Remember the movie Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger? In the end, Jerry storms into Dorothy’s living room and tells her: You complete me. I loved that scene so much and watched the movie many times.
In 1995, I met my husband. The movie premiered one year later and I spent about the next two decades secretly wishing that he would someday storm into our living room, saying the exact same words to me.
That. Never. Happened.
What happened instead was years full of everything called life. Being together while originating from two different cultures and backgrounds. Starting full time jobs and building a home. Dealing with depression, mental and physical illness in our families. Marrying and having two kids within two years. We managed running Family Inc. but neither of us were particularly great at taking care of ourselves.
At the time much of this was subconscious but when I look back at it today, I was often looking for ways to receive love from my husband in the way that I somehow pictured love should be given to me. I wanted him to fill the hole of emptiness, fear and loneliness inside of me. I also wanted to be the one that completed him and made all of his problems disappear. As you can understand, I wasn’t much fun to live with.
Three years ago, we both took huge steps away from each other. Eleven weeks each we spent apart under professional guidance while intensely working on our own issues with life, death, love, childhood, sexuality, creativity, our body, awareness, using our voice, our breath and slowly transforming the way we look at and want to live life. I am convinced that we would not have been together today if we hadn’t each taken these steps individually.
Kahlil Gibran writes in his book The Prophet:
“Stand together, but not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
Last year, my husband and I stood on a pier by a lake in the north of Sweden and dropped our wedding rings in the water. As we watched them disappear into the depth of the lake, we let go of our old way of relating to each other. Instead, we each made a promise to take care of ourselves. To take ownership of our own life including all our fears, doubts and imperfections. We promised to live in awareness and not stand in each other’s shadow so each of us can grow and blossom and be our authentic selves.
I am not looking for anyone or anything to complete me anymore. To look outside myself for people or things to somehow fix or complete me is a path I no longer wish to walk or believe in. Instead, I go inside. And that to me is the most exciting and fulfilling path I can ever walk.
Photo: Laura Ockel – unsplash.com