I sat staring at this meme today for an extensive period of time. The sentiment resonated with me in the depths of my soul. It forced my mind to visit places from my past that honestly, I would have preferred to avoid.
I have learned that in order for me to grow I have to accept my truths and look at the realities of my decisions through a lens of objectivity rather than judgment. Holding on to fear and refusing to face facts will hold me hostage to those experiences and through my attempts at avoidance I will run the risk of repeating past hurts. So, I submit to the memories. Taking a mental journey back through my loves and my lessons.
As I recalled each of my exes, beginning with the most recent and working my way backward, I discovered that the eventual failure was quite predictable based on the intentions we each held at the onset.
I discovered that in every case they each entered in with EGO. I on the other hand, entered in with LOVE. Wow, what an aha moment. It is so clear in hindsight. How could I have not seen it before? The pattern now illuminated for me and my understanding now crystal clear.
For them, I looked good on paper. It was about what I could do for them. It was about what I brought to the table. It was about how their image improved based on their association and conquest. It was always about what they could get out of the relationship. I liken it to big game hunting. Every hunter wants to bring back the biggest kill and have the greatest story to tell his buddies. The disappointing problem with that analogy, I was the kill.
Conversely, I went in with LOVE. In each case I wanted nothing from them but a mutual exchange of love and respect. In every case, I knew upfront they had nothing monetarily to offer me. That didn't matter, I was more than capable of taking care of myself, covering my bills (and in many cases theirs as well). My incentive was the emotional connection with someone. I signed up to build the kind of love that says, "I got your back" and "When the world comes for you, I will be your shelter". Despite the differences, I believed this was possible. I gave my all without hesitation. I held nothing back, after all life is short and we are meant to live it while we can. I blindly believed that love and commitment was mutual. I entered into agreement that it was genuine, and its purity would be enough to sustain the relationship despite the dramatically different backgrounds and disparities of resources. Truthfully, I struggle to be certain, was I oblivious, or just in denial? I ask myself, did I really BELIEVE, or had I conditioned myself to believe, meanwhile doing everything in my power to manifest my belief.
I realize now that what I had tried to do was love them enough for both of us. Eventually I would see that it was one sided. By that time though, invariably, I had given so much that I was left feeling broken, both emotionally and financially. I gave until I had nothing left to give before I would grant myself permission to end it. That methodology will always fail with the person who is EGO driven because the egomaniac places no value on love.
My last relationship, however. I didn't allow it to go that far. Fortunately, I had learned from past mistakes. He had entered with EGO, and I had entered with LOVE, admittedly, I missed that. However, this time, I didn't ignore my nagging intuition and I did not dismiss my feelings or compromise my needs to meet his. This time, I admitted, albeit painfully, that the relationship was once again completely one sided. Love flowed out of me in abundance, but only sex flowed back to me. We were not the same.
The difference the last time from all the times before was my response. I didn't question it or try to figure it out and I certainly did not re-invest even more time and emotion trying to fix it. No, this time. I accepted it for what it was. Then I took the necessary steps to end it when and how it best suited me.
The bright side in all of this is knowing that you have identified the source of the disconnect. Now, going forward, being mindful and intentional, knowing what to be on the lookout for. I'm better for it, and I'm grateful for the experience.
I'm still a hopeful romantic and choose to believe that my person is out there somewhere. In the meantime, I don't rush the process and instead, I am content to live the journey and experience life for all it has to offer.