I used to be an doormat.. And a very emotional one at that. I thought my life purpose was to make people happy, at the cost of my own well-being. Since then I’ve learned that you don’t have to give up on yourself in order to make others happy. How are you ever supposed to make someone else smile if you are dying inside?
Since then I have begun to consider myself an expert at cutting off poisonous relationships respectfully. I picked up various drama-free approaches to things that are awkward and uncomfortable when I realized that it’s not just what we do, but how we go about things that makes a difference. Our tone of voice, our choice of words, and our timing – we can tailor these to our best ability in order to get the same thing across, but in a much better way.
And honesty. Whether we are trying to communicate something positive or negative, honesty is key. Always, especially if we use tone of voice, choice of words, and timing wisely.
One long, poisonous relationship and my moving on taught me a lot.
It taught me to not take things too personally. To respect oneself. To not take anything for granted. To tell the people we love how much they mean to us. To take in the scents carried by the air and the sights and sounds that flood our surroundings, but often go unnoticed. To feel warmth on our skin, to feel the wind in our hair.
And it taught me to make my life what I want it to be, because one day it will be too late. To learn, discover, and experience. To not be afraid when friendships end and to forgive others. To surround myself with positive people, but to also listen to and be there for those who aren’t.
And it taught me to love the world, to make small talk with strangers, to smile at everyone I pass, and to take care of myself, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually so that I may do all of this for years to come.
But what happens when you temporarily abandon your belief that “Those who have chosen to leave your side are gone,” and, “Things happen for a reason” and try to get closure with someone who still means the world – closure that will hopefully end on good terms? Much-needed closure after something that happened years ago, but still haunts your dreams.
Several times a week I would see this person in my dreams. I would see them from afar and they would acknowledge me, but then they would vanish or the dream would end and I could never reach out for them.
In those dreams I always struggle with the words “After all these years I’m back. I hope everything’s okay,” but they never escape my lips. They just sort of… Stay there… Locked up.
And now a days I don’t show my emotions. I have become a cold, caring creature. A strange combination… Someone so deeply concerned for others, yet so aloof and disconnected that I sometimes wonder if I am even real. Observing, and often trying to help all while feeling almost nothing.
Sometimes that’s easier – feeling nothing. We can stay driven and make logical decisions without hesitation – decisions that are painful, but could very well prove to be beneficial.
I almost stopped understanding the idea of emotion. People would come to me for advice and I wouldn’t make the logical implication that they were hurting until they would tell me, “This makes me feel bad,” or “I feel lonely.”
I kept my feelings tucked away in a safe place, a place I had almost forgotten, until today, when I did something unconventional, something I had sworn I would never do again: Write to someone whom I have long feared I’d lost.
I finally let the words escape. I would not tolerate a repeat of the dreams – We make our lives what we want them to be, right? We can change things. But just like in my dreams, the person acknowledged my existence, but no word escaped his mouth.
This is when we have a choice: To keep walking or to linger in the same place indefinitely, never quite capable of letting go.
This takes patience, and as for all of you who have done this before, I am so proud of you. It isn’t easy, but it is the only way we can ever grow.
Patience – Sometimes I think that is why I am here. Sometimes I feel I might be here to explore the world and to learn about other cultures, but no. Make movies? Nah. Write music? No.. Become a biological engineer and use my knowledge to help reverse environmental damage? No. Those are my passions and things I want to do and accomplish, but I think the real reason I am here is to become more patient. Not with things, and not with happenings. Time is constantly moving and we will get there eventually, so why try to rush ahead to a certain date?
But I think I am here to become more patient with people. Those who are aggressive. Those who are selfish. Those who are ignorant and hurtful. Those who simply don’t care how they affect others or the world (“Why does it matter anyway?”). And those who stay in the same painful and debilitating situation, but do absolutely nothing to change it because they have not yet realized their power – their immense power to change everything.
You see… Only if we are patient with others can we actually help. Only then will anything we have worked for be helpful in the slightest.
That is what I’m working on…
But nothing outweighs the patience required to battle the hurt of losing someone.
In time… In time…