So I think it's time that we stop this crazy habit of selective abstraction, over-exaggeration, and self-deprecation.
In fact, I think we have it all wrong -- maybe, rather than judging ourselves according to some arbitrary list of idealized characteristics, we should start seeing self-acceptance as a pre-cursor to every good thing this world has to offer, including a healthy and loving relationship.
I've noticed that a side effect of dating in midlife, particularly post-kids, far too often involves shining a flashlight on all of my perceived personality deficits and physical flaws.
When I'm not dating or in a relationship I tend to be just fine with the fact that I'm not a big party person, that I have no legitimate hobbies, that I'm not very outdoorsy (my favorite outdoor activity is coming back inside), that I've never run a marathon, or that my chin is too small.
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I know I'm not the only one who feels this way, as I've talked to many people, especially women just like me -- 50-something, empty-nested, divorced, and dating for the first time in years, who have admitted to similar feelings.
They over-focus on one trait, one characteristic, one mistake, one perceived physical flaw, as evidence that they don't quite measure up, don't quite belong, don't quite deserve, are "other than," and if this one trait, characteristic, mistake or flaw could just be fixed (or even well hidden), then their desirability would increase, and life would be just grand.
On that day it may have been my calves that served as a portal through which all of my "other-ness" manifested, but on another day it could just as easily been something else.
And for whatever reason dating in my 50s seems to have amplified these negative feelings.