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Searching for 1

by Rachna Khare, Daya Executive Director

This morning over coffee I thought about the number 1. It should be the easiest number. We learn it first, it makes for the easiest math problems, it’s simple and uncomplicated. Or is it?

Is “1 the loneliest number” like people sang in the 60’s?

Do “2 become 1” like the Spice Girls crooned in the 90’s?

Or is Beyonce correct in belting “me, myself and I” is all we have in the end?

This clearly isn’t as simple as 1+1 = 2.

Daya has faced conflicting assumptions about our beliefs on independence vs coupledom. We’ve been called too progressive and also too traditional. We’ve been simultaneously chided and celebrated for being feminists. How can we promote independence while also celebrating healthy relationships?

The truth is we don’t have to choose just 1.

I recently finished Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman Is in Trouble. Five sentences gave me a punch to the gut.

“I hadn't understood (marriage) would never reconcile with who I was, which was a free and independent person. I'd taken all my freedom and independence and pushed them across the poker table and said (to my fiance), here, take my jackpot. Take it all. I don't need it anymore. I won't miss it ever.”

This is the risk of searching only for “the 1”.

We are all dynamic, complex, and flawed individuals. You are more than 1 thing, which is why 1 person cannot complete you and why you deserve more than just 1 type of love.

With a mindset of abundance we can equally honor the power of independence and the joy of love. We do this by centering our “me” and growing our “we”. We secure our autonomy while also spreading love to our partner, friends, family, children, pets, colleagues, causes, hobbies, and community. Our list goes far beyond 1.

On this Valentine’s Day, whether you are 1, with another 1, or among multiple 1’s, remember this about true and healthy love: As you spread it, you not only get to keep it, but you get to watch it grow.

Don’t try to do the math. Instead, you’ll see that love is simultaneously singular and endless.

We create full lives by taking care of our many precious relationships, especially and most importantly the 1 we have with ourselves. And this love, the kind we show ourselves, is the most courageous kind…more on that soon.

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