The Very Thing


One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given, and paid dearly for disregarding is this:

“The thing you refuse to talk about for fear of hurting your relationship

is the very thing that will cause its destruction”.

I’ve lived through the truth of this enough to be compelled to share it when “just that one time” becomes more than one time, and the hurt plants a tiny seed of resentment to begin the downward spiral of something potentially good.

I’ve found if I wait too long without speaking up, or making sure I’m heard when I finally do so, it may be too late to alter the dynamic previously set. JT (my therapist) told me once that  you only have to allow a behavior a single time, and by your silence, you’ve given permission for it to continue.

I’ve given permission for a lot of poor treatment, and excused it as a bad day. I’ve forgiven my own behavior the same way, and have had to call myself out on it. I’ve had to learn to set my boundaries, draw those lines for what is acceptable to me in my attitude and the actions of others towards me.

It sounded like hyperbole to me until I recognized the shift in my feelings and regard for people I loved over the years. I could trace the demise or damage done in each relationship to my blindness of the importance of honest communication, first with myself and then to the one in front of me.

I think it’s important to say, “You hurt me, this is how. Don’t do that again”. I think it’s critical that I listen when it’s said to me. We owe that to each other don’t we? I think we do if the friend/lover/spouse matters to us for the long haul. I think it matters if we want something more than the mediocre that we’ve spent too much time living.

I speak only for myself when I say that silence is soul-numbing when it’s a shield for pain. Emotional paper cuts left untended can fester and cause loss of heart, loss of trust and loss of love. In my experience, they have. I assisted in creating my own sorrow.

I will admit freely that this is not a cure all. There have been those who can’t hear me, or don’t want to, or flat out don’t care when they do. But that was the answer then, wasn’t it?

I can’t hear you. I don’t care. I could treat you differently, but I don’t really want to.”

I think we really know in our gut when we’re loved and appreciated, and when we’re not. Just like we know when we are loving and appreciating the way we should, or being selfish and inflicting those paper cuts on those who matter to us.

I know it’s hard to break the silence, I still struggle with it every time.

But try, just try, to say that very thing you think will break you.

It may save you instead.

 

 

 

 

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Deeper Instinct


“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
― Anaïs Nin

I absolutely love these words. I believe we can be women with both our strength and beauty at full power, continuously building our lives and interests into an oasis where our truest selves can rest and grow.

We can also invite men into ourselves, into our lives, with their own clarity of vision and self-awareness. These men exist, but are unseen by the untrained eyes of women caught up in living the damage all of us carry with us if we’re not willing to address it and move forward.

A friend said to me the other day that she wondered when men quit being courteous and protective gentlemen. I suggested that those qualities were possibly resting by the roadside next to the grace and femininity we set aside thinking we had to war with each other.

I’m not a man, and I don’t want to be. We are of equal value but we are not equal in many wonderful ways that have apparently been forgotten. We bring different gifts into the world and each is made more powerful by what the other has to offer. Each can bring more joy to the other.

Beautiful music, well written books, cognitive therapy and a willingness to look inside for answers have helped me make my way to the life I’m building now. It will always be so for me, and that makes me happy. When I recognize that in a man, that kind of investment in himself, I am awed. I know what kind of courage it takes to do so.

It’s hard and it’s painful at times. But to be able to bring my whole self to the table with all I have to offer inside, and a man’s willingness to do the same is a breath-taking possibility of unlimited potential for a very real love.

I have a “deeper instinct” to choose wisely in the future. To preserve myself and offer everything at the same time. To be capable of maintaining my individuality as well as answering the masculine call to my femininity. I will consider it a joy, not a weakness to revel in the celebration of like hearts, like minds, and very different bodies.

We should not be at war. I love getting flowers, having my doors opened and a man showing his protectiveness. I adore these things that call to the feminine in me and will consider them a show of respect and an indicator of the value I will have to him. It matters little that I can do these things for myself. Likewise it makes me happy to show my heart in the things I do and the care I give even when he too will be capable of providing for himself.

I think men and women have both gotten a bad deal. We gave it to ourselves, and it seems like such a waste of time to me. There have been too many wasted opportunities to be more and have more as individuals and as companions of choice.

I grew tired of fighting. I set my weapons aside and picked up my books, my headphones and held my hand out for someone to show me the way in. It’s changed me in ways I will never regret. It’s grown beautiful things within me that can’t be taken away.

They can only be given or shared, guided by that “deeper instinct”.