Let Them Leave
“Every time we pick what people think over how we feel,
there’s a little bit of self-betrayal.”
Right before the Christmas holidays, a man I had been dating and was very much involved with over the past 9 months abruptly ended our relationship. It wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t even a clearly defined ending. It was just abrupt and a little gas-lighting. And --it was an ending.
In the past I would have gotten really upset about the “how” and the “why” and the perceived lack of care and respect, and I would have felt like a victim for months. I would have stewed in my resentment and thought obsessively about the whole thing, turning it over and over in my mind, trying to figure out what I might have done to ‘deserve’ this. I would have made him into an asshole in my mind. I would have argued with him in my head or fantasized about what I was going to say when or if we bumped into each other. I would have done all the things one does when their heart gets hurt. But I didn’t do that this time.
This time, on the morning he ended it, I felt angry and destabilized and then that night I cried a little for about 2 minutes in my bed. But almost immediately after I cried I felt oddly surrendered, and the next day I felt calm and at peace.
What I saw pretty quickly was that his behavior wasn’t about me; it wasn’t personal. And seeing that as clearly as I did moved me to the inner peace/wisdom/acceptance spot really quickly. Like within 24 hours.
What helped was that throughout my relationship with him I never made him ‘the authority’; I never handed him my worth or my sense of self, or trusted his reality over my own. That’s where most relationships go pear shaped; we ask our partners to be responsible for things that they can never hold long term without a heavy cost.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t vulnerable or affectionate or real with him. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Because I never held him responsible for my self-esteem or worth, it gave me the freedom to be really vulnerable, alive and self-expressed with him. It also gave me eyes to genuinely see him and hear him when he would do or say things that I didn’t fully understand, or he behaved in ways that felt or seemed inconsiderate. I could actually see him because having ownership of my self gave me a lot of curiosity and interest in who he was as a person.
Another thing that helped was that I was never in love with him. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him. I still love him. I adore him, actually. He was someone I considered a really good and close friend and I thought we would be in each other’s lives for years, even if our romantic and sexual relationship ended. So I feel sad about our relationship ending and I will miss him. But I was never in love in the way that people feel when they lose themselves and their own boundaries in another human being. I never let myself go there. And my choosing not to go there with him wasn’t personal...
Last year at this time I made a vow that I would be mine before I was ever anyone else’s. That I would never give myself whole hog to anyone or anything again if it meant that I would lose myself in the process. Simply put, I committed to myself in a do or die sort of way. I didn’t know what committing to myself at that level meant at the time, but I knew going forward that I would be unwavering in that commitment.
Since then I have had my share of successes and disappointments. My negative self-talk has roared up at times and has been deafening. I’ve also had incredible grace-filled moments. But in all the highs and lows, and everything in between, I’ve let nothing come between me and my own relationship to my-self and my own felt sense of worth; not a lover, not a parent or relative, not a job, not the number in my bank account, not my aging body, not what people say or think… nothing.
No relationship is more important than the one I have with myself. Not a one. Marianne Williamson says that anything that we make God that isn’t God, becomes our downfall. So no, I no longer make anyone or anything my false God.
Do yourself a favor; don’t sacrifice your own divinity. Our relationship to ourselves is our pathway to God, to our saving grace and to inner peace.
I genuinely implore you to make your relationship with yourself a priority this year. Don’t wait. Start now.
Thanks to @AMPRSNDPHOTO for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁