Relationships 101: Are You A Reacher?

Think you're not the type who settles for Mr. Pwede Na? Think again. You might be falling into another relationship pitfall: being "The Reacher."

Up until recently, you were happily “settled” in your relationship: comfortable, nestled, and satisfied…or were you?

Suddenly, after stumbling upon last week’s column, you began to question your so-called perfect relationship--simply because you never thought you’d consider yourself as The Settler. But now that you have an idea what a Settler is, this week we'll delve into its alter ego: The Reacher.

If the Settler is the one who “takes what they can get” out of the relationship, the Reacher is believed to be the one who tries to attain those who may or may not be “out of their league.” Still don’t get it? You may also recognize them as the “modelizers,” “social climbers,” or “gold diggers.” You get the drift? These people feed on others and mask their low self-esteem by allowing themselves to be defined by who they’re dating, a.k.a., their trophy boyfriends/husbands! (Who are they kidding, really?)

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Reachers believe that if they date someone who is supposedly more interesting, smarter, richer, more popular, much older or way younger, more attractive, of higher social stature, or the like, then they too must be just as interesting or has it going on in the eyes of others.

Sounds familiar? By now you must’ve figured out whether you’re a Settler or a Reacher. Remember, both vary in degrees. Many may even think they’re neither because the tell-tale signs are often too sneaky. If you think about it, the Reacher, in the end, also becomes a Settler. Why? They may have gotten the prestige, bigger closet, envy of others, and more, but ARE THEY SINCERELY HAPPY? Both parties actually sacrifice their ultimate happiness in either of two ways:

1. Settlers believe they don’t deserve ultimate happiness while Reachers think they can do without it.

2. Both rely heavily on what others think of them rather than what they think of themselves.

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The bottom line is, whether you’re a Settler or a Reacher, there is only one underlying cause of such a relationship syndrome: low self-esteem.

Yup, you read that right. Insecurity or low self-esteem is in EVERYONE. Even the person with the highest self-esteem will always have insecurities. However, putting it in a positive light, insecurities are actually what make us human. It can either be the catalyst for us to excel and get past them or the decaying backbone that tries to spread the virus to anyone they can get their hands on. Just take a look at blogs in cyberspace! Some choose to use their voice to condemn while others use it to uplift others.

Insecurity is like a snake’s venom. It can kill but it can also be its own anti-venom. Hence, use your insecurities to YOUR ADVANTAGE. The CHOICE IS UP TO YOU.

Although this may be a bit lengthy, this is worth the read, ladies! Get ready for some exercises you SHOULD try to help ease you out of the gutter.

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  1. According to retired cardiac nurse and journalist Shelley Adams, “Low self-esteem almost always starts in childhood. Low self-esteem combines beliefs with emotions. As a person believes she is not worthy, she experiences the emotions that those beliefs inflict.” These could be depression, self-loathing, eating disorders, staying in an abusive relationship, suicidal tendencies, and more.

    So ask yourself, did you ever go through experiences such as abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical), sibling rivalry, or always being compared to others? Once you recollect such memories, it’ll help you get closure and come to terms with your past, which is vital in the healing process.

  2. Although it may seem utterly difficult and you might feel like a moth drawn to a flame, avoid too much reading, watching, or being too influenced by what is shown by the media! As relationship expert Evan Marc Katz puts it, “…you will notice that our society is based on making you feel unhappy and unsatisfied about almost everything…unsatisfied with the way you look, with what you have, with what you eat, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, etc.”

    He adds, “Satisfied people spend less so the more unsatisfied you are, the more you will dig into that pocket to spend. So if you are looking to have a satisfying relationship, then it’s high time you stopped looking to society to dictate to you what a perfect relationship is. You have to decide what’s perfect for you.”

  3. Rather than holding a pity party or focusing on what others have that you don’t, do something productive. What are you good at? Cooking, sewing, organizing, or perhaps something even more random? For as long as it’s positive--and not self-destructive like over-spending (which feeds our need to improve our so-called lack of better things: refer to #2), pouring out our frustration by making others' lives miserable, or substance abuse such as binge drinking--then you’re on the right track. Success, even in small tasks, can help anyone feel good about themselves.

  4. Venting depression, anger, resentment, and more CAN BE positive if done in a PROACTIVE, rather than REACTIVE, way. Write it all in a journal, paint it on canvas, or sculpt that pain into a work of art. Almost all works of art are products of emotions, BOTH good and bad. This’ll even help you discover untapped talents you may or may not have.

    In an MTV interview, Sheryl Crow confessed that as much as her song “Strong Enough” may have deep underlying meanings to many, it was really just a song she wrote in 15 minutes about a woman going through PMS! It reached Number Five on the Billboard 100!

  5. If you can’t vent it through art then do it the old-fashioned way: EXERCISE! Yes, we know, that sucks! Well, not so much, actually, because exercising releases our bodies’ “happy hormones,” a.k.a. endorphins, which easily put us in a good mood and disposition. It also leaves us feeling gratified that we’ve shed unwanted calories while shedding dreaded emotional distress!

  6. Be selfish! When it comes to meeting the right one, prioritize YOUR feelings over those of others! What are your emotional needs? What makes you feel satisfied? No one will ever invest in those who don’t invest in themselves. Stop focusing on what you don’t have and focus on what you DO have that others don’t. We are all unique, so just focus on the positive side of everything.

  7. BE POSITIVE in mind and heart and proclaim it! Scientifically speaking, though opposites attract, like also needs like. Oftentimes, we don’t realize that people seek out people who are no good for them because that's what fits their own self image. Misery loves company, and they are reinforcing their own feelings about themselves.

    But there’s much hope! The Mayo Clinic Studies on Self-Esteem states that “your own thoughts have perhaps the biggest impact on self-esteem--and they are one aspect of self-esteem that you can control. With techniques such as cognitive behavior training (positive thinking), you can learn to reframe negative thinking and self-talk and to correct misperceptions that lead you to focus on your weaknesses or flaws.”

  8. Lastly, KNOW YOURSELF. Until you learn to stop comparing yourself to others or to stop thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side, you will never, ever evolve as a person. Knowing yourself means that you are willing to discover who you are as a person, for your own IMPROVEMENT. Don't be too hard on yourself and give up altogether, though. Getting to the root of any problem is the way to individual success, both inside and out.

Now, how do you truly feel about yourself? Stop to think about this before you consider the feelings of your loved ones.

When you have much love for yourself, this will lead to the full experience of giving true love and being REALLY loved in return, without pretensions or hesitations.

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