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  • michelle m. davis

I Complete Me

Maybe my husband and I are feeling a bit nostalgic … or perhaps we’re just tired of endlessly surfing Netflix … but this month, we’ve decided to revisit some of our favorite movies. In the past, we’ve focused on specific series, such as Harry Potter or Star Wars. However, this year we’re picking movies based on the actors. Last Friday night’s choice was Jerry Maguire. A huge Tom Cruise fan, I smiled as I grabbed a glass of wine then settled onto the sofa and wrapped a blanket around me. I couldn’t wait to rewatch one of my all-time favorites.

Cheering on Dorothy Boyd as she leaves her secure job to follow Jerry Maguire out of their office—because she was inspired by his mission statement—I sigh, well aware where this is headed. Jerry’s going to cross the work/relationship line with Dorothy and subsequently “shoplift the pootie” from a single mom (Rod Tidwell’s words, not mine). Yet, because I’ve seen this movie at least twenty times, my heart softens as the ending nears. Instead of staying to celebrate Rod’s biggest game ever, Jerry rushes back to his soon to be ex-wife because he finally realizes he not only loves her son, but he also loves her. When Jerry arrives at Dorothy’s sister’s house, he walks into a roomful of somewhat cynical divorced women and says …

Jerry: Hello? Hello. I'm lookin' for my wife. Wait. Okay...okay...okay. If this is where it has to happen, then this is where it has to happen.

I'm not letting you get rid of me. How about that?

This used to be my specialty. You know, I was good in a living room. They'd send me in there, and I'd do it alone. And now I just...

But tonight, our little project, our company had a very big night -- a very, very big night. But it wasn't complete, wasn't nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete, because I couldn't share it with you. I couldn't hear your voice or laugh about it with you. I miss my -- I miss my wife.

We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You -- complete me. And I just had --

Dorothy: Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. You had me at hello.

I admit, I’m a sucker for the above scene. For years, the idea of this man feeling incomplete without this woman … who loves him for the man he could be but isn’t yet … spurred my idea of true love. Jerry Maguire needed Dorothy Boyd … she completed him. And wasn’t that what we all wanted … someone to complete us?

But is that what’s best? Why should we need another person to make us feel complete? Aren’t we already whole?

Whether in a romantic or platonic relationship, needing someone to complete a missing part of us creates an attachment. This isn’t wrong, but it does suggest a dependency exists—a feeling that without the other person, we are not enough.

I’ve certainly had my share of attachments—not only with guys I’ve dated, but also with friends. Looking back, I’m not so sure I truly accepted the other people for who they were. And no doubt I failed to show up as my true self, feeling compelled to play certain roles … to please or be accepted. Maybe that’s why those relationships turned south. I was missing a piece of myself, and I believed someone else had the power to complete me. Perhaps they were hoping I’d do the same for them.

Because I still had a lot of growing to do—to figure out who I was—I lacked the ability to fully bond as my authentic self. Forming attachments was easier than finding connections. However, during the process of discovering myself, I learned the difference between the two. Instead of attachment, I now seek connection.

Connection is pure … raw … honest … real. It’s unconditional, committed, forgiving, and patient. Supporting the other while allowing independence, “connected” friendships aren’t embedded in duty, need, or responsibility. Instead, they’re about enjoying time together, creating memories, and helping each other become his or her highest self. Some connections are grounded in similar belief systems, interests, or passions. Yet, others are formed from an unidentifiable quirky association. There’s just something about the person … you find them interesting, amusing or maybe even inspiring.

Conversely, attachments are conditional … disappointing … complicated … hard work. There are strings attached, energetic cords which bind you to another. And when we consciously or unconsciously become unable or unwilling to fulfill our part of “the contract,” blame, guilt, or shame show up. And we all know how that ends.

Last Saturday, my yoga teacher discussed how being on our mat can illuminate the attachments we experience both during our practice and in our life. While in poses, these attachments—or needs—can become overwhelming, causing us to lose our focus, balance, or breath.

This made me think. How many times have attachments interrupted my yoga practice? Perhaps I had an itch. Or maybe the person next to me was sweating … a lot. Then I remembered the ant, crawling across my mat. I couldn’t decide whether to let it alone or help it to the other side.

Yet, then I went deeper, wondering how our life attachments cause us to hold our breath, wobble, or even fall. Whether this is an unfulfilling job, a failed partnership, or a friendship that survived well past its expiration date, there were definitely moments in my past where I fell out of alignment … and instead found myself bound by attachment.

That’s why I value connection with others. When I’m connected, there’s synchronicity, a flow with enough space for freedom of choice. Whether someone’s a close friend or a casual acquaintance, having a true connection promotes honest and aligned interactions. Sure, we may rely on each other now and then, but we don’t strive to please or compete to garner attention. And if it becomes time to go our separate ways, we can … free from remorse because our relationship was based on truth, sincerity, and care … not unhealthy attachments.

The beauty of transitioning from attachment to connection is that we no longer look to others to complete us. That’s our job … we must figure out our missing pieces. Friends and partners can certainly help us on our path, but they are not responsible for our arrival. The journey is ours and ours alone to complete.

Understanding this truth not only helped me become more authentic in my relationships, but it also taught me a valuable lesson … when we believe we are complete and show up as our true selves, we attract authentic people into our lives because we no longer require anything from them. By releasing expectations and meeting people where they are as they are … without conditions or requirements of who they must be … we form true bonds, free from attachment.

The friends I have the deepest connections with are those I can call anytime. They’ll be there to listen. It may be months, or even years, since we’ve last talked, but that doesn’t matter. We accept each other’s strengths, challenges, tendencies, and eccentricities … we get one another.

Cherish the relationships built on connection. And maybe reconsider those based on attachment. This is not to suggest that you end those friendships, but you might look to ways to shift the foundation. Give it a try and see what happens. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

“Learn the difference between connection and attachment. Connection gives you power,

attachments sucks the life out of you.”—Author unknown


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