Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Working it through: A dialogue with self

A little background.....

I dated someone from the age of 17 until I was approximately 24. It didn't really end until I was 26 or so. Though I loved this person very much, and respected him as much or more than anyone, I was not good to him. I might argue that I was young. Yes, I was. I was fun, spontaneous, affectionate, and loving (according to my then understanding). I was also a bit of an emotional tyrant. I expected him to be giving and loving and kind and respectful and accommodating, which he was.... to a fault. While I held the bar high for him, I was not always those things to him. I don't know that I could see it then, but in hindsight, I do. Clearly. As you will see - old habits die hard.
Another thing about me. If I have loved someone, I always love them. Letting them go completely is like trying to pry a T-bone from the jaws of a pit bull. I don't do it willingly, or easily.
I have never felt good about how things ended with this person. I have always held him in the highest esteem and have always wanted to "right" things with him. Explain. Renew friendship. Evolve into something else. I have spent many years not giving up on this endeavor. It has never gone particularly well. Though in the background of my full and meaningful life, it has haunted me.

Recently, I talked to someone who knows this person. Essentially, this is what he said to me:

For his sake, and yours let it go. Leave him be. In his life, his marriage, his world view, there is no room for you. He is not ready -- no, not willing, to consider any sort of revisiting with you. He is not social. He is not interested in expanding his life outside of the few people in it. He lives his life in an expected, comfortable way, and he is completely content in it. He is not pained over you. He is healed and moved on. When I think of qualities I recognized in you so long ago, I can see that you have become more of that. Wide and expansive, full of life. When I think of qualities that I saw in him, I see that he has become more of that. It has moved you both in completely opposite directions. Neither good, nor bad. There is just no room for anything other than letting it go.

My thoughts:
Ouch. If you know me, you know that was not an easy pill to swallow. Hearing it made it very clear that the girl in me, who needs to know she is loved regardless of her behavior, is still trying to run the show. What I think my friend was saying to me is that even if this person were willing to allow some sort of friendship to exist (which he isn't), he believes that I would not find what I hope to find. That based on what he knows of me, it would be an exercise in futility and interpersonal frustration. I think my friend was trying to tell me that I have grown into a place...and this person has grown into a very different place... and that they are very far apart places. I also think that my friend was trying to tell me that there is nothing for me in trying to return to a place that does not exist.

My message to me:

My friend. Perhaps, rather than looking for vindication in this person's eyes, you need to seek it from yourself. You seek to love. Both others and yourself. It is not loving to make it someone else's responsibility to free you from choices you made in your past. You need to let yourself off of the hook. Realize that you have grown, and you have changed, and so has everyone that you have affected. You desire this person's forgiveness and approval. What now, that you cannot have it? From whom can you seek it? From yourself. It is not that this person is willfully withholding from you. It's that it doesn't exist for him. It exists for you, and therefore is your responsibility. If you want him to know that you are loving, then act from love. You have misunderstood your own motivation. You have believed that managing (or trying to) and positioning in order to express yourself is working toward love. Truthfully, have you not been emotionally strong-arming this person so that you feel better about yourself? If, what he longs for is to be free of the past, and of you, is it not loving to trust life and to willingly provide that? Know that you are ok, no matter what you did, and what you caused. Know that he is ok too. It is not your job to fix it anymore.
I ask you, my friend, to give this person the greatest gift you have. Let go. Release. Trust. and Love.


Jamie said...

Hit home for me too!

keysunset said...

Let go. Release. Trust. and Love.

Perfect, whitney. Years ago, I managed to wander my way out of a relationship. Someone I cherished dearly but who did not cherish me the same way. I was able to reconnect with this person years later, basically just to make sure he was OK. That life was OK for him. Somehow I needed to know. And, similar to you, our lives had gone very different directions. We didn't have a common ground anymore. I was able to wander away again, but knowing he was OK in his life. That needed to be enough for me, though it was hard to take at the time.

Recently this dear guy died. And tho I grieved, I was able to do so knowing I was in just the right place -- time and distance -- from him and his family.

Yes, let go. Now that you know what the situation is for him and for yourself, let go. Turn the love into something positive. And most definitely, be gentle with yourself.

Sending you prayers and positive waves.