Even after all these years, it never gets any easier for me to say goodbye. The knowledge that I am causing someone I still care for a great deal of pain brings me great pain as well. When that person who I love believes so deeply that I am his “The One,” I especially flounder in confusion and grief. What if he’s right? What if all these feelings of doubt and needing space are merely my way to not embrace the very thing I am looking for in love? Am I too afraid to accept this unconditional love? Am I in love with him or am I in love with his love for me?
It is in this sanctuary of space apart, which I so desperately need in relationships at times, when my heart speaks more clearly. I am not swept up in the infatuation of physical attraction, or swayed by hypnotic eyes and such potent words full of strong convictions that we are meant to be, that no one will ever love me as much as he does. With distance, I realize that these claims are not true, not for me at least.
Love is more than a collection of romantic words and claims of honorable intentions. Love is a verb, and when I feel loved, I feel safe and secure, I feel trusted and respected. I feel desired and admired. I feel accepted and embraced. I don’t feel so harshly judged, my every move inspected with suspicion and doubt. I don’t feel like I am a possession to be controlled or imprisoned, or as if I am placed on an a pedestal so high that the only room for me to move is that plummet downward.
It’s no secret that I am a people-pleaser, who often gives and gives until I just can’t give anymore. My resources are depleted, and I am spent. I’ve learned how to better say no. How to stand up for myself when I feel I’m being wronged. How to start that lonely walk away when I feel like it’s no longer worth it for me to keep fighting the good fight, when I keep receiving in return so much pain, the poison of anger, and being terribly misunderstood. I know when I deserve more than this. I know when he deserves more than the walls I erect in response to his offensive maneuvers. I know when it’s time for us to stop being in denial, and to move forward from sitting in limbo.
It still causes my chest to feel heavy and my stomach to clench when it’s time to leave. Sometimes I circle back to give things another chance when the promises to change flow like staining red wine. Deep down I know better, yet it can cause me to question myself as to whether I’ve given all I can give, if I have really given everything a chance to bloom. I know better, but I ride the battering waves of resistance to conflict and to causing someone pain.
Part of really being open to and capable of giving love to another so openly and freely begins with the all-important path toward loving one’s self. When you love yourself, you don’t want to be constantly jerked back and forth by drama. You don’t want your past to constantly be flung in your face, feel the punishment of being dragged through the mud again and again. You don’t stand for the smothering simply because the distance only brings out all your partner’s insecurities and fear. When you love yourself, you feel free to be the authentic you, for better or worse. When you are in love with you, you recognize how precious a gift you have if, when, someone else you love can appreciate and love all that you are too.