For me, dedication is a learned behavior. I have struggled with being dedicated in many areas of my life. I have high aspirations, but it seems the follow through is so much more difficult than making the actual decision. Before the work is done, we all have hopes and dreams of the end result of what it is we are dedicating ourselves to. If it’s a relationship, we hope our dedication will result in being with the ones we love for the rest of our lives. If it’s a dedication to go to the gym, our desired end-goal is to have the perfect body. Even with school, our dream is to achieve that ever-so-glorious 4.0 GPA.
It appears all of these things are within our realm of possibilities, but why do we struggle to achieve them?
For me, one of my biggest struggles was staying dedicated to relationships. I am a loyal, faithful person and I would never betray the trust of who I am with; I’m not talking about cheating. I’m talking about having the same consistent message to myself day in and day out that this is the person I want to be with.
Why, you ask? Well, I used to be the type of guy who falls head over heels in love. Being completely smitten, I would ignore red flags and overlook critical details of the relationship. I was naïve in how I pursued love; but I wanted it all costs. In the end, that cost was my own self-esteem and confidence. By overlooking these details and warning signs, it resulted in the person I was with to be unfaithful. I don’t blame myself for what happened, but I blame myself for not ending the relationship before it could happen. I questioned everything from my looks to the way I acted.
Now, it’s hard not to question my relationships, but mostly myself. I noticed I had become a micro-manager of sorts, trying to solve every tiny little issue in a relationship. Instead of overlooking these non-issues, I felt the need to resolve every minor detail and often led to arguments because of the way I approached it. In the past, these would be overlooked as well as the major issues. So now I was stuck with this perfect girl and somehow had more issues than in the past with worse girls. It caused me to question my dedication to her; was she the one I wanted to be with? We ended up taking a break.
A few days apart from this girl and I realized something: she was not the problem, I was. Dedication is not something temperamental; it cannot change with your mood. Dedication is giving yourself up to something or someone through thick and thin. It’s about battling through adversity and getting through the issues instead of giving up and trying something new. In relationship, it’s about overlooking the small issues that do not have a deep impact on it. Instead of calling her out on every slip-up, getting emotional and questioning our relationship, I’ve made a change. I don’t need to question the relationship as we’ve both shown that we need each other and want each other. What I needed to do was find a new way to deal with the minor issues, to show patience and allow for mistakes to happen. No relationship is perfect, and I’ll be damned if I will have the first one. It’s bigger than that.
There is no one-size fits all type formats for relationships; but the biggest factor is having that dedication to yourself, your spouse, and to the relationship. Always work on the relationship, always work on yourself, and always communicate effectively what you need and why you need it. That is the type of dedication that can produce a successful relationship, and this realization kept me from making the biggest mistake of my life.
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