… And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -- Anais Nin
I have a really dear friend who recently experienced a breakup but can’t seem to let go. I’ve noticed in talking with her that what I say to her oftentimes applies to me, too. What follows is stream of consciousness written at times for her, at times for me, and at times to what I’ve experienced in others as well. Forgive awkward pronoun shifts, grammatical probs, etc. it's off the cuff.)
You give away what you should keep. Telling others parts of your life that lose meaning the moment they’re uttered. This is what we do, isn’t it? Either so excited to strut our feathers or unable to sit with pain, we look for someone – almost anyone – else to give it to. We want to share the juicy details – ahh, see, I am worthy of someone’s love and adoration. Even better if that person is brilliant, really hot, or successful – now this really says something about *me*. You don’t have to do work on yourself because you mistake his attention for validation. Yet you’re still unable to be on your own – by yourself.
Sure, you may have periods, spans, eras (seemingly) without a boyfriend, partner, husband, etc. but what are you filling your life with? You go out to these bars, arrange social events – tv show parties – maybe you fancy yourself high brow so you opt for literary events, social causes, indie cinema – whatever – but all of this is to avoid the self. You can’t be by yourself because down deep (actually it’s not even buried that deep – others can see it) you don’t like yourself. You don’t like the WHOLE of yourself, flaws and all. You can’t see your flaws as the blessings they truly are. Sure you like parts (“I’m sweet, funny, I have great abs, smart, etc.”), but that’s not how you really see yourself. What speaks louder in the darkness of your mind is that which you loathe. It’s whispering to you that you’re all of these “good” things, but it’s still not enough. You’re still not worthy – so you keep adding accomplishments, you keep filling your life with things, with people to drown out that voice rather than boldly meeting it. Rather than taking a look at it and not cowering to its sheer presence.
What does it feel like to be unequivocally happy, self-sustainingly happy? You won’t know until you can accept the whole you. The parts that don’t feel good enough; the parts that are afraid of being taken advantage of, of being used, of having your heart broken, all those parts. Loving and accepting but not kowtowing to those parts. Bow to those parts because they’re messages – gifts – but they are NOT you. They don’t define you. They’re outside of you to help you get to your authentic self. Their magnitude is solely dependent on how much credence you allow them.
And then there is the other piece of it – so not the part about filling your life with meaningless things (incidentally this isn’t an indictment of "fun" – it has its place), but the part that has to tell all of your friends every sad detail of your life. You don’t stop at friends either, because eventually the fix wears off and you need more abetment. You start telling people who have no meaning in your life about your pain – anyone who gives you a foothold. And they’ll take your shit because they’re needy too. They’re incomplete too.
You spend *so* much energy with “Why didn’t he call? Is he seeing someone else? Why doesn’t he want me? Why am I not good enough?” All these questions – so much energy – and it’s all just a way to keep yourself victimized. Pure ego. Ego speaks and ego listens, which is why you will not run out of people to run to. We’re all so caught up in the avoidance game, carefully protecting each other from the possibility of breaking out of the shell that binds us. So many of us secretly revel in the comfort of shared mediocrity – we’re not even conscious of it – that we enable not only ourselves, but encourage in others the habitual patterns which serve only to keep us static. We are meant to be move and evolve – it’s our very biology – but we are so locked up in these patterns of self-pity, of blindness, that we defy nature and actually choose to stay subjugated. We choose to repress the light which exists within each of us which is our divine source and wants to see us grow, to evolve, to really live.
There’s no shortage of people surrounding us who are there to console us, who will tell us to “play the game”, remind us to “be strong”, and advise us to “kick him to the curb – he’s a playa”. They'll tell you "he's not worth it" or that "you're too good for him" but those are lies - in truth it has nothing to do with that. So we think we have to build these walls to protect ourselves. From what? The same wall you build to protect yourself keeps others out. You are stopping, nay, killing prana – life-force – by building these walls. Your problem will not be that you’ve been used. Your problem will be that you’ll continue to be lonely and will never find fulfillment in any relationship because you don’t know how to love or to be loved. You’re so caught up in worrying if you’re being screwed, thinking you gave too much, when you didn’t give anything! You gave what was easy; that which didn’t mean anything to you anyway.
Jesus said that “even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners’ expecting to be repaid in full”. And that’s how we operate – our whole lives only giving to get, expecting something back in return. This is NOT love. It’s the very antithesis. And until we can learn to drop the walls and lead with an open heart – the heart of a child – we’ll never know love. It will always elude us.
Don’t listen to those friends preaching control. They’re as lost as you are. They don’t know love any more than you. What’s more, they are no more willing to face themselves than you are, so it’s like the blind leading the blind.
But here you have this beautiful opportunity to be the change you wish to see in the world. You can make a difference by starting with yourself, your own heart, the shadows of your own soul FIRST. Clearing up all the hurt, shame, resentment, in your own home, first. Cleaning it all up, every last cobweb. It’s time to start taking care of yourself instead of wishing someone else would change. YOU be the change. You’ll be so busy with that you’ll forget all about wanting to fix someone else.