Do you and your friends ever find yourselves staring at a couple and start whispering, “How did someone like that, end up with a person like this?” You obsess over the mismatch because in your heads it doesn’t make sense. Good looking people should be with good looking people, and the not so pretty ones should be with the not so cute ones. You focus so much on the shallow, that you lose sight of what’s most important—the fact that they genuinely look happy together.
As I write this I feel like a hypocrite. I too was susceptible to shallow thoughts and impulses, moments when I thought my friends were too good to be with the person they were with, and moments I thought I was too good to be with the person that wanted to be with me.
But I’ve also been a victim of the shallow. They’ve been times when other people’s shallow perceptions of me made me think I wasn’t good enough to pursue the person I liked, and perceptions that made the people I liked feel as though they were too good for me. It’s a vicious cycle that the most beautiful and handsome never have deal with—a seemingly endless loop of people dishing out the shallow and being on the receiving end of it.
Our shallowness makes us brush good people aside. You dig deep into your mind and you are guaranteed to remember at least one person you should have given a chance. When they wanted to date you, you’re that person that said no when you should have said yes. When they wanted to kiss you, you’re that person that leaned back when you should have leaned in. When they called you, you’re that person that sent them to voicemail when you should have picked up, and when they text, you’re the person that ignored when you should have text back. When you needed someone, they were there for you, and when you didn’t need someone, they never crossed your mind. They are the ones that complimented you with no hidden agenda, and were generous without ever expecting anything in return. When they confessed their love to you, you toyed with their heart, and when they gave themselves to you, you took them for granted.
Looks are a wonderful thing, material things too—but sometimes we put too much value in them when it comes to our search for true companionship. As I grew in my own relationships and through observing those of others, I slowly realized that there is a certain essence that looks and materials things can’t predict. A certain essence that speaks to the character of the person you’re with or trying to be with. I think as we mature in love and matters of the heart, we start to realize that what really makes a man or woman sexy and attractive is not the size of her breasts or the chiseled nature of his chest. It’s not his height and frame, or her slim and slender physique. It’s not the car he drives or how good she is going to look stepping out of one. It’s the simple realization that they are dedicated to making you happy and staying true to you just as you are to them.
People will always insist you can do better, but sometimes better isn’t always best. When you’re always looking for the next best thing, you sometimes run the risk of never appreciating what’s right in front of you. I’m not trying to say you should hold on to that abusive boyfriend or that cheating girlfriend. I’m not trying to say you should compromise your standards when it comes to how you want to be treated or appreciated. I’m simply saying that sometimes we make the mistake of letting go of a good thing because we were distracted and too busy scouting for something better and satisfying to our shallow appetites. Sometimes we have to learn to be content with what we have, because if we’re always hunting for better, we may sometimes make the mistake of leaving behind what was best.
They say you don’t know what you got till it’s gone, and in the context of love and relationships, you never really appreciate who you had or could have had until you replace them with someone worse, or they fall into the arms of someone who appreciated them more than you did. In that moment, fueled by regret and the desire for another chance, you begin to realize you made a mistake that was inspired by shallow impulses—you let go of the keeper when you should have affectionately and unconditionally held them close.