Kelly Clarkson has this song called ‘Dark Side’ that I really love. It’s not as well known as some of her other hits but I think it has a lot of truth to it.
The gist of the song is that we all have a ‘dark side’ and she wonders if we can be loved despite that.
“Everybody’s got a dark side, do you love me? Can you love mine? Nobody is picture perfect, but we’re worth it, you know that we’re worth it.”
I think there’s this subconscious myth out there that in order for us single people to meet someone and have it work out, we are required to have it all together.
Emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically we have to be ‘good enough’.
We are told by well-meaning individuals to use this time to work on ourselves.
Accomplished, in shape, out of debt, well-traveled, an excellent cook…there’s a long litany of things we can (and ‘should’) achieve during our singlehood. Until then we are vastly insufficient, which is why Mr. Wonderful is nowhere to be found.
Okay so yeah, I think self-improvement is a good thing – scratch that – an essential thing.
Isn’t the point of life pretty much to be a better person day in and day out?
What I would like to challenge is this misconception that you’re single because you’re not good enough…You need this time to become better. Everyone else has already obediently achieved perfection (gee, what’s taking you so long?).
Not so, you want to use this time to become better. And all the time – even long after the right person has wandered into your life (took them long enough!).
No matter how hard you work right now on yourself, you will never be “done”.
Kelly Clarkson knew what she was talking about when she said we all have a dark side.
Insecurities that run as deep as our blood, hurts that still sting, jealousy, greed, vanity, selfish tendencies…these are vices we will be fighting our whole lives. And as soon as we feel we’ve improved in one area, ten other places that need some help will make themselves evident.
In fact, I believe that a lot of our “garbage” isn’t even apparent until someone tries to get a little too close. Struggles we didn’t even know we had come out of nowhere and slap us across the face as someone attempts to know us intimately.
Yes, we should certainly and continually strive for self-improvement – but this isn’t what makes us lovable or worthy of being in a relationship.
We’re already there, friends.
The question isn’t, ‘are we good enough?’ The question is the one KC poses: “Can you love me, even with my dark side?”
Sometimes the answer will be ‘no’, and that’s okay; it is heartbreaking and devastating too, I know. However dating is a discernment, and the question of ‘can I carry this person’s wounds?’ is one much better asked before marriage than after.
We only need one person to say this for the rest of our lives.
We all deserve to be with someone who will see us – brokenness and all – and say:
“this is my kind of broken.”
There are wounds that take a lifetime to heal, bad habits that we are perpetually ridding ourselves of.
The right person won’t ‘fix’ us, they will support and understand our journey toward healing and growth.
We have a responsibility to work on ourselves, to try and try and try again even if we fail 100 times before seeing a minuscule amount of progress. But this responsibility doesn’t go away once we are in a committed relationship – if anything it increases since we now want to be better not only for our own sake but for this person so dear to us.
You are not single because you need to work on yourself; you need to work on yourself, that’s it.
And, so does the person you date/marry.
The beautiful thing is that we are lovable right now, in our brokenness. And for the right person, we will be the right kind of broken (as odd as that may sound).
I know that there is so much that I want to work on, my dark side is dark. I also know that doesn’t stop me from being able to be loved and known intimately.
“Love is never defeated”
Saint John Paul the Great
Love, love and keep loving