Maybe it’s because, when it comes to movies, I’m of the international/art film variety, but I was never too keen on the 90s hit Jerry Maguire, especially after I realized how unhealthy the message is that it sends to women about true love. Remember the infamous line? “You complete me.” Yuck.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t always feel this way about sappy lines like that. Much like the single women who sighed when Tom Cruise sputtered those words at Renée, I was looking for a partner to “complete me” and it drove my dating life…into the ground. Time after time, I found myself powerfully attracted to men who offered me something I thought was missing, who filled a void I felt within myself, who made me feel “complete.” My particular Kryptonite was men with talent. If a guy had a spectacular skill, I was all over him. It took me 15 years of failed relationships to realize that my quest for completion was leading me in the opposite direction of my heart’s true match.
That’s because, deep down, I struggled to find my own talents—I was sure I had none. So I wasn’t actually attracted to my boyfriends’ talents; I was hooked on the subconscious sense that I had somehow stumbled upon that which I lacked. Turns out, I was taking a shortcut to self-love, using relationships to avoid addressing my insecurities. When I realized this, I stopped looking for talent in my partners and started seeking it within myself. Can you guess what happened? Yup. My creativity began to flow and I discovered that my talents had been hidden inside me all along. Suddenly, I didn’t need a record producer or a bestselling author on my arm, which is how I opened my heart and discovered the best, most fulfilling relationship of my life.
When I became a life coach, I vowed to debunk the Jerry Maguire myth that true love is about finding someone who “completes” you. Unless, of course, you’re talking about self-love. In that case, you’d be right to say “you complete me” to your beloved—because your beloved is you.
If you’re exhausted by searching—unsuccessfully–for your soulmate, you may want to ask yourself what is drawing you to the men you’re dating. Is it possible that you’re attracted to something in them that you wish you yourself possessed? Are you hopelessly hooked on the notion that you can live vicariously through what your perfect partner has—and you don’t?
Let me give you a little tip. Throw away your copy of Jerry Maguire. True love won’t complete you. You can do that yourself.