Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Praise for the Pain and Letting it Go!

Letting go is probably the hardest thing in the world for me to do. Letting go feels like I'm ripping off some vital organ and beating myself with it.  Who knows?  Maybe I was.

 I used to take the worst relationships in my life and cling to them like they were the last crack dealer on the entire planet and I was a hard core addict. 

Part of what makes it hard for me to let go of anything is flat out co-dependency, which I have in spades. Ask a codependent to fix something relationally broken and watch them break out into a cold sweat of pure longing while their broken interior voice whispers maliciously into their ear that if they fix it...then they will be loved.

Psychology says this is typically because co-dependents view others behaviors as a reflection of their self-worth.  In other words, if I can fix this, THEN you'll love me.  If I can be "good enough", THEN you'll love me.  If you can accept me, THEN I'll be good enough. This is not love. This has nothing to do with love.  This is the opposite of love.

 But, the other part that makes letting go of bad relationships very hard for me is that I've been listening to the world's idea of what I should be doing for a very, very long time.  I want my life to look like what it "should" look like.  I was taught that how things look matters.  A lot.

 I wanted my life to look like a beautiful rainbow of peace, fun, loud mouthed family meals and people who love me with the same rabid passion that I loved them. I wanted them to trust in my goodness and love as much as I trusted in theirs. 

When people that you trust and love don't trust in your goodness and love, then you begin to question if you have goodness and love in you. This is crippling. This will cost you thousands of dollars in therapy later in life. Trust me on that. 

 I want the people in my life to think the same happy thoughts for me that I think for them. I want them to include me in the same way that I include them.  This is dangerous territory.

Learning that you must let go of those relationships, possibly even the idea of those relationships, will free you and cause you intense pain. Intense pain that must be endured to heal and come out the other side more whole than you've ever been up to this point.

Alas, one of the reasons it's been so quiet around here is that I've been dealing with loss and I don't deal with loss very well.  Frankly, I suck at it. 

I don't want to lose anything. Ever. I want to WIN!  I want to win at everything all the time in every way that winning can happen, especially when it comes to loving someone and having them love me in return. 

But, here's the thing:  Winning relationally had a very specific pictorial set-up in my head. What my relationships "should" look like had blinded me from seeing how they actually WERE. This is dangerous territory and every therapist, even the bad ones, agree on that. 

Refusing to see the reality of the relationships in your life is dangerous territory, no matter who that relationship is with.

Life HAD to look like that picture in my head or I wasn't OK!!  I was happily willing to lie to myself about the health of a relationship if it meant the relationship wasn't over yet. 

So, I've had to re-learn what relational winning looks like because the way it looked in my head was entirely different than what was happening in my life and it caused me intense pain for a long, long time. Pain that opened the door for me to be abused and mistreated. The pain of staying in the relationship finally became more than the pain of losing the relationship.

God Himself says that if you do not honor the relational rules He has laid out as acceptable, then you may not enter His house.  He still loves and He still cares, but there are boundaries.

So, I took a step back. (the first step is ALWAYS the hardest, by the way)  Then recently, I took another step back.  And suddenly, the picture becomes more clear, more manageable.  More healthy.  More true.   

And I realized that I cannot love anyone if I am not loving myself.  Loving myself includes removing people from my life who are either incapable of loving me or unwilling to love me. 

It does not mean that I wish them ill-will.  It doesn't mean I don't care for them. It simply means that I am choosing to limit the access certain people can have in my life and into my heart.  It means that I am the boss of me and as an adult it is my responsibility to take care of myself.  

Once that decision was made in my heart, it was like the sun came out from a long, gray winter and spring was near. 
Not long now...

I realized that I am surrounded by love.  

My incredible husband and our four precious children. They love me.  They love me fully and allow me to love them fully.

My absolutely bombastic friends who are there for me in a "we're going to rise together" kind of way.

A cousin whom I love like a true sister and I know she loves me that way in return. We have been friends and soul sisters since we were children playing together at our grandmother's home more than 40 years ago. She knows me all the way down to my deepest heart and she still looks at me like I'm better than chocolate. 

That same cousins children, who are very much like my own. They make my heart actually sing they are such fabulous young people.

 My church family who seriously should win some kind of award for being the most awesome church family in the history of church families.  It's like the church family lottery up in here, people.

Some homeschooling mothers who are always, always encouraging and uplifting and inspiring to me. Every. Single. Time. 

Another cousin who models what a loving aunt truly is.  She brings me to tears with the genuine affection she consistency showers on her two nephews. She values them in much the same way she values her own two boys and it's positively a beautiful thing. 

I had been surrounded by real, true love all this time that I'd been chasing love from people who simply cannot love me right now.  I had been telling myself that it was all my fault that they did not love me.  It was my fault that they simply did not like me.  

And the truth is that maybe it is my fault.  Maybe who I really am is simply not the kind of person that they can love or like very much.  That's OK.

The harsher truth is that I don't like them very much, either. I had to learn that that was absolutely OK, too. 

 I love me. I like me. And I am surrounded by love.

I am surrounded by people who know me intimately and who allow me to love them with crazy passion and joy.  There is no fear involved in loving the people that I have chosen to allow into my life.  THAT is what love should look like.

Pain will always accompany letting go and loss, though. I think it should.  

Praise should accompany the pain.  Praise that we have loved someone. Praise that we still love them, even if it's from afar and the relationship is gone. 

And then the pain begins to lesson because love is forever, even when it isn't. 

This is Grace. This is still Love. 

1 comment:

  1. I do love you, girl.
    your Hubby, David.