Grappling with the ways love can be tough is a necessary part of any decent transformation process. We are beings created for relationship without getting an instruction manual at birth as to how to go about creating enriching, challenging, loving ones. It is possible that some relationships will have to change in order for you to have a healthier, more contented 2017 than you have experienced in previous years. Here’s a bit of advice someone gave me a long time ago that has proven most helpful in my own recovery journey.
“When people teach you that they don’t care, believe them. They don’t.”
One of the most challenging pieces of information I have to deliver on a regular basis to folks is that we must stop making up stories to explain away the bad behavior of people we love (and desperately want to love us). This doesn’t mean that we have to jettison a relationship anytime someone makes a mistake or is insensitive. My gosh – if that were true, I’d be living in isolation because no one would hang out with me!! But there is lots of room for degrees of relational intimacy that can be explored and considered. I have discovered the hard way that when I am not taking responsibility for myself and my life, eating poorly or not taking time to exercise, feeling blue or red with rage, watching too much tv, etc., that the issue really isn’t the issue. I can alter these bad habits, but I won’t truly be free until I address the stress that is pushing me towards them. And, inevitable for me, this is a relationship kerfluffle. My body, mind and spirit are created for deep and abiding relationships – as is yours by the way. And when my relationships are in a jumble, I know something is amiss. One issue that I have had is not believing people when they teach me that they do not care. This has caused me a good bit of heartache over the years. People teach us this when we see that over the course of a long period of time we learn that they are interested in how we meet their needs but not interested in a mutually satisfying and reciprocal relationship. People teach us that they do not care when they habitually treat us disrespectfully. In particular, when they keep repeating patterns of disrespect that we have specifically addressed as problematical for us. Hear me on this: I am NOT suggesting that people are created to make us happy all the time. My intention is to point out when the balance of relational respect and kindness is lopsided, that’s a problem.
For today, ask yourself if there are any relationship imbalances in your life. Make a list to be considered in more depth later. Don’t forget to put yourself on that list if you are the one who is under-functioning in a relationship!