Day 134 - What Am I Willing To Give?
This seems an appropriate title given yesterday’s post...I feel like we live in a culture that is not balanced. We (meaning me) always ask about what we want or are going to get and we (again me) seem to forget the greater part of receiving...giving.
I have to own that I probably lack the relationship that I want in my life because of one fact: I have been unwilling or unable to give the kind of love, attention and honesty a really good relationships demands.
I think that I have spent the better part of my life, believing that I was over here all good and I just needed to find the right person to be paired with and VIOLA! All good! Perfect!
Well that seems a bit short sighted from where I sit today. Let me own my shit for a minute...
I have used people, men in particular. Not for money, or things. That I have never done. I have this weird need to pay for things myself, like if I am not the person providing it for me, it lacks value. I have had to do a lot of work to allow men to buy me dinner even. It was a struggle. I always felt like I had to pay my own way. This was about fear for me. So worried because of the past of what I would owe them, what they would feel entitled to take from me, if I took from them. A lot of years and therapy later, I can see that I do not allow men, or people, like that into my life today so I can relax and not have to have it all locked down anymore. Sometimes they buy me dinner, sometimes I buy them: give and take.
How I used men was to feel good. Good old fashioned endorphins. They were like a high for me. If they were buzzing all around, I was happy. If they were absent or distant, I was neurotic and depressed. I had to stop it. I had to not use men as a hit, a high, a way to feel better about myself. I had to re-evaluate my self worth so that it was me dependent instead of them dependent.
I also, this is hard to own, didn’t really care about them or their feelings. I just needed them to do certain things and then I marginalized them. Pushed them to the side, which allowed their dreams, needs and desires to become secondary. I am super not proud of this. But I did it a lot. Oh sure, I was everything they wanted me to be, right up until I knew they loved me, then I was like, CHECK! Then I went about taking them for granted. Ugly truth, but true nonetheless.
For a long time, I held the new men I met responsible for what previous men had done. Like somehow it was their job to settle the score. Super unfair as well as being not possible.
Those are the big ones. I am sure there are lots of little ways that I was unfair to men. That I was a taker...certainly not the worst taker in the world of women using men, but not great either.
So what am I willing to give?
Today, I am willing to give them the truth. Whatever that means in whatever moment we find ourselves in. I have my own back and they are off the hook for making up for the men that came before them shortcomings. I will tell them the truth if it hurts, I will lose them and even if it makes me look bad. It is hard to do. But I am willing to give anyone who does the work to be in my life, the truth.
I am willing to give my time...but not all of my time. I used to get into a relationships and then would disappear into the relationship black hole. You know the one where you are both super into each other and even when you aren’t in each other’s presence, you are thinking about the other or texting them or buying something for them or making plans to see them as soon as possible? I don’t do this anymore. It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the urge to do this, but I don’t allow it to unfold. Any man worthy of my time and attention deserves to have me set some boundaries for myself and not just allow him to walk in and take over my life. The intimacy can develop because there is some room between us, some place in our lives where there can be some mystery and interest. I care enough about anyone that I might date to maintain my own life, which was what they were attracted to in me to begin with.
I am willing to really care about them and their needs. This was hard for me. I was fine caring for their needs so long as they were congruent with my own. I was ok, with giving so long as I was ultimately getting what I wanted. Today, I can see this was also short sighted. To really love someone, I feel, I must love them more than us. That I am willing to act in their best interest even if that means I don’t get what I want immediately or I may have to be uncomfortable while they sort some shit out. I care about them in relation to them, not me.
This was a hard conclusion to come to - always before needing, in fact, demanding that the us come first. Realizing, finally, that if I truly love someone then I need to support them regardless if what they need may lead them away from me. I certainly don’t want that but if I love them, I need to support their growth, no matter what direction that leads...I can give them their freedom even within the confines of a relationship. They are not mine, they are always them, my time with them privileged and an honor. If they need to grow in a manner that I can’t, then I need to love them enough to let them go.
I am willing to have hard conversations. I am willing to say the thing that I am afraid to say. I am willing to reject and be rejected. This is the hardest one of all. I had to stop being a yes woman. I have to be willing to say what I want even when I have no idea whether or not they will like it or agree with it. I have to say what I need and want and withstand the fear and insecurity being authentic demands. I can’t just pretend like I don’t care, then expect them to say I love you and I can’t live without you, and I will just say “me too!” Which is how I lived the first part of my life. Sad. Really sad. But fucking true.
I think this is where I need the work the most. The willingness to reject and be rejected and not have that feel like such a complete and total violation of my person. More on this topic tomorrow because this is the next horizon for me.
Time is running short on this Sunday morning, so I will close with this. I am the most ready I have ever been to give without limits and conditions. To actually practice, what comes, allow. What leaves, let go with an open and loving heart. Less concerned with all that I am given and instead more focused on what I can provide to others who cross my path. It isn't perfect, I am not perfect but I can see love more clearly now. I can love mo betta now. Because I have given myself permission to let it all unfold...