Monday, May 3, 2010

Growing Up

When I was younger everything got to me, the slightest provocation, the slightest insult, criticism, but for some reason my 26th birthday changed so much for me. I realized that I was worth so much more than I was expressing to others. I realized that others opinions of me was just that, an opinion and their opinion does not DEFINE me.

I was recently in a relationship, and this relationship was kind of the proverbial nail in the relationship coffin for me. I was EVERYTHING to this guy. I was his fount of knowlege and wisdom. I was his cheering section, his biggest fan. I was his cook, his maid. His dog walker. His housekeeper. His lover. His advisor. I met his family, I fell in love with his family and they in turn fell in love with me. I, who was hesitant about marriage already, found myself daydreaming about spending the rest of my life with this man. I lost myself in him. I lost my identity, my purpose. Oh, I still talked about it, but only to him, and he encouraged me in one breath but in the next breath kept me in my place as a woman who lived to serve him. He doled out his affections like Christmas presents and I found myself like a little puppy, so excited when that small treat came, a cuddle here, holding my hand in public here, a kiss there. Don't get me wrong the relationship wasn't all bad, but unlike what I fooled myself into believing, it wasn't all good either.

I think that's something that we all do. Not just women, but men also. We get in these relationships because we're either desperate for companionship or because of some illusion we have about the person we want to spend the rest of our life with. Then we start making concessions and excuses for their behavior, their lack of appreciation, their total disregard for us. We settle. We grow complacent. We wind up entangled, ensnared, trapped in a relationship that we probably shouldn't have been in in the first place. Everyone has their flaws, their quirks, habits and shortcomings and I don't deny that, but if you'd determined within yourself that you wouldn't spend the rest of your life with someone who was in favor of abortion and then you meet someone who favors it but you're at a season of your life when you or those around you feel as if you should have settled down, would you compromise?

I guess that's what this blog boils down to. What are you willing to compromise on? In my last relationship, I compromised on almost everything. Losing myself, my dignity, my identity because of the opinions and the expectations of others. I've gotten to the point now in my life where the opinions and expectations of others don't affect me like they used to. Whereas they used to provide 97% of the foundation for my life and actions they now provide 3%, the 97% comes from within. I found that inner strength, that inner wisdom. Oh, I still hear the snide comments, the remarks, the opinions and "well-meaning," "good-natured" advice from those who surround me telling me to do this or to not do that or that I should get over this or that I need to prepare myself to get married one day (*scoff*) but now I just smile, nod my head and continue on my way.

You see, I encourage myself now. I advise myself. I cook for myself. I make money for myself. For what I want to do. My personality is still there. I'm still just as giving, generous and selfless as I always was, but I'm no longer the pushover, the little girl desperately seeking approval, admiration, encouragement, love. I approve myself, I admire myself, I encourage myself and I love myself. I encourage you to encourage yourself everyday, to love yourself everyday. No one else's love, encouragement, approval, or admiration will fulfill you quite as much as your own does.

This was just something on my mind, so I thought I'd share. Oh by the way, since my relationship with my ex ended, I started writing my second book, I lost twenty pounds, I got in shape, I started eating better, got a great job, found myself, and remembered what makes me me. The ending of that relationship was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Remember that. Sometimes watching someone walk away from your life means welcoming someone or something new into your life.

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