Once upon a time in a land far far away, when you were young and naïve about the ways of the world or as you put it ‘stupid’ you let someone treat you less than ideally; you know –use you, say mean things to you, take you for granted, disrespect you, not give you the time of day, OR you let them love you slightly less than a respectable amount, NOT slay dragons for you or give up their bench of subs for
you even though you were a star player, they said so themselves. Or maybe you let them full on cheat on you, run about town. You looked the other way, you rationalized. You forgave, you put your foot down, but then your foot did not stay down, Friend. It lifted back up again as if a mad puppeteer in the sky was running the show while you nom nommed your popping corn and Nibs. And that puppeteer had shit boundaries. That weak pathetic puppeteer went on loving them anyways. For. Shame. Gulp.
Then you loaded up your Ryan Gosling how to man up or you got out your Gloria Gaynor and learned how stay alive. This time when they came back with that stupid look upon their face you were screaming into a microphone at the karaoke bar about your emotional will to survive while all your brothers and sisters drank shots and yelled along.
When you’ve let someone hurt you, when you’ve let them have The Upper Hand, that is what you have to do to regain your dignity, right?
Shampoo press to get them out of your hair.
Find yourself a new place with your big black boots and an old suitcase.
Build your REVENGE BOD, which if you’ve never heard of one means compulsive diet and exercise fueled by repressed rage and pain then flaunted across social media to cause your X to come to Jesus and realize the error of their ways, feel fully emotionally impacted and distraught by their absolute failure, coming crawling back, obviously from outer space right through the door of the very karaoke bar you are belting your heart out in in your skinny jeans all so you can tell them to turn around now ‘cause they ain’t welcome anymore’.
Become wildly successful, preferably with a montage of you decluttering your home, painting something yellow, starting your own business, making your dreams come true, being true to you, scaling down your biz, realizing your priorities and otherwise Eat Pray Loving your way to bliss.
After which JUSTICE rainbows down and hands out gold stars and free kittens.
AND you are safe, unfuckable with. You have a badge that says I have my shit together in an enviable unfuckable way.
Alas, you are redeemed from your awful spinelessness. And SAFE from future advantage taking and dignity stealing and pretty much all heartache.
All you have to do is erect a wild tall structure of formidable power and fierce spy like alertness to stay on top of all of the users and thieves and less devoted so you too can be loved PROPERLY this time.
A respectable amount more than you love them.
By making them work for it, duh.
No not them, the new person, who will be willing to pass all of your tests.
The savvy questions about their past.
The subtle observations of their behavioural nuances.
The way they approach the recycling.
What they say about your favourite chair, your golf game with the guys.
But you know where it gets super duper uber interesting???
When they too are learning or have learned ‘how to stay alive’.
And so the tests are taking place on both sides.
It’s like James Bond!!!
It’s like a movie except that our Drive In movie blog series is OVER now. It’s FALL (nooohoooooo waaaahhh I’m as sad as you). No we are not in movie week.
Yet this is a BAD MOVIE PLOT I am relieved to tell you.
I am going to hit you with the reality check right about (wait for it)…NOW!
No one is giving you a GOLD STAR or a BADGE OF HONOUR for looking like a self respecting human to the PEANUT CRUNCHNG CROWD.
NOPE. NICHT. NADA.
The idea that you are a wuss and a candy ass and that you have no backbone and that you don’t respect yourself because you loved more or took some time to sort it out HAS NOTHING to do with you.
It has nothing to do with your decisions.
It has nothing to do with who you are.
And it can and will exist —out there in the world, in the mind of someone filled with shame, in the collective voice of confused social conditioning irrespective of the choices you make and whether they are healthy, self loving, meaningful choices that move you in the direction of healing and basic better happiness.
If your decisions are appealing to that voice they are definitely not serving you.
One hundred percent.
Being hurt or neglected or abandoned or treated poorly or avoided or dismissed or deprioritized or downright abused is never about your worth.
I bet it affected your ability to feel and know your worth.
But it sure didn’t decide it.
It didn’t mean things about you.
Other than maybe you feel things. Maybe you are compassionate. Maybe you hold on for love.
Maybe you are so many super important things that are absolutely essential for happiness and fulfillment in life.
When someone that you love, who claims to love you is not showing up for you in the way that you need it is a very personal affair.
There is no one on the outside who can make a decision for you.
You need to understand yourself.
You need support and advocacy.
You need HELP to navigate through your painful points.
To make the kind of decisions that won’t leave you confusingly and superficially proud but also heartbroken.
That won’t lead to impulsive changes down the road.
That won’t gnaw at you in your wee sleepy hours.
You need to feel protected and heard.
You need to learn TRUE EMOTIONAL SAFETY, which will never ever ever derive from the artifice of self protection.
Real self protection comes from self compassion. And nurturing. From actually allowing ourselves to give a shit regardless of what anyone else says or thinks.
From removing the JUDGE AND JURY especially of media and hard assed friends and loved ones from our mind and our voice and our thoughts.
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL, if you have been with them for fifteen years or three months, no one is counting here, and you need some friggin’ time to figure out whether to give a second chance to work things out, heal a pattern, learn to communicate, or just sit still for a hundred days until you are good and ready to move on, HELL YES! Protect that within yourself. Get some help protecting it.
Your life is for you. And that includes your romantic life.
The other crazy thing is this:
You cannot outsmart hurt.
You cannot outsmart vulnerability.
Without having a cold or dysfunctional relationship.
Better to let yourself feel, and RISK.
Risking smart is not about testing your romantic potential.
It’s not about dignity.
It’s about showing up for yourself, feeling your feelings, understanding your needs, asking for them to be met, taking some support so that all that you are doing is building the relationship you want, inside first and then reflected outside.
It’s not guarantee that JOE JANE OR JOEY will love you back or right.
But it’s how you love you.
And it’s how you stay safe, from the deep inside.
Which FUNNILY ENOUGH (hahahahahaha laugh with me hahahahaha) actually makes you impervious to that super scary place where you can’t see straight and the puppeteer is swinging you from a string into the arms of THE EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE.
There. I said it.
Do this on your own. Even better, do it with another pair of eyes that can help you outsmart the voice of Lizzo and Ryan (JK); a coach or a therapist or a support person who gets it.
And right now, in this very important moment LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK for wanting someone to love you, better, more, in a socially approved of way. For being confused uncertain forgiving patient neglectful. For lacking tools to say it, to know it, to choose it.
The greatest act of love begins with giving yourself permission and the support to understand what is truly at play; your feelings your needs, the inconvenient truth.
You don’t need a badge or a north wall.
You need a safe space within which will lie the foundation of the rest of ever.
A space in which you can be what you need to be.
And feel understood and then treasured.
I know you’re a treasure.
I’d marry you yesterday.
— Love Erin
P.S. 2021 I am bringing on the love. I’ll be featured in a podcast all about better loving, from healing your broken heart to intentional dating to creating a relationship that thrives, and I’ll be launching a sister site for all of you relationship and love enthusiasts, with all kinds of insights and offerings. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.