By Mark E. Smith
Yes, my swing is still off by a millimeter – but, of course, I’m working on it with more determination than ever, as we all should if we’re serious about getting it right. See, I learned that the only difference between the best golfers in the world and the worst golfers in the world is a one millimeter positioning of the head of the club at the point of impact on the ball. That one millimeter at the point of impact dictates whether the ball soars down the fairway, onto the green, or veers off by dozens of yards, into the rough. It all comes down to trajectory, where a slight nuance at the beginning dictates a vastly different outcome.
And, so, in my romantic life, there are days when I’m still one millimeter off, still trying to make right and do right. However, through all sorts of practice – from counseling, to reading, to just taking good ol’ accountability – I keep working on my swing, trying to get that last millimeter right, my love life soaring consistently down the fairway, being both a worthy partner and worthy of a partner. As is the case for a lot of people, loving is easy for me, but feeling fully worthy of love has been the hard part – the last millimeter.
Why is it that truly feeling worthy of love – like hitting a silly, white ball in a straight line – can be so challenging? I mean, for me, I’ve learned at least some of the answers. I know that I started the whole romance thing at four millimeters off, having my parents as the worst coaches – read that, examples – in the world. I actually started in my late teens hitting the ball in the entirely wrong direction, dating emotional vacuums. But, after a few relationships and just wanting to do right by others and just be happy myself, I got better at it all, healthier at it all. But, never perfect. You might say I could keep the ball straighter, but the trajectory always landed me in the rough at the end. Was it my dysfunctions creeping in at the last minute, or just bad luck, a gust of wind that I couldn’t recover from?
And, that’s the baffling part of romantic relationships, isn’t it? When we think we’ve finally hit our best shot – where we strive to love with sincerity and vulnerability, and find love in return – we too often ultimately watch it inexplicably veer off course, saying to ourselves and those around us, Wait! I swear I’ve been working on myself, and gave it my best shot! This isn’t the direction it’s supposed to go! We sometimes want to throw our club in the air, and scream, OK, Lord, I give up – I’m moving into my studio condo in Vegas, getting a cat, and look forward to being the best single grandparent ever!
Yet, we can’t do that. See, the only time we lose in any aspect of life, including love, is when we give up. No, we shouldn’t throw our club in despair, and stomp off of the course. Rather, if we’re patient, someone, somewhere, at the right time, who’s truly compatible, will fall in love with us, accepting us for who we are – with our fully reciprocating – and together with her or him we’ll celebrate the victory of finding the literal sweet spot of life.
But, indeed, it’s the waiting for love that so many of us have struggled with at times in our lives, the right one to enter our lives, wholly, completely. I was recently discussing the topic of love with a spiritual force in my life, a woman wiser and more angelic than anyone I’ve ever known, and she spoke profound words: When the time is right, the right person will come into your life. Life is a waiting game. If we try to rush things, we often short change ourselves.
Similarly, musician and sage soul, Bob Marley, delivered among the most profound takes on love, one that resonates with the emotional availability and valuation that we should all have when we meet the one for us:
Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
― Bob Marley
And, so we should each just keep practicing at it all – learning and growing and loving, in a relationship or single or somewhere in-between – knowing that one day, at the right tee time, we’ll finally shave off that one millimeter blocking our well-formed swings, and all will soar in the direction we and our partners desire – a hole-in-one in life, love, and fulfillment.