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The Better Half

There was a line in a popular award winning movie that came out a while back which had one of those infectious impacts on the vernacular of our current pop culture, particularly as related to our human interactions.  The movie was Jerry Maguire, and the line was, “You complete me.”  You hear this now popping up all over the media and our everyday language, as one of those commonplace references we all inherently recognize, freely associate and readily accept.  I’m sure at the time, it was the impetus for throngs of hopeless romantics to dab at their eyelashes, and fueled conversation in the following days at the water cooler, in the chat rooms, and over the coffee shared between girlfriends.  But, to me, it was just sad.  It was disheartening that such a statement could be uttered in a movie by a character without the slightest indication of abnormality, and appreciated as not only copacetic, but even laudable, and an example to follow.

Not for me.

I’ve always found the concept that "You COMPLETE Me" may function effectively as a tearjerker in a sappy chick flick, but it's a sad commentary on your life if you're incomplete outside yourself.

I think that’s part of what’s wrong with relationships in our society these days.

It's too bad that we're now living in a civilization where more than 50% of marriages end in divorce because too many people have come to expect too much from one partner.  Perhaps we've all seen too many movies that ended in happily-ever-after, but the truth is, since obviously you can't expect to accomplish it on your own, you should recognize that no one else can give you that perfect of a life.  There isn't a magic key that opens a hidden door to a secret castle somewhere carefree without a cloud in the sky or a worry in the air that's handed to you when you tie the noose er, knot, in whatever capacity is appropriate for you.  The best thing you can do to be attractive to ANYONE, is to learn to be as fulfilled within yourself as you can possibly be.  You can't require someone else to fill your voids…  No one else is better suited to do that than you, and everyone else who'd try will only be fated for failure.  And that’s a horrible thing to do to someone you love!

Another conventional idiom in today’s language that we all just acknowledge blindly without afterthought is a reference to “My BETTER half,” when speaking of a significant other, as if to suggest that an entire bisection of ourselves is completely missing, and we are less than functional without connection to that other person.  I think that’s sad for the same reason.

Shel Silverstein actually summed it up pretty well in his children’s book, “The Missing Piece”, which presents the exploits of a rolling character, traveling through life looking to be “COMPLETE,” who finds that becoming “whole” in that sense may not improve his life as much as he’d originally imagined after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking relationships of an intimate nature… indeed, I’m rather fond of them — so much so that I choose a way of life which allows me to juggle more than one at once.  In fact, I think the best way to look at the ideal of “The BETTER Half” is as a means to describe the nature of the bond between two or more people in whom together, our combined energy allows us collectively to be more and greater than we could be otherwise on our own.  In this way, it isn’t you or me describing that someone outside ourselves, but, rather, the unified entity we are together.

But, while that may be the glamorized use, I do think it’s possible to have that sense of betterment even when you AREN’T with someone special.

You see, I DO have a better half within myself.  I think we all do.  It’s that portion of ourselves which remembers to make certain we look out for our own interests.  It’s that subtle nagging of our inner best friend that remembers to force us to ask ourselves, “What have YOU done for YOU lately?”

Just since the beginning of the year, I’ve been reading “The Power of Now” which is a bit amusing, considering I’ve owned it since 2004, and have even carried it around a few times with the intention of starting it, but have only just begun it last week.  (I guess THIS is more MY “Now” than that was then.  ;)

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve always felt that expectations are just disappointments waiting to happen, and that a promise broken to yourself brings about the worst kind of internal demoralization.  So, when I want to make a personal change, I don’t make a big deal about telling anyone, or conduct any sort of intrinsic grandstanding, I just do it.  But, as it happens, this year I flipped that switch on January 1st.  It wasn’t the turn of the annum that brought it about, there was a different catalyst, but, I’m a person who can easily forget to remember to mind my “Better Half,” and look out for my own best interests, so I was about due for a push of my "reset" button.  When that happens, I often need a jolt to set me back on that track, and, maybe, even, a reintroduction to that part of me.  But, it’s always a welcome reunion, especially, since, usually, by that time (by the time someone else notices), it’s become a sorely lacking need in my life.

So, yeah, I’m reading that book, because it was available, on the top of my list, and because I used to be an avid reader, and thought I should be again, but somehow, over the course of the years, ended up getting “too busy with other things to find the time.”  That’s a rationalization that I shamefully admit applies to so many of my former favorite pastimes which have tragically just fallen silent along the path, and, now, when I look back, I can’t even make sense of how that even came about.  Now, I am making a point to set aside at least one half hour at least once a day (if not twice) to dedicate my mind to educating itself.  And, I’m walking my dog twice a day, because we both need the training, and the exercise.  And, I’m organizing my space and keeping it clear.  And, I’m paying more attention to my nutritional intake, and drinking water as my primary body hydrant.  And, I’m dreaming, and planning, and LIVING, in a way I’ve almost forgotten... for ME.

But, most importantly, I'm actually remembering to BELIEVE that I CAN remain connected to the people and things I've let get in the way, and STILL be the person I want to be, and have the excitement in my life that I want, rather than letting those passions slip into a pipedream for SOMEDAY.  If you believe Timothy Ferriss, you know you've got to make your SOMEDAY NOW, or else it will never come on its own.

I know maybe it sounds selfish to say it that way, but, when you’re a person who doesn’t always remember to look out for yourself, because you let other people and things take priority and precedent over taking care of your own needs (under the delusion as if you're REALLY THAT strong!), the excitement of actually taking that step toward getting back to who YOU are and what YOU want, outside of internal influences, is most refreshing.  Don’t get me wrong again, it’s not like I’m not still capable of doing good by those outside myself and staying on top of the things I should be doing and need to do, but, in many ways, much MORE so when I’m making sure to remember that I’m a person who’s CAPABLE of doing them, because I’m well, I’m whole — I’m COMPLETE.  And it feels so much more empowering to know that I'M the one who's responsible for getting me there. 

It’s something that you almost never notice isn’t around until it’s gone, and then, it feels so good to have it back.  No one does well to be missing their better half.

          Hi me… remember me?  I’m our BETTER Half.

Yep, I’ve been missing My Better Half.

But, now, this is MY year.  And life is good.  And I like me.

And I’m looking forward to getting myself put back together, and remembering who I am, and finding my passions again and fueling my quest for excitement in life once more.

Like becoming an avid reader

     a performing musician

practiced instrumentalist

               a prolific artist 

                    a published writer

          an accomplished ballroom dancer

fitness buff

a yoga enthusiast

     a prolific multi-linguist

          world cultured and traveled

               ...and anything else I can imagine.

…Because I like me.

If I could pass this sensation along, because it's so momentous I want to share, I'd tell you...

          ...Don't forget who you are, be yourself, don't change for someone else, don't try to change other people, find a good social circle, hang out with lots of friends who accept you just as you are, remember to do things FOR YOU that are important to you, enjoy your life, and eventually exude the kind of confidence that is so compelling the whole world will likely be laying itself on your doorstep.  And, if you follow this process, what you'll likely find in time is that you have such a fulfilling social calendar that you don't have to go LOOKING for that one someone special, because you'll be completely encircled by LOTS of special someones, and, you can take your pick, or, if you’re like me, you can take ‘em all!  ;)  

Happiness, as it turns out, is contagious, and, luckily, as it happens, incredibly sexy, so, don't worry… be happy!

Happy New Year everyone!

LJ Idol | Season 6 • Week 9 - Topic: THE BETTER HALF
This post has been brought to you through an association with the online writing community forum, LJ Idol.
If you have enjoyed this entry, please feel free to speak your piece, share the love, and pass it on...

                                                                                                                                       ...and thanks for stopping by.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
I can't express how much ass this post kicked. I can sympathize with it 100%.
Jan. 10th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was afraid it might be considered a bit controversial, but, I am glad to find it's being so well received.
Jan. 9th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)

Jan. 10th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
;* Back atchya!

Jan. 9th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
I like! We should all see ourselves as being so important. :)
Jan. 10th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, and, the important thing to remember is, even if we value others above ourselves, we can't give back out what we don't have to pass on. If the glass is only half full, it can't be made to overflow for the betterment of those who need what's in it to share. ;)
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
Your entry sums up so many of my feelings. People who absorb themselves so much in a relationship and then lose all sense of self just baffle me. People call me selfish but I choose to maintain my own identity and not become lost in my relationship. I see so many do this and then when the relationship goes south, don't know what to do and become a psychological mess.
Happy New year to you too and enjoy finding yourself!
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
I do understand how when a relationship is over you can feel a little lost, even if you didn't define yourself by it, but, yeah, I'm sure it's much easier for those who don't than the ones who feel like their whole world is over because there was nothing else to it. I really feel for the women of different generations in bygone eras who really were nothing without their husbands. We've come a long way, though, we should be grateful, too, since, we never would have gotten here without the sacrifices they made.
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
This was awesome! And I'm with you on this one. Especially, the bit about happiness being contagious and sexy. Hear hear!
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Hehehe.... sounds like something that could easily turn into a pickup line... "Hey baby... how's about you and me go get happy together?" ;)
Jan. 9th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
Nice take on the subject and one of my favorite entries on this specific topic. Well done. :)
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm honored! Thank you so much! Unfortunately, I haven't read any other entries yet, because I'm in BFE for the weekend (just at a local coffee house with wireless for an hour or so right now... the only one in this town, and one of the few in the state that made it into this century), but, I hope to get a chance to judge some tonight or tomorrow before deadline... I suspect I'll be even more flattered then, since folks out here are so amazing! ;)
Jan. 10th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Hear, hear! As far as relationships are concerned, I didn't find the right guy until I'd addressed my own personal issues. Too many codependent relationships begin with "You complete me."
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah... it really does permeate our culture, though... it's such an infection. Everywhere you turn, there are songs with lyrics that are just rife with damaging insecurities and harmful obsessions disguised as "love." For example, as much I adore the haunting melody and the desperate vocals of Brandi Carlile's "The Story", I just can't bring myself to sing it, because she says she did everything in her life for this lover, because "I was made for you." I can't help but to think, oh, you poor dear, how tragic that you have nothing else in your life to live for.

Edited at 2010-01-10 08:42 pm (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
This entry completes me. Errrrr... I mean... ;-)

Kick-ass entry. Seriously, this was great and had a great message.

Really, really, really well written. Thanks for this.
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
You goof! Thanks! And, you're welcome!
Jan. 10th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
One of your most rockin' by far. LOVED it.
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
Really? Wow, I'm blown away and completely humbled that you think so. The truth is, this entry much more than any I've written in the competition so far is MY voice. These are thoughts that are a regular part of my life, and have often come up in my history, so putting them to writing is second nature. I try to switch up what I enter in the contest, though, so I don't always come off every time as self-absorbed, overly heady, or preachy, but, sometimes the efforts I put forth are just my best attempt to stay afloat. I'm really glad to know that people "get" it just as well when I'm as fundamentally who I am as I get.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 10th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! So glad you liked it!
Jan. 11th, 2010 06:46 am (UTC)
I think you're spot-on correct in your interpretation of how the phrase "you complete me" is employed in our society. That said, I am of the firm belief that all of us are slightly different people based on who we happen to be around at the moment. Context, to whit, effects personality.

In my brain, somebody who brings out the positive parts of one's personality is preferable to somebody who brings out the negative. So, if one uses "you complete me" in the sense of "you bring out the best in me," I can live with that. I don't think most people use it that way, though. Alas!
Jan. 11th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
I suppose I would agree with that use of it, though, I'm something of a word purist, and, terms tend to take on the connotation in which they are most commonly known, which sometimes leads to their total usurpation, unfortunately, so, things like that get under my skin at times. Yeah, I think I'd love to be able to use the phrase in the context you mentioned... just, can't, sadly. *sigh*
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )