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  • When I was growing up, there was this song we used to sing on the playground,

  • and it went like this,

  • "Tracy and so and so, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g,

  • first comes love, then comes marriage,

  • then comes baby in a baby carriage."

  • And I'm like,

  • "OK, that's it! That's how you do life. That's how you do a relationship.

  • Love, marriage, baby carriage. OK, got it!

  • (Laughter)

  • Then I grew up, and this is what my life turned out to be.

  • (Laughter)

  • Slightly more complicated, right? (Laughter)

  • Love, marriage, divorce, dry spells, love, marriage,

  • co-parenting, another marriage, another divorce;

  • you got the picture.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • So if you're good at math and/or a fast reader, what you've got there

  • is that I've been married three times.

  • Yep, three, and divorced.

  • What that is supposed to mean is that I'm a total failure at relationships.

  • And that is one way to look at it, but not the only way.

  • Because what I think really happened is that I kept marrying the wrong person.

  • No, it's not that I didn't-- it's not that I chose bad guys.

  • My first two husbands were amazing men

  • who are now married to wonderful women who aren't me.

  • (Laughter)

  • And my third husband, well, we're friends on Facebook now.

  • So, all is well that ends well, right?

  • After the collapse of my third marriage in 2005,

  • I realized that I've been marrying everyone in sight,

  • except the one person that I really needed to marry

  • in order to have a great relationship

  • and that once I married that person,

  • all of my relationships would be successes, even the failures.

  • The so-called failures, actually.

  • Since we're talking today about women inventing,

  • I'm going to talk about inventing relationships.

  • What I've found through a lot of trial and obviously, many, many, many errors,

  • to be the thing that has transformed my life and love,

  • and that is this idea of marrying yourself.

  • So what does it mean to marry yourself?

  • It's a big idea.

  • It is as big as marriage itself except, if I could just summarize it,

  • it would be that you enter into a relationship with yourself

  • and then you put a ring on it.

  • (Laughter)

  • In other words, you commit to yourself fully.

  • And then you build a relationship with yourself

  • to the point where you realize that you're whole right now,

  • that there is no man, woman, job, circumstance that can happen to you

  • that is going to make you more whole because you already are.

  • And this changes your life.

  • By now, I'm sure at least some of you are wondering

  • why you should be listening to a three-time divorcee

  • talk about marriage?

  • (Laughter)

  • Even to herself. And I understand that.

  • Here's what I have to say about that:

  • what I've learned and my experience is

  • that the places where you have the biggest challenges in your life

  • become the places where you have the most to give

  • if you do your inner work.

  • I kind of want to say that again:

  • the places where you have the biggest challenges

  • are the places where you have the most to give.

  • So let me tell you a little bit about the person I truly needed to marry:

  • myself.

  • I am from Minneapolis. Wooh!

  • (Laughter)

  • My mom was a prostitute and an alcoholic.

  • She put me in foster care when I was three months old.

  • My dad was a criminal;

  • he was a drug dealer and a pimp with a heart of gold

  • - actually, they both had hearts of gold -

  • and he spent more or less my whole life in prison.

  • He just got out of prison after his most recent sentence

  • which was 20 years.

  • Until the age of nine, I was probably in two dozen foster homes.

  • The thing you need to know about this story

  • - there are a lot of details, obviously - but the thing you need to know

  • is that I came out of that childhood with one goal: to never be left.

  • The way I was going to do that is that I was going to get married.

  • That was the way I was going to accomplish that goal.

  • So I got married the first time to a guy I met when I was 17.

  • We got married a couple of years later, when I was 19.

  • He was a really good guy from a great family, he had an MBA.

  • I mean, it was like, you know, marriage material.

  • You know, I was thrilled.

  • I was like, "I have a family. I belong somewhere. This is wonderful."

  • And then after five years I left him.

  • Then ten years later, I got married again to another wonderful guy,

  • who is the father of my now 16-years-old son.

  • We still have a wonderful relationship. He is a really good guy.

  • But after four years I left him, too.

  • And I am not proud to say that I did that, but in order to really marry yourself,

  • you have to get sometimes very painfully honest with yourself

  • about what it is that you've done.

  • So I'm not proud of that.

  • Then eight years later, I got married again, when I was 40,

  • and I was like, "OK, this feels right!"

  • Let me tell you what felt right to a girl who was in 24 foster homes:

  • a guy who started to date after nine months of marriage;

  • essentially, he started dating a 21-year-old girl.

  • OK, I mean, it would be funny, if it weren't so tragic.

  • You have to have a sense of... that is why we're Facebook friends.

  • So, here I am looking at this person that I just described

  • with a terrible track record of relationships,

  • and I'm like, "I'm supposed to marry her?

  • This is the woman you want me to marry?"

  • And the answer is yes.

  • Because here is the deal:

  • the thing about marrying yourself is not just like cohabitating.

  • You're not just going to date for a while and see how it turns out.

  • You are going to do this till death do you part.

  • You are going to take vows.

  • So here are the vows.

  • Number 1:

  • you are going to marry yourself for richer or for poorer.

  • This means you are going to love yourself right where you are.

  • You don't say to yourself, "When you get to the corner of Hollywood and Vine,

  • then I will marry you."

  • You don't say, "When you lose ten pounds, then I will love you."

  • And you don't say, "If you hadn't married that loser, I would love you,

  • but since you did, I'm sorry, I think it's over."

  • When you marry yourself, you walk yourself down that aisle

  • exactly where you are.

  • And paradoxically, I found that loving myself exactly where I am

  • is the only way to get where I am going.

  • Number 2:

  • you are going to marry yourself for better or for worse.

  • What this means is that most of us are willing to love ourselves for better,

  • I mean, sure, I am having a great hair day today.

  • I love me.

  • (Laughter)

  • That's not what I am talking about.

  • I'm talking about for worse, you know, the big life disappointments.

  • Maybe you don't own a home, you didn't get the career you wanted,

  • maybe you didn't graduate from college, or get the relationship you wanted.

  • Maybe it hasn't turned out-- maybe you fight with your mum,

  • maybe you watch too much reality TV,

  • whatever it is, it doesn't matter anymore.

  • Because when you marry yourself, you agree to stay with you no matter what.

  • Third,

  • you marry yourself in sickness and in health.

  • What this means is that you forgive yourself for your mistakes.

  • A mistake isn't actually a failure unless you don't learn from it

  • and unless you don't grow.

  • There is a saying, "You ask for patience, and what you get is a line at the bank."

  • (Laughter)

  • What that means is that life does not give you what you've asked for,

  • it gives you the people, places, and situations

  • that allow you to develop what you ask for.

  • And the thing is if you don't get it right the first time,

  • life will give it to you again.

  • (Laughter)

  • Because life is very generous that way.

  • It's like I didn't get it the first time, in the first marriage,

  • and I didn't get it the second time, maybe the third time I'll get it.

  • So inside that terrible experience of that third marriage,

  • I learned something about "in sickness and in health".

  • What I learned is how to sit by my own bedside,

  • and how to hold my own hand, and how to nurse myself,

  • and how to comfort myself.

  • What I learned is that I am a person that I can count on.

  • Last but not least, you marry yourself--

  • when you marry yourself, it's to have and to hold yourself.

  • What does it mean to have and to hold?

  • Well, I think it means that you love yourself

  • the way you want someone else to love you.

  • I had always been going through life with this sense of lack.

  • I felt like I was kind of half a person, and that I was missing something.

  • I went into my relationships

  • hoping to solve this feeling that I had my entire life:

  • that I was not whole unless someone loved me.

  • The truth was

  • that I wasn't ever going to feel whole until I learned to love myself.

  • So this business of marrying yourself transforms every area of your life:

  • your business, family relationships, kids, social relationships, friends.

  • Because when you marry yourself, this huge thing happens:

  • you become able to love in this whole new way.

  • You become able to love other people right where they are, for who they are,

  • the same way you're already loving yourself.

  • And of course, this is what the world needs more of.

  • So when I married myself, and I realized that I already had everything I needed,

  • I started seeing it as my job

  • to basically just light up my little corner of the world.

  • That's my new job.

  • Because I don't need anything, I already have it.

  • So when I take meetings,

  • it's all about how can I help this person achieve her goal?

  • When I'm in my social communities,

  • it is like what can I bring to this that only I can bring?

  • When I go on dates,

  • it is like how can I just discover another person maybe for just one hour

  • which, of course, brings me a full circle.

  • Because people always asked me about my love life; they want to know.

  • (Laughter)

  • You know, the answer is, I am still working on it.

  • Aren't we all?

  • So this is where I am right now.

  • About three months ago, I went on a first date.

  • About 30 minutes into the date, I found myself paying attention

  • not to whether he liked me, but how I felt in his presence.

  • I noticed that I was light, happy, joking.

  • As I reflected on the date afterwards, I was like, "Wow, I got really excited!

  • Look, this is how committed I am to myself."

  • I am not even on this date trying to get someone to like me.

  • I am more interested in how I feel about me than how he feels about me,

  • not because I am selfish, but because the only relationship

  • I am ever going to have with another person

  • is the one that I am already having with myself -

  • just going to have it with them now.

  • So it turned out he liked me, and we are still together.

  • It's cool and amazing, but I've been married three times,

  • so slow down!

  • (Laughter)

  • The thing is that I am not trying to get security from him through marriage,

  • and, God forbid, a baby carriage.

  • I am only here to just be in a relationship.

  • I am not dying to hear the words, "Will you marry me?"

  • Because even though those words are very powerful

  • - and very powerful to a person like me -

  • I don't need them to hear it from him

  • because I have already heard them from myself.

  • The way I see it is like I took myself to the top of a mountain,

  • or maybe to the bottom of the ocean,

  • and I got down on one knee, and I said, "I'll never leave you."

  • And now I am married to the one person I really wanted to be with all along,

  • myself.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

When I was growing up, there was this song we used to sing on the playground,

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TEDx】本当に結婚しなければならない人|トレイシー・マクミラン|TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen (【TEDx】The person you really need to marry | Tracy McMillan | TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen)

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