If we are depending on our partner
to make us whole,
we’re in trouble.
Sooner or later, we shall feel betrayed.
Sooner or later, we shall hate the dependence,
Sooner or later, we may be the one
who does the betraying.
Wholeness is within.
As women, we are taught from a very young age to look to a partner/spouse/husband for completeness—wholeness.
We’re conditioned to believe that we are only half of a being, which means we must find our missing half in order to be whole.
The culture has built-in language to support this half-self idea.
- Meet my other half.
- She’s my better half.
- You complete me.
Expressions like these reinforce the notion that we are not whole, and that we must find our missing piece.
Seeing ourselves as half, and not whole, is dangerous.
When you see yourself as less than whole, what immediately arises are feelings of lack and incompleteness. And when you feel lack you feel fear.
Women who aren’t in a relationship often feel embarrassed or even ashamed—as if they are defective because they’re single.
Since no one has “chosen” them, or they’ve drunk the cultural Kool-Aid of not-enoughness, they see themselves as a half—like a bird with only one wing or a creature who is missing an important body part.
When you see yourself as less than whole, your radar will be in a state of perpetual scanning for who (or what) will make you whole. And this search for wholeness without—rather than wholeness within—leads to a multi-layered web of self-betrayals.
When you believe that you must have another person to make you whole, you will mold yourself into the form you think will be most pleasing to a potential other-half.
You may slice and dice yourself on many levels, tie one arm behind your back rather than show your strength and power, or contort your Self into an unrecognizable image of the authentic You. You will say yes when your body screams no.
Do you see how dangerous this is?
This half-woman image we hold of ourselves creates a dependence on others that is vast, deep, and toxic.
Even if we find someone we believe will complete us, eventually they will let us down, because that is the nature of human relationships. Humans forget, they disappoint, they act unconsciously, and sometimes they betray.
Experiencing relationships as an already whole person means we know the value we bring to relationships, and we observe our responses to the qualities the other person brings.
Since we are not looking to fill a deficiency, we can hold the experience lightly—with curiosity and a sense of adventure—rather than feeling driven by need or clinging.
Imagine two business owners looking to grow or expand their business.
Each has a specific set of skills and expertise, but in different areas. They meet and start talking about what they do and they realize that maybe they are better, more successful, more impactful, and more profitable together than they are on their own. And based on this realization and vision for something even better, they decide to form a partnership.
Neither of these business owners needs the other. They are whole and complete already. But they realize they can experience even more of what they want together, and that is the energy that magnetizes them to each other.
Of course, intimate relationships are more complicated and mysterious than business partnerships. Yet, the same principles apply: two whole people forming a relationship for the purpose of expanding into more joy, more love, and more of whatever lights them up.
Imagine yourself as whole. What does it mean to you?
Here are some ideas for what wholeness may mean to you:
- You have sovereignty (supreme power or authority) over all areas of your life—your body, your emotions, your thinking, your spirituality, your finances, and your sexuality.
- You see yourself as the expert on what is best for you, while also seeking the counsel of wise ones when you need information or clarity.
- You know your limitations and your strengths, but you don’t feel less-than or better-than because of them.
- You accept responsibility for supporting, loving, and protecting yourself. You understand at a deep level that it is dangerous to out-source the feeding, care, and maintenance of you to another person.
You are whole. Here and now.
How could you be anything less?
If you still doubt, pause right now and visualize your favorite flower. Or, if you’re not into flowers think of your favorite body of water, your favorite mountain, your favorite tree, or your favorite landscape.
Is your favorite flower less than whole? Of course not!
Seeking wholeness within is about returning to your authentic self, reclaiming what is yours, and receiving what is being given in every moment.
Seeking wholeness within is about choosing you.
Invitations for reflection, exploration, and action:
- What does wholeness mean to you?
- How would you live your life differently or make different choices if you believed that you are whole and complete right now, regardless of your relationship status?
- What strengths and qualities do you possess that you know are deeply valuable to you personally, and to your relationships?
© Victoria Tidwell Palmer (2022)
Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul (©1998)
By Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick
(Reprinted with permission)
*This post is from the Coming Home to You Series. Visit this page for the backstory of the CHTY Series.