Rule #4 – Thou shalt know when to stand still.
Situation: I have a “kindred spirit” by the name of Sunny. This individual is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met but is frighteningly incapable of being alone. What do you do when the person you love tells you that you need to be alone to work on yourself, but you hate solitude? It’s difficult for each of us to face ourselves, but it’s really challenging when we don’t even realize we are in our own way.
Problem: Sometimes the current significant other of each of my friends likes to reach out to me as a guiding light in the midst of the challenge to understand the complexity of my beloveds. In this particular case, she became so upset with herself for still caring for Sunny, but she knew that her goal was never to not care. She felt that if she stopped caring then it meant she ever really loved or cared. She found it hard to not love a person she once saw her future with. How does one stop loving someone s/he cares deeply for, even if one knows it will never work? How could she be certain that it was the best decision? Because she had tried more times than she cared to admit.
Dissection: She loved Sunny so much, too much. Usually, I would preface a statement like that with “arguably” but in this case, it isn’t arguable. As Eric Roberson sang in his song, “Iluvu2much” feat. Algebra Blessett, “I love me too much to not find peace. That piece of me I got rid of when I gave you my love.” We are taught that life is about not having regrets, but I have learned that it is more so about not letting those regrets consume you. To be able to live every day and carry that weight without it breaking you. To learn from those mistakes and continue to persevere.
In the words of Jay-z, “life is for living, not living uptight.” To live life fully, there are risks involved. We do not grow within stringent boundaries, nor we discover new experiences. Every day it is a challenge–somedays loads can be harder to carry than others, but we carry them. And sometimes we are fortunate to heal and discard old baggage along our journey.
Here’s the reality, you can be unhappy with an individual, or unhappy without them, but the reality is that one has the possibility of leading to future happiness. It gives us the opportunity to continue to face ourselves and provides the possibility of potentially meeting someone else who is exactly what you’re looking for.
I once had an ex tell me that missing a memory is better than missing a person. I disagreed at the time. If two people are hurting is it really fair to compare degrees of pain? We were both suffering. However, today I think that person might have been right. You can create new memories, you cannot recreate a person. But I don’t think either is really easier to get over. Love is hard, but it shouldn’t feel impossible. It should never feel like an unbearable load. It isn’t pain. It shouldn’t hurt. It can’t be forced. Letting go is hard, it is painful, but so is staying.
Solution: As the song by Eric Paslay goes, “she don’t love you, she’s just lonely.” Sometimes it is important to understand the difference.
For Sunny, perhaps it is fear that the bottom will fall out. If you’re this happy then something has to go wrong, right? It always does, doesn’t it? There is a possibility that it won’t, but if you don’t provide yourself with the opportunity to see it through then it definitely will. People who desire love most are often very good at pushing it away.
A request from someone else for you to work on yourself may seem selfish, but it is indeed a selfless act. Don’t misunderstand, there is a degree of self-interest, “I want you to be better,” but “for you.” You can’t fully love someone else if you haven’t taken the time to fix yourself.
While a friend was visiting from Chicago she told me a quote her mother used to share with her that I would normally disagree with, but depending on the context I realized it actually makes sense. She said, “if you don’t know where you’re going, don’t move!” I’m a planner so I tend to agree with not making hasty decisions, but I also have a disdain for stagnation and believe that sometimes you have to walk by faith and make a leap. However, sometimes it is smart to stand still. For instance, when you’re running from love and happiness.
As humans, sometimes we become so engrossed in the pain of our past that we allow it to stifle our ability to move on in the present. We may even become so disenchanted with the pursuit of love that we begin to feel that maybe we don’t actually deserve to achieve it. Fact, you deserve to be loved! If you are in a situation where you feel as if you are about to become a self-saboteur and deconstruct a relationship that you have invested in then question what are the deep underlying issues that are causing you to want to strip away the layer of comfort that you have designed.
The ability to be alone is no easy task, especially if your memories and thoughts seem too heavy to bear. But, another person is never the answer. In the words of Bell Hooks, “knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” Your salvation and peace should never be placed in the hands of another person. A partner should add to your life, not establish it. If you don’t know who you are without someone else in your life, then it’s time to do the hard work of determining who you want to be. It will be hard taking a hard look at yourself, facing yourself, battling yourself, loving yourself, but it is most rewarding once you realize that the peace and happiness you so desperately seek can be found at the center of yourself.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time…
‘Love and hug more’
-Ms. Malcolm Hughes