I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. – Eleanor Roosevelt
I come from a society that has a deep-rooted belief that a woman’s number one priority in life is to get married and wholeheartedly serve her husband and children. She is defined as a woman by her ability to get married, and stay in a marriage where the husband is happy. It is assumed that if he is happy, that has to mean that she is happy as well. In school, my fellow female classmates either discussed their current plans for marriage, or dreams about meeting an amazing guy to whom she would be a dedicated and loyal wife. There were very few girls who said that they wanted to get a college degree first, so they wouldn’t have to rely on their husband for financial support, and cases of girls saying they didn’t want to get married at all were unheard of.
Weddings are just about always an extravagant affair, with music, fireworks, and romantic slideshows. But most girls never wonder what follows afterwards…Usually, they assume, it is eternal bliss. However if you ask women like my mother, who has decades more life experience then my past classmates and I have, she would tell you that in most cases (not all), what follows is a mundane life with everyday problems, where your obligations include running a household, and being the perfect wife for your arrogant and controlling husband. The belief that these girls are forced or coerced to get married and serve the husband is absolutely not true. They are often more than willing and happy to be dutifully wives and mothers. It takes many years before they realize that their husbands never gave them the happiness they were searching for.
Before you assume that this story only relates to the girls I went to high school with in Russia, I urge you to stop and reconsider. When I started college in 2013 in America, I quickly realized that the same idea is replicated in the minds of American girls as well. It seems that in the world in general, young girls seem to think that in order to be a happy and complete individual, they must, absolutely must, meet a guy, fall in love, and have a relationship. That is their priority in life. I listened in on my conversations of friends and acquaintances alike, in which their sole problem was their significant other, or lack of thereof, and their inability to cope with being single. I can write thousands of words recounting the cringing tales of how young girls I personally knew allowed themselves to be treated inferior by guys, and who were unable to walk away knowing that they deserve better. What angered me more than watching young girls, who had their whole lives ahead of them and who carried the ability within to accomplish amazing things, was that they were absolutely fine with settling for an average (or below-average) life, as long as an average (or below-average) man was in it.
I wish I could shout from rooftops for all women in this world to hear DO NOT SPEND YOUR ENERGY ON FINDING A PARTNER, SPEND YOUR ENERGY ON FINDING YOURSELF.
Oprah Winfrey, on a 2005 segment of her show, recounted the popular 90’s film Jerry McGuire, in which the line, “You complete me” melted the hearts of girls all around the world. To this, Oprah said, “You have to complete yourself.”
Dr. Robin Smith added, “Part of it is being able to develop you into a human being who is rich enough and broad enough that no one is necessary for your existence. They add to your life, but they aren’t your life.”
When I was 17 years old, I thought the only road to happiness was to fall in love and get married. Many young girls believe this as well, because it is what we are taught to believe. Music, movies, books, and quotes all revolve around one thing…love. While I would never denounce the greatness of love, rather it is because of my utmost respect for it that I urge you should find yourself and love yourself before you seek love from someone else. You should come go into a relationship with enough confidence, self-respect, and a base to fall back on (education, money, etc.) so that the only thing you need is a pure and honest kind of love, and if it is not given to you or you cannot reciprocate it, you have the power in you to simply walk away. And you walk away knowing that you deserve better, and that that something better is out there for you. Most importantly, it is far better to be alone, than to be with someone who doesn’t add value to your life.
You are an individual. When you meet someone your intuition tells you is the one, remember that they are not there to complete you, but rather to add to your greatness.
I hope you have a happy, happy day.