Occasionally I step into social media. What I see usually doesn’t strike me as all that meaningful, further convincing me to limit my social media participation.
Still, what I sometimes see makes me think. And sometimes I see something like that often enough that I feel compelled to say something. In one form or another, it’s an incarnation of the meme you see here.
I have no issue with imparting advice. Social media seems especially adept for that, and I’ve certainly done as much repeatedly in my blog and on my program. Just last week I gave advice to local leaders on how to partner in order to minister to singles. So giving advice doesn’t annoy me.
What annoys me is the advice being given. Let’s dig a bit deeper into what we have here.
Standing in the way
On the surface, the advice seems to make sense. Step out of your rose-smelling world and take a whiff of reality. Guys chase after what they want, so if he’s not chasing you, he’s not interested in you.
But that logic rests on a false assumption. Yes, guys chase after what they want, provided they have no issues standing in their way. Last time I checked, guys are human beings with lots of imperfections.
I’m fully qualified to speak here because I am a guy and (hard as it may be for some of you to believe) I do have imperfections. In fact, I’ve never claimed to be anything less than a walking construction zone.
I can recall many moments when I failed to chase an interesting woman. Mostly I abdicated my own agency to some unresolved issue because I did not own my life.
When I was younger, I feared getting rejected. I know some women scoff at that very real issue, but having lived through it I can tell you repeated rejection does horrible things to a man’s psyche and his sense of self. Simply discounting that reality prevents understanding and keeps many of us — men and women — single longer than we need to be.
Understanding a better way
We’re called adults, but the truth is we all mature at different rates, at different times, and in different ways.
When I was in my 20s, fear could easily block my path. I hadn’t yet matured beyond my fear. I didn’t really realize what an illusion fear really is. Thus, I would often fail to take advantage of opportunities to secure the blessings I longed to have.
What would have happened, though, had someone reached out and helped me to overcome my obstacles? How different would my life be today? How many more righteous families would exist today?
Rejecting a potential candidate simply for having an imperfection seems incredibly immature (and especially when you phrase it like that). But last time I checked, women are human beings, too. They have their own imperfections. They’re walking construction zones in their own right.
Our journey would be much more enjoyable if we replaced judgment with love and a quickness to reject with an eagerness to understand. That doesn’t mean we don’t have standards. But it does mean we lend support to those who, as they are right now, fail to meet those standards today. True friendship means extending understanding and support to reach a higher standard.
Besides, being willing to help one another along the road to perfection characterizes the best marriages. If we can’t help each other while we’re single, even when a relationship has no romantic aspect to it, what can we expect from marriage?
Helping along the way
Instead of spreading pseudo-common-sense based on faulty assumptions that serve more to keep us separated, let’s spread understanding based on fortifying love — the kind of love embodied in the Atonement of our Lord and Savior. His example of reaching out to the one and showing compassion for individual needs and concerns should inspire our interactions with one another. That applies to men and women alike.
And who knows? Perhaps in encouraging someone to overcome personal issues, you may find the very companion you are seeking. What at first may not have captured your attention because he or she was “obviously” not right for you may unveil itself to be more than you ever hoped of having and calling yours.
Again, we can have standards in our search for eternal companionship, as well we should. But we should not abandon others simply because they don’t meet those standards. We should instead abandon the rashness to judgment that blinds us from seeing others as they truly are. Helping each other along the way, whether or not offering that help provides us with any immediate advantage, will surely bring us more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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