"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything"

I spent the early part of this refreshing Easter Sunday in church. What better place to celebrate, with loving adoration, the resurrection of our Lord?

There were fabulous talks given about various topics that were all extremely uplifting.
However, during one remarkable lecture on removing yourself from pride, I found an inspiring thought come to my mind.

I used to be an incredibly optimistic person. During my childhood and well into my high school years I had an unbridled optimism for life; although let me be quick to mention, it was an attitude of optimism fueled by ignorance.

Throughout college and due to a series of unfortunate events, I slowly began to lose that child like innocence, and found myself with a negative attitude in the middle of a pessimistic world.

By the time I moved to NYC, I was at my personal rock bottom. After spending 2 1/2 years in the city, I had lost my compassion for other people, my love for myself, and any optimism I once had. I was a realist (as New Yorkers like to call themselves) and did not want to be viewed as ignorant.

Since returning back to NC, and deciding to serve a mission I've felt the desire to have my optimism back. However, I always ended up thinking to myself 'how can you gain optimism through ignorance when you already have knowledge?'

Today in church this thought hit me like a ton of bricks. So much, in fact, that I had to scribble it down in my journal:

"It's time for me to find my optimism. Before I had optimism through ignorance which turned into pessimism with knowledge. How do I go about having knowledge and optimism? God."

The key to having a remarkable attitude and extreme knowledge of the world is through the grace of God. He will give me the strength to have the best of both worlds. He will help me to see the Eternal perspective. In short, I look forward to reaching a point where I can say I am an educated optimist.


The Target theory

After years of contemplating love in all it's definitive forms, i've come to the conclusion that I don't believe in soul mates. This doesn't stem from a negative 'down with love' ideal as most people suffer from. I have nothing but optimistic excitement for the future of my love life! However, it does stem from a few hypotheses that have proven themselves into one solid theory: The Target Theory.

This theory is based on the notion that if you take any two people in the world, and their sole purpose is to make a marriage work, they can have a successful marriage. (Successful meaning each is content in their relationship, and they remain married their entire lives). A lot of people have immediate problems with this beginning statement. However, the facts support it: " while divorce rates are between 40 and 50% in Canada and the US, arranged marriage statistics show us an average divorce rate of 4% " (1). Of course arranged marriages are mainly practiced in societies where divorce is forbidden, but the statistics are the same for US arranged marriages as well. Simply put- in most cases divorce stems from a selfish partner. Any two people can make a relationship work if it's their mutual number one goal.

A target (as seen above) starts off with one big circle. As you continue further into the target, the circles become smaller, until reaching the smallest circle in the middle.

I am a firm believer that the closer you are to your 'best self' (the innermost circle on the Target) the better mate you will attract.

The outer circle represents you as your adequate self. In the three basic realms of your identity (physical, mental and spiritual) you are extremely out of touch. The outer circle also represents about 20 people who you could meet, fall in love with, and have a successful marriage with. Those 20 people are in the same position you are; they are adequately living their lives and not reaching their full potential. Will it feel like your soul mate? No. Do I know dozens of people who have these marriages? Yes.

The next circle inward represents the 'fair' you. This is a more improved version of yourself than the last circle, but you have in no way mastered your physical, mental or spiritual self. Because you are better, the amount of people who will meet in this group shrinks to about 15. Your marriage will be a little more fulfilling than those in the outer circle, because both you and your spouse are putting a little more effort into your lives.

The next circle inward represents the 'better' you. You've mastered one of the three aspects. Perhaps you are extremely spiritually connected to God, or you are in peak physical shape or you are at the top of your scholarly game. However- you've only mastered one. You are still lacking in the other two areas. Due to the fact that you are better than the last circle, the group shrinks to about 10 people. There are 10 people in this world that are on the same track as you, and your marriage will be delightful, but still difficult.

The second to last circle in, you've mastered two of the three things, and there are about 5 people that match you in the world. You and your spouse connect on several different levels, but there are still things that feel less than perfect.

The last and smallest circle represents you at your full potential. You are consistently working on being your absolute best self, and because you are doing that, you will only allow yourself to end up with someone who is striving for the same things you are. The kind of love you have will feel like soul mates, because you not only love yourself, but you love God, and can in return love unconditionally- so can your partner. There are only 2-3 people in the world that match you at this particular blissful point. I have met a few couples like this in my life and they still seem madly in love even after 30 years of marriage They keep growing towards their better selves together.

We have control over our destiny, and I believe that who we end up with, is a direct reflection of how well we are doing in our own lives.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule and theory- i'm sure there are many exceptions to this one as well. All I know, is that I want to reach the point where I am close to my best self before I meet the man that I will spend the rest of my life with. I won't settle for anything less.

1. http://www.everythingengagement.com/arranged-marriage-statistics.html