This post was written by Liberty @ dailyinspirationforyou.com
I was having a chat recently with a very good friend. She was lamenting the fact that she’d found herself falling head over heels yet again for a man. Setting out to just keep it light and casual proved impossible and wham! – she’s thinking about him all the time, wondering what he’s doing and what does it mean that he sends a text at this time every day and what does it mean that he didn’t send one on that day and maybe I oughta back off but what if he thinks I’m not interested and what if he’s scared and gonna disappear and maybe I oughta tell him how I feel just in case he thinks I don’t like him but no he should be the one to make the first move and I can’t focus on my work any more I keep thinking about him and will I see him tonight and maybe I should just be unavailable and make him miss me but what if he doesn’t miss me so maybe I should see him if he asks but what if he doesn’t ask and oh I really wanna see him and I wonder if he’ll be with the guys on his day off or maybe he’ll spend it with me but what if he doesn’t and — (*GASP!!* FOR PETE’S SAKE, GIRL, wouldja just BREATHE???)
After I’d lovingly smacked her upside the head (as much as one can anyway, from thousands of miles away on the phone), she asked, “Why do I get like this???!!” I told her I could relate to it and reminded her that we’re pretty much all like that, to some extent – or at least, we have the capacity for it and have probably experienced it at some point(s) in our lives.
“Why do you get like that?” I repeated. ”Well, that’s easy.”
First of all, instinctively, we are built to hook up with a “mate” for purposes of reproduction, survival of the species and all of that. So we’re hard-wired to be attracted to someone, to want to connect with and be close to someone in a romantic way. Throw in the fact that we’re social creatures who need emotional links to others, who need love to survive and be well – quite frankly, we haven’t got a hope if we expect to turn it all off and be happy as clams (and how do we know clams are happy anyway?! How can you tell?).
There’s also the imprinting we got as children. Granted, some of us grew up with only one parent but generally speaking, we have watched our parents, whether or not they were married or stayed married or remarried (each other, or other people) and that relationship taught us many things about how men and women are supposed to behave. That relationship taught us a lot about ourselves. No one is perfect, our parents were flawed but even the best parents are going to mess up here and there.
So we come out of that environment, and head out into the world where we receive more emotional wounds, experience life and trauma, pain and disappointment. The only tools we have with which to face all of this are the ones our parents gave us. And if they missed bits, then we have our own ‘stuff’ thrown into the mix. We may have issues of abandonment, longing, low self-esteem, and all kinds of insecurities about ourselves by the time we’re adults stumbling through the massive obstacle course called Life.
Something inside us (our spirits) wants us to heal all those booboos, all those emotional scars and it will seek solutions. It will keep putting us in the same kinds of situations where we expose ourselves to the same lessons over and over again – UNTIL WE LEARN THEM.
Say you grow up with emotionally unavailable parents, for example. They’re there physically – but there’s a serious lack of emotional support and connection. You don’t know this, because you’re “in the box.”
You leave home. And before you know it, you’re involved with someone who is going to be on one side of that or the other. Either that person will be very emotionally distant or unavailable in some ways, or you may have fallen for someone who is emotionally suffocating, too available, too needy, too “in your face” because you were looking for someone to fill that empty hole, always having wanted someone to show you that he or she cared, when your parent(s) didn’t.
So you get fed up with the emotional distance – or engulfing – and you leave him/her. And guess what? You’ll find the same stuff in a different package, over and over again until you’ve resolved the issues, the beliefs you’ve got about that whole dynamic. It’s human nature (or shall I say, a spiritual lesson). Our relationships (all kinds, including friendships) act as mirrors for us. They show us what we need to heal. This is where we discover our loneliness, how we feel and what we do when confronted by someone’s anger, or by criticism or judgement, by blame, by love, by fear.
But unless we’re doing something to heal those original wounds and issues, we will continue to find situations where we get too attached in the wrong ways, or too quickly. All those love songs about “two becoming one” and “I’m not complete without you” and “I’d die for you, baby”, “You’re my everything” – oh, come on! They make me want to hurl! We’ve got this dysfunctional crap jammed down our throats and have come to believe and accept that this is love!
I can assure you, it isn’t. That’s twisted, unhealthy, I’ve-got-a-huge-hole-in-my-soul NEED. No one can be “everything” to someone else – not if you’re going to be happy and fulfilled. No one can “complete” you – it just means that this person’s presence in your life allows you to ignore the gaping, aching hole that he or she is filling.
People say “together we’re like one person.” Or “He/She completes me!” Or “He/She’s my other half.” Good grief. If someone is offering me half a person as a partner, I’m not interested, thanks. I don’t want the responsibility of being or fixing the broken or missing half, nor do I want to be relying on someone (much less half of a someone) to try to fix or ease my own issues.
Now there’s a scary thought; putting my own happiness, my healing, my personal fulfilment in the hands of someone else, and especially someone who is broken and wounded – and thinks that being part of my life will make it all better. Ouch. No, thanks.
I understand the romance and the sentiment behind all that blathering and those song lyrics, but it’s that kind of thinking that keeps us in unhealthy situations, believing the dysfunctional stuff that we’ve been taught about what a relationship is supposed to be.
It should be about two whole, healed (or at least healing) people, taking responsibility for their own needs and feelings, but supporting each other. It should involve people being respectful of one another, having good emotional boundaries, no game-playing, manipulation, secrets, wondering who’s thinking what – just being open with one another, and honest.
I don’t know about you, but I’d been chipping away at a truck load of emotional stuff for years. I’d spent most of my life having relationships with other people – whether romantic partners or friends or children – but I’d never had much of an opportunity to have a relationship with myself.
I reached a point where I figured it was enough of being someone’s partner, dealing with other people’s needs, demands or expectations. Enough of trying to fight my own demons, with the battleground unfortunately being a relationship. I understood that I just wasn’t fit to be one half of a couple until I felt like one whole person on my own, like I didn’t need “happily ever after” – or at least, the love of a romantic partner – to define me. I realized that the gnawing loneliness I felt on my own would not be eased by a relationship, because the truth was that it would just be a distraction from what was really wrong. And in fact, it only ever emphasized what was wrong, making me lonelier as half of a couple than I ever was all by myself.
That loneliness was caused by long-standing wounds that no one could fix, but me. I understood that the more I continued to heal myself, the better a job I would do of being myself.
And most importantly, I understood that if I couldn’t be comfortable with my own company, then I wasn’t fit to offer myself up as being long-term company for anyone else.
Setting out to have a relationship with myself, to discover who I really was, what I needed, how I felt, what I wanted for my life, this was my mission. It would have been good to do it many years ago, before that first marriage when I was 17, before having children, before leaving an extremely broken and chaotic trail behind me.
But better late than never.