She asked me, “Do you think he could be The One?”
I looked at her hopeful face and wondered how she would take my hearfelt answer — no, honey, he’s not The One. He might be a wonderful guy, and you might be extremely happy with him, but he’s not The One.
Because there’s no such thing as The One.
Despite everything you’ve been told, The One is a myth that only serves to hold us back and make us wretchedly unhappy.
Because there’s not just one person in the whole world who you can love — there are millions.
Pick your jaw up from the floor, sweetie, and bear with me here.
When you decide that there’s only one person out there with whom you can be happy, be contented, be yourself, be deeply committed with — well, you’re setting a limit. A big limiting limit.
Still don’t believe me? Ok, when you say that there’s only one person you can love, what about the woman I knew who was widowed when her young husband was killed in his tank in the Battle of the Bulge? To say that he was The One — the only person she could possibly ever love — what does that say about her second marriage which thrived for fifty years? The one in which she was happy, contented, herself, and deeply committed? Was it wrong? Which marriage didn’t count?
Is it possible that both husbands could have been The One?
Starting to understand? OK, let’s talk about this in the simple terms of abundance and lack. Abundance means having lots and lack means having very little, or, worse, none at all. Believing in The One sets up a deep, black, lack hole. Coming from a lack mindset, I think that I may only get one shot at happiness, so I better get it right. I better be picky. Or, I better hold on to a mediocre boyfriend because what if he’s The One? What if this is as good as it gets?
Abundance is just the opposite. Abundance means that there are many people I can love and be committed to. So if you hit me, or steal my money, or treat me like dirt — I’m a-walking. Because I know, deep down, that there is someone else out there I can love. Plenty of someone elses.
Now, I have to say this: I am a friend of marriage in general, and a friend of your marriage in particular. I am not saying that living in abundance allows you to have affairs all willy-nilly and be off the hook because you’re just living in abundance, dude, and all your partners are The Ones. Huh-uh.
Knowing that there are many people you can love yet acknowledging that you have chosen your spouse is how you divorce-proof your marriage.
Borrowing what I know from weight loss coaching, putting anything off limits creates a lack and only serves to place that “bad food” right smack dab at the top of your mind, increasing your desire to have that “bad food”. To foil that impulse, it’s important to tell yourself that you can have any food — but you’re choosing that which is healthy.
Imagine how different you might take an office crush with this mindset. Rather than wondering, “Maybe my spouse isn’t really The One. Maybe the office crush is The One. If he wasn’t The One would I be feeling all these feelings?”
Naturally, you’d be feeling the crush! Because he’s one of The Ones you could possibly love. But he’s just one of The Ones. Knowing that there is plenty of love available to you puts the crush into perspective and allows you to stay committed to the person you’re committed to.
And I have noticed that people carry over The One idea to their careers. Some people have an attitude that their job should be The One. Which is, again, coming from a lack place. People stay too long in jobs when they worry that maybe this is as good as it gets. Maybe working somewhere else would be harder. Or worse. Or just have different jerks.
My first job out of college was great — I worked with a terrific team of peers, and I’m happily connected with them today. It was a challenging and affirming job. But had I stayed there, I would never have had the tremendous experience of working at The White House. Which was, in a word, amazing. And had I not left The White House (well, the Secret Service would have escorted me out one way or the other after the new President took office), I would never have worked for Anne Wexler and have had five inspiring and educational years with her.
And, of course, I would not be the coach I am today without all those experiences.
I loved them all. They were each The One. And The Ones keep on coming. Because I live in abundance and happily welcome them with open arms.
Oh, there are many ways to be happy, darlings. When you know that there’s is plenty to choose from — not just One, but Many — you can live in non-desperate abundance and make sound, fulfilling choices. And you’ll find yourself surrounded in love. With all The Ones that are out there for you.