Looking back on the past can be dangerous. I tend to either romanticize or vilify all the characters of my personal story. People have drifted in and out of my life and I have to say they have all left a mark on who I have become. Some people left me with nothing but fond memories and we simply drifted apart. Others left me with wounds and scars, which eventually healed despite my best attempts to delay closure. I compare every situation to one of the unhappy endings, which allows me to justify my stubborn nature. I am not about to compromise on anything for anyone.
This is my mistake. I use the past as justification for continued unhealthy behavior. Sure, I have made some bad choices when it came to people, however this does not mean I am entirely incapable of maintaining a healthy and happy relationship.
When I look back on previous “relationships” (which should be in quotes because I am not going to act like I have had any great love affairs) I realize I was never actually invested in getting to know the other person, nor was I interested in finding out who I was when I was with them. I was always looking for a reason they were not THE ONE. You know which one I am talking about. I was not going to allow myself to be vulnerable until I knew it was forever. I was not going to invest anything into the relationship until I KNEW! I was so cool, I was freezing them out.
I could go off and allow myself to feel all unworthy and unlovable, or I could be reasonable and consider my responsibility for these failed relationships. Trust me, I was not easy to deal with. On a good day I am high maintenance. If I don’t like you, I am insufferable. However, I am not broken beyond repair. I am not some unlovable freak who no one wants to be around.
So, what is the point of all this reminiscing? Should I beat myself up because I could not figure out intimacy sooner? Remember poor Bridget Jones and her stack of self-help books? That bullshit is not the way to achieve good mental health.
Personally, the path to health comes from a dedication to being honest with myself. I have never experienced a period of my life that was either completely magical or utterly dismal. Nope. Everything is a lot more moderate. I think life tends to ebb and flow through various stages of comfort. Even on my worst day, I can find something good that happened. The best days still have annoyances. The key to my happiness lies in my ability to keep things in perspective. This includes the past!
I have no intention of spilling all my deep, dark secrets here on my blog. The details are not important. Everyone has things they are not proud of. It is imperative that I allow myself to be multifaceted and to celebrate the lessons I have learned. I have never had anyone important to me demand perfection. Nope. For the most part, the assholes were not in my inner circle. So, why would I care what they wanted from me? The people who matter have liked me for who I am, not what I should be.
Despite my failure to successfully engage in this whole relationship thing, I cannot employ that excuse to avoid intimacy. Then I would be robbing myself of potential greatness. Every relationship does not have to be perfect. I can learn to be myself and enjoy someone else’s quirks. I can let them see my unique place in the world.
I can trust people until they give me a reason not to. There must be a way to protect yourself and still drop the coat of armor enough to let someone in. I am interested in seeing what that is like. I wonder if the scary ever dissipates.
I have to stop telling myself strength comes from not needing other people. The real courage comes when you allow someone to penetrate the prickly outer shell. I can only learn from the past if I am willing to venture out and be bold. Remember, this is my adventure. I don’t want to miss it all because I am too scared to take the leap.