How many candidates will you turn down and feed to the lions until you choose the one to spend your life with? This postmodern life has blinded us with infinite options. We’ve ran so far away from the imposed choices of archaic times that it seems like we forgot to check where we’re headed; and now we find ourselves standing in the middle of nowhere, surrounded on all sides by giant shelves of options stacked up to the heavens. You don’t just eat your food. You choose from innumerable varieties of fast-food, packed ready-to-eat meals, luxurious entrees, junkfoody snacks, the old home-cooked kind and everything else in the maze of the grocery store. Similarly, no one’s forcing you to become a lawyer, a doctor or an engineer. As long as you have enough money to fuel your ambitions, you can be anyone: a fashion designer, a Web entrepreneur; or you can ruin your life in the classic rebellious act just for the existential experience. You thought cable TV before had a ridiculously long list of channels, but when the Internet popped up, our idea of entertainment went from “ridiculous long lists” to “infinite and unknowable boundaries.”
And then of course there’s love. Since we’re so used to choosing, we treat relationships like surfing the Web or shopping in a massive grocery store. We just know that somewhere in this long line of brands that stretch up to the horizon, is the “right” guy or girl who will make us happy. Time is of the essence, so we can’t be bothered to check an item thoroughly. We browse it, scan it, get a summary of its ideas before we move on to the next one, which might be better equipped with qualities that feel “right.” We’re faster than HR people when deliberating applicants.
And in our frenzied surfing or shopping, we fail to notice that we’ve been too self-absorbed that we’ve been bending items to our will instead of bending to those items in return. We’ve forgotten our business as people capable of empathy to listen and feel further, dig deeper into an item to see what really lies beneath.
Everybody’s talking about the right guy or the right girl. Well, maybe you don’t have to seek that character in a crowd. Maybe you have to find that character in a person. Maybe you need to stop choosing and start imposing things upon yourself.
Your failed relationships may not be a function of all the people you’ve dated, but a function of your addictiveness to choose and your laziness or inability to connect with other people. The real culprit in your failure may have been you all along.