, about excitement, about stress relief, and about self-esteem and validation.
And I was totally on board until that last part. Not that I have any intentional of dictating how a person evolves and grows—but dating or sleeping with people outside of your relationship just to feel worthy really saddens me. Because why do we constantly feel like we need to prove ourselves?
Almost on cue, someone came up and paid me a compliment, telling me that I looked like some celebrity (I’m probably too bad with celebrity names to know which). And I just turned and said, “Oh thank you. It’s because I’m so beautiful.” I was half-kidding. But not really. I do think I’m beautiful. I love the way I look. I love myself.
My friend laughed. But I used it as an opportunity to explain that I don’t feel the need for anyone to tell me how beautiful I am. I know. I feel it. And, more than that, I think there are a lot of really stunningly beautiful people in the world. And it’d probably be flattering if all of them wanted to date me. But I’m so in love with Garrett that I see a beauty in him that I can’t see in anyone else. Maybe you can say I see his soul. Maybe it’s a glow in his eyes. I don’t know. I just know that, to me, he’s by far the most stunningly beautiful person in the world. No one—not even a celebrity—closely compares for me.
So, to be totally honest, it was hard for me to even imagine the benefit I’d personally get from an open relationship through this conversation. Because this container, this relationship with Garrett, is more than just romance or fun or sex or co-habitation. It’s about my Soul expressing itself and seeing the Divinity in another. And I’m not sure that can happen with just anyone.
Now, that being said, please understand that I have no judgment about other relationships. And, like I said, I think any container that can help us express love and feed our Souls is a fantastic container. If it works for you, more power to you. I just know it’s not for me.
But the whole conversation about self-esteem and validation—about proving ourselves—made me think about how many places we do try to prove ourselves because we don’t feel worthy.
Maybe not in relationships. But I see a lot of entrepreneurs who want to make a certain amount of money (maybe the arbitrary six or seven figures). Or people who want to be featured in certain magazines because of the name. And, coming from PR, I spent a lot of time in my life wanting those things. In fact, if I’m being totally honest, a part of me does feel that some of these arbitrary metrics will validate me.
But then I remember that this is my business, it’s my life. Why am I willing to compromise my own values for the sake of feeling good enough? If I go about my business my own way and make seven figures, that’s fantastic. But I intentional build slowly. And take baths. And am selective about who I work with. And play around. And all of that.
Because I’m fucking brilliant. I’m amazingly successful. And I don’t need a bank account or a client to tell me that.
When I look at my business, I see a beautiful, a purity, a truth in it that I can’t see anywhere else. And that’s not a commentary on anyone else’s business. That’s a statement that, like Garrett, I can see its Soul. I can see that it’s the perfect container for me. And I’m not willing to compromise the integrity of my work for anything. In fact, I’ve made a lot of “bad business decisions” in my day in the name of doing what feels right. Because this work is my calling. There’s nothing I love more than surrendering to where the work wants me to go.
I don’t pretend I’m perfect. And I work my ass off every day to explore my fears and insecurities. So I’m certainly still working through areas where I don’t feel good enough as much as the next guy. Truth be told, I’m just another guy figuring out my shit.
But here’s my wish for the world. For myself and for you. I wish that we felt good enough, worthy. Right here, right now. So beautiful by our own reflection. And so fucking brilliant. And successful. And aligned. And amazing. So that, yeah, if someone else thinks we’re stunning, awesome. But we don’t need it. We have it inside. And if we hit some self-validating arbitrary milestones, cool. But we don’t need them either. Because we feel good enough inside.
And then we’re empowered. And we can start building from that place. Imagine what you could create if you took validation and worthiness out of the equation. Imagine if you already knew your infinite, inherent value.
Maybe you’d start to experience your Divinity.