The person you really need to marry | Tracy McMillan | TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen
100 Comments


Translator: Nadine Hennig
Reviewer: Ilze Garda 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)

100 thoughts on “The person you really need to marry | Tracy McMillan | TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen

  1. "…I got out of childhood with the goal of never being left alone…". After so many years, this is the first time that someone who doesn't even know me, summarized my life in just one sentence and broke me down into tears. The more I watch this video again and again, the more I appreciate it. One of the best videos I came across in youtube.

  2. ركز على شعورك الداخلي أولا و ليس على "هل أُعجب بي هذا الشخص"

  3. When people say "just do you, just be yourself, just work on yourself" they make it sound like you have to pause your life and distance yourself from others to accomplish that. In reality, you never stop working on yourself. Even when you're unaware of it, you are always changing as a person. You're always "working on yourself." There won't be a time in your life that you wont be working on yourself.

  4. How many times have we seen this scenario? Three ex hubbies, stays with them a few years then takes them for half of everything . Typical shallow self centered simple minded Gold digger.

  5. Wonderful talk… She's beautiful too… you don't look like what you've been through and that conveys the message even more. I'm so inspired!

  6. It is funny how she still tries explain that it is the man`s problem whilst 3 times divorced (she said 'the right person').

  7. After I watched this and seriously thought about it, I realized that a some of what I have done in my life to hurt others and neglecting myself has made me very sad. I have a hard time completely accepting a person like that if I was outside looking in. I don't know how to accept all of me.

  8. thought experiment: replace this woman with a man, same resume. Do you still think you would feel positively about the message shared? If the answer is no, you're a sexist. :O This woman has no business being paid to speak on how to make relationships work. She's terrible at it.

  9. Meeting a woman with the most profound abandonment issues of anyone I had ever met led me to understand that I too had very deep abandonment issues, afterall, how can you have abandonment issues when you had a mother and father? Understanding this finally got me on the path to healing. And finding the NPD healing community on YouTube literally saved my mental health, and my life.

  10. I also had several bad relationships. At first, I was in denial that I was, the problem. And later, I pondered on and finally accepted that those endings also had to do with me. And the matter was, I didn't know how to accept myself, my flaws and so on. At this moment, I'm single and working on my self love first before I enter annew relationship again. 🙂 Thank you to this wonderful speech. ❤️

  11. Ну, как говорится, если хочешь чтобы что-то получилось хорошо, сделай это самостоятельно =)

  12. What a beautiful light to come from such a dark beginning. l love that she never stopped taking a chance on love but embraces herself as a true soul mate, that is really a testament to becoming better rather than bitter. This was so relatable and she is so powerfully vulnerable, brought tears to my eyes.

  13. I am not sure why she talks about some kind of comfort that she did on herself, when she was the one who left her 2 husbands and well the third one screwed up, but still… she's not saying what her real struggle was… so I'm confused

  14. This female is an EXCELLENT example of why men should never marry. She has ruined the lives of many men because men let her do it. Don't ever get married or live with a female. The only thing a female can offer a man is a 75% chance she will ruin his life and she is proof positive.

  15. even when she's trying to sound positive about former relationships, it's like her main goal in order to make her past a success, is still finding "mister right". Why not work on yourself to make your past a success you can use and maybe you will be awesome with someone, maybe you will be awesome by yourself.

  16. so her advice qas to marry yourself? wtf is wrong with this woman, I know now why she has been divorced so manyvtimes

  17. Bahahahaha she marries herself because she's past her expiration date for anyone else, and self-centeredness is what she has really always wanted, good luck dying alone without ever having any real connections.

  18. What a CROCK!!! I really hope NOBODY takes her advice. This woman will never have a successful marriage. She is seriously damaged.

  19. Self love will transform your life in ways you never thought. You will make better choices, feel less guilt for sayin g"NO" to things you don't want to do and not be in such a hurry to be in a relationship or invite unsuitable friends and/or sitiuations into your life. It takes time, though, and patience is not something that many of us have when it comes to changing ourselves and our lives.

  20. There is no "i" or "me" in the word "Love". Love is selfless…
    If you are self-centred you will NOT experience love. Questions you have to answer to self is am I self-centred and is the person I am seeing self-centred?

  21. Is everyone gonna ignore the fact this woman ruined like 4 people’s lives, but it’s all ok because she loves herself now?

  22. Why would one take life advice from a failure? In another ten years she will fail again and have another theory. She is 100% wrong.

  23. "Okay, listen up everyone, I've been married multiple times so I am going to teach you how to pick a mate." sweet mother of God, give me strength.

  24. I'd be happy to be Tracy's 5th husband. She's smart and gorgeous and has experience that is very important to me.

  25. Oh slow down we’re not married but we’re dating! I agree marry yourself that’s what you need to do is bury yourself and be with yourself and love yourself!

  26. Hey wait a bit! Something just clicked: It wasn't me who stuffed up my life and I didn't deserve it! Of course I deserve the right to vent my outrage at my control freaks! I HAVE value! And even if the world destroys my body and even my life, I will NOT let them claim my soul also! Screw them! Forgiveness is one thing, but these people don't get to be forgiven before they leave me alone! And hey, if I never find the lady I loved and lost 2 years ago, that means she doesn't want to be found. Her loss! I gotta take care of me now. If she finds me, I will hear her out, and weigh up her stories or excuses, pray carefully, and then decide whether she's worth it. There is a remote possibility that someone took her away before I told her what I was feeling. And anyway, if I learn to love self by now, and if she does the same, maybe then we will no longer fear each other anymore!

  27. Tracy; have you been introduced to Boom Shikha's INFJ group! To me you sound like an INFJ who is not told about her qualities yet.

  28. I am at my lowest point in my life and about to get my lights shut off because I can't pay my electricity bill. I have a 3 year old son. I am so broken I don't know what to do. Leaving my son's father left me in crumbles. Emotionally and financially.
    She gives me hope that one day I can love myself like she does. We have similar paths… I had a tragic childhood and I too got with guy #1 who cheated on me with hundreds (literally hundreds) of people (men). Yeah, seriously. On top of that he was abusive. But he wanted me, and like she said, our childhoods taught us to hook into that guy that will give us "love". My heart is still so entwined in love for him, I would give anything to take all that love and give it to myself.
    For better or for worse resonates with me because like I said I am so poor and unable to work and receive no child support.
    "IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH" also struck a chord, because I have been battling an unknown and debilitating chronic illness which the doctors havent been able to diagnose that is so painful and makes me miss so much school that now I lost my scholarship and had to drop out of school.
    I am praying for a miracle. I hope she has more material I could read because I need to learn how to marry myself and to love myself or I do not see how I will get out of this.

  29. Who used the JACOBFIFTH77GMAILCOM remote spying application?
    I am in tears as I just found out my husband has been chatting with younger women he met on tinder and Facebook.

  30. Same here, using the JACOBFIFTH77GMAILCOM spying app opened my eyes to a lot of things going on under my nose at home.

  31. I'm just now seeing this and I can relate on so many levels. Never been married but I would get into relationships hoping I would be happier than I was when I was single. She's gonna touch so many ppl with this video. More ppl need to hear this. Thank you for sharing. 🙏

  32. I really hope your date worked out Tracy….but if it didn't…my relationship with me would like to get with your relationship with you <3

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