Why people make terrible decisions in relationships, and in life

Many of my friends turned 30, freaked out about still being single and have been torturing themselves on Tinder, Ok Cupid and other “dating” sites alike in hope of finding love ever since.

We all know society and to be fair, nature, puts this pressure on young women to settle down and have a family before it’s too late. But I cannot think of anything worse than settling down with someone for fear of being alone. Never do anything because of fear. Fear shouldn't be fueling your decisions, love should. Which love you ask? Love for yourself. Know thyself is my principal golden rule for anything in life as I’ve realised no matter what you’re discussing, no matter the hardship someone is going through or the difficulty of the decision; knowing yourself plays a fundamental role in the ability to move forward or move past it in a way that encompasses growth.

Life is hard. It’s very hard. It may be simple, but we as humans are not. We are a complex matrix of physical matter, emotions, and a wide range of different experiences. That’s how we’re all the same, yet still all so different. When you throw in necessities like keeping a roof over your head, food in your mouth and clothes on your back, life can be pretty demanding. So on top of all of this we’re supposed to just find someone we may or may not be attracted to, who may or may not satisfy our intrinsic needs, who may or may not be a compatible fit for our life goals then compromise our values (sometimes) and create a whole new world with them for the rest of our lives (or at least until the kids leave home)? Nope, I’m good thanks.

I genuinely feel that some people, both men and women, take advantage of this pressure therefore offer a low standard of themselves in relationships. Think about it. How many happily married couples do you actually know? Couples that have been married three years plus whose smiles’ reach their eyes? Couples whose face light up at the mention of their other half? Couples who even when fighting, even when going through inevitable rough patches in their relationship are still respecting their partners and doing all the things they promised to do in their vows? I can’t say I know many myself.

Instead, I see couples who look happy on Facebook and Instagram but actually open up to me and paint quite a different picture. And once again I’ll go back to that principal rule; know thyself. How many of us took the time to really get to know who we are? How many of us know what we like, what we don’t like, what pushes us forward, what paralyses us, what our realistic dream and “impossible” dream is? Most of us don’t. Just look at your actions. How inconsistent have you been in what you perceive to be your values? How many times have you contradicted yourself or let yourself down? You are who you are…but have you accepted who you are? Are you completely honest with yourself? Have you forgiven yourself? Do you love yourself?

So many of us walk around trying to be someone else. The person our parents want us to be, our teachers, our children or people who we admire. I’m a complete advocate of trying to be the best version of yourself at all times. But when you’re not, it’s okay. When you missed that appointment or made that mistake, it was okay! Not acknowledging the things that bother us and internalising these emotions can be very dangerous and can easily lead us to becoming people even we don’t recognise in the mirror. Who are you?

Take time to figure that out and that’s when you’re more likely to find a satisfying and honest relationship. Because being honest with yourself makes it so much easier to be honest with others and also makes it easier for others to accept you as you are. If they don’t, that’s their choice, but you’re giving yourself a better chance at cultivating meaningful relationships. Get to know yourself and you’ll find a more satisfying job or career. You’ll have better friendships, life will seems better because that is how you’ll perceive it. It’ll be easier to make happiness be the choice during adversity, and trust me; happiness is a choice! I’m not saying it’s an easy choice, and I’m not even saying this journey of getting to know yourself ever ends. But it’s an important journey to take regardless of when you start it.

The point I’m trying to make is don’t rush into making life changing decisions because of pressures from society. Get to know yourself and I promise you, other things will fall into place. Love yourself, accept yourself and if that’s not what you want, if you truly desire to be a different person for whatever reason; change — the power is in your hands! But knowing yourself allows you to make better decisions for yourself. Organisations don’t hire senior people that don’t know either the industry or their field to make important decisions do they? So why do we do it? Go on adventures, try new things, look for novels experiences and be honest how you feel about them. I won’t say it’s an easy journey, I will however say it’s a worthwhile one.