The problem with comparing your whole life to only what you see of other people’s
#RelationshipGoals are play pretend
You are with who you are with right now for a reason. You fell in love with that person because that one fateful night (or day), you looked into his eyes and felt like you could get lost in them. You were there, in the present moment, as he held your hand in the cab on your way to grab dessert at your favorite local bakery. You felt every centimeter of his lips as you kissed him goodnight. And then you both broke away from the kiss, stared into each other’s souls, and smiled. And it was magical. You wanna know why it was magical?
Because it was real. And you were both there, right as everything was unfolding. You were the players in your own love story, not mere spectators or some highly-sarcastic romance novel critics.
I don’t know if you’ve already noticed, but relationships are only made possible when two people are present. The minute either one of you goes off into some daydream that highlights a perfect world for yet another perfect love, that’s when your relationship gets taken for granted. You are not obliged to be like other couples. You are not supposed to be where they’ve been, to see what they’ve seen or to hear what they’ve heard. None of us is sitting in our sturdy futons rooting for you and your hubby to look just like Brangelina.
You are who you are. Your relationship is what it is. And you should be very proud of that, because you are writing your own story.
Come back into your own reality ASAP. You belong nowhere else but there. For you and for your lover, it is the only place where magic can happen.
Static images are impossible to achieve
Like, just fundamentally.
It’s like aspiring to live within the pages of West Elm. Or have a closet that looks like — I don’t know, Samantha’s from SITC or Cher from Clueless.
(“Yeah but actually KG, that sounds amazing — #lifegoals.”)
A lot of people see static images and compare them to their regular day-to-day living. But that shit doesn’t always look like that.
I mean, even crafting that image once takes serious work, because life is fundamentally imperfect. Consider how many selfies we take before we get a good one.
Also, any photographer will tell you that light makes or breaks the photo.
Light changes constantly, fam. This point alone is enough to highlight: that image was a staged millisecond in a sea of imperfect.
Capturing moments ruins them
The classic one being people who film concerts instead of watching them.
Mindfulness is real, and every moment we don’t spend being fully present is a little bit lost forever.
We don’t “save” the moment. We scrap it, right then and there, and never experience it to begin with.
Staging moments ruins spontaneity and sincerity
People choose restaurants based on how well the food photographs — not how it tastes. (People do the same with people, too, though.)
Human connection is about being authentic — not using the #liveauthentic filter, but actually being authentic. And spontaneous — not while also wondering how “it’ll look.”
“I think that it is important to experience the rawness of a genuine relationship. The candidness of every kiss. Those moments when you wake up right next to the person and see his face light up as he sees your face light up. Those moments when you see someone for what he truly is, without any filter, without any inhibitions. Just you and the person, in this crazy mad world that we all live in.”
Without reaching for our phone.
#RelationshipGoals say nothing about the strength or success of a relationship
Success isn’t defined by how many sunshine, smiling, perfectly filtered images you post, the number of places you go, the travel.
A lot of the strongest couples get there by staying exactly where they are.
And a lot of the unhappiest couples I know are the ones who jet-set several times a year and build custom homes and then confess to me over their glasses of fancy wine from their trip to Napa: “I’m just not happy.”
A relationship is not a series of checklists
I mean, you can certainly run through a checklist with someone. And you might even build a relationship in the process. But that doesn’t automatically make it a good one.
Like, you can also Life Checklist and get married, get the house, the car, the dog, the kids. But we all know that doesn’t mean you’ve made it.
The good stuff isn’t visible and the visible stuff is easily faked
Here’s the biggest dirty secret about goal-setting:
The important things can’t be measured, and the measurable things aren’t what’s important.
We define goals, in part, by making them “measurable” (remember, it’s the “M” in “SMART” goals.)
“What gets measured is what gets done .”
And well-known businessman Peter Drucker is famous for saying:
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
With all respect to Drucks, that’s just simply not true.
Good #relationshipgoals — like any good goals—are the messy, ambiguous, unmeasurable things. It’s not shit like checklists and number of dates and frequency of affection or time boxed milestones. It’s things like “give love,” “respect,” “self love before loving others,” “build emotional strength,” etc.
Your #RelationshipGoals are giving you anxiety, and you don’t even know it.
Each time we uphold someone else as an ideal, we are unconsciously succumbing into feelings of inadequacy.
#RelationshipGoals obsession sabotages your happiness with your partner
When we focus on the wrong things, we suffocate the good things.
When we make our partner into a subject for a series of staged images, and an actor for the realization of #relationshipgoals based on recreating them, we turn them into paper dolls.
Why not both?
“KG, you can have #relationshipgoals and a good relationship.”
Not really. Just like you can never be totally present at the concert when you’re filming it. Every moment you’re taking a photo of your food is a moment you’re not eating it. And every moment you’re positioning and staging is a moment you’re telling your partner, “wait.” Put this actual moment — and the actual us — on hold.
- Sincerity over superficiality
- Strength in emotional connection over staged smiles and embraces
- Trust, communication and connection over practiced poses
- Mindfulness and being present over “making memories” or “goals”
- Actual love, not the imagery of love
- Security to love without the visual proof of “being in it”