Tag Archives: Care

The Power of Letting Go

“There comes a time in a every person’s life when…”  These words can spark any number of thoughts and conversations.  And I’ve been having these conversations a lot lately.  And I’m realizing that the older I get those “times” are happening more frequently.

There’s something about the wisdom that tends to come with age.  And I don’t think it has anything to do with getting older in and of itself.  I believe that it’s just that when we bump our head enough times, we start to realize…  “Well, damn!  Maybe I need to stay the hell away from that corner.”  And the more times we go around a slightly different corner, but run into the same or similar snags we start to realize how certain “corners” tend to be connected.  And we learn how to better navigate our desired path.

I’ve had some recent experiences that have led me to some realizations.  Realizations that might seem “late” to some, but yet another realization that I’ve had is that we are all on our own time.  What may seem late to me may be long before someone else got the same understanding for themselves.  And yet another realization that I’ve had is that comparing one journey to someone else’s is completely futile, usually counterproductive and retards our own growth.

One realization is that as cruel as it sounds, there are certain people who are absolutely unworthy of you.  Have you ever spent time with someone and when you left them, you felt like you actually lost life?  That’s a BIG clue!  If spending time with them leaves you feeling like you just wasted actual LIFE on them, you might want to reconsider that association.

I’m not talking about the occasional trying time that a loved one goes through that leaves you unsure of yourself or your effectiveness in the situation (because anyone who’s ever loved long and deep enough will go through that at least once…either as a single incident or a season).  I’m talking about the person who always is a drain, sap, or mooch of some sort.  In this situation, rarely are you the focus or is your emotional temperature even taken.  If what’s going on with you doesn’t directly affect or impact them in that moment, they couldn’t care less.  Every time they come around, they always tend to assume the beneficiary role while they themselves offer very little, if any, support.

These relationships tend to be among our longest lasting relationships…because they usually develop long before we grow into ourselves and come to realize the true toxicity of the nature of the relationship.  And we finally wake up to a relationship that is there because there is a burdensome sense of obligation to the length of its history.  And we don’t want to appear that we’ve forgotten “where we come from”, or don’t want them to feel “left behind”.  But uh…this ain’t public school, and somebody’s ass NEEDS to be left behind!  What the hell WERE they doing while you were going through whatever your history involves?  Really think about it.  Could you have made it through that season without them being there?  Was what they offered in that season really worth what TODAY looks and feels like?

Hear me.  I’m not talking about a quid pro quo type of relationship necessarily, because in any relationship there are seasons of giving and receiving.  But just as a fowl sheds its shell, a snake sheds its skin, a butterfly sheds its chrysalis, and a baby sheds its womb…so must we learn to shed that which keeps us from growing into the fullness of who we are meant to be.  And of course this is harder than it sounds, but ooooohhh is it worth it!

I’m still having some separation anxiety in some cases, because the relationships are familiar and there IS history.  But the more I realize that the relationships served who I WAS and not who I AM and am becoming, the more I’m able to release the guilt of letting go and allow things to develop (or fall away) as they should.  And for someone like me (loyal to a fault, and prone to hold on beyond reason), this is a big deal.

It’s making me intentional about the relationships that I do feed.  I want to water those relationships that I value in my current awareness.  I want them to know how much I appreciate them.  I reach out (even if only seasonally) just to let them know I’m glad they’re a part of my life and where I am, and honored that they allow me to be a part of theirs.  My life is enriched because they’re in it.  And it’s not a constant barrage of love notes (although I can tend to be randomly sappy), nor do I necessarily share time in regular intervals.  But when that time does come, I enjoy them for not only what they do for me and/or my spirit but simply for who they are and choose to be.

The “other” relationships?  Well, they tend to show themselves.  And there’s usually not much we have to do to let them go, besides release our own guilt about not “feeding the cat”…and it will go away on its own.  But let me be perfectly clear…  I am not suggesting “testing” relationships, becoming lazy, or ditching out in a season that is designed to teach us how to endure stormy weather and/or learn how to better relate in times of frustration or disappointment.  This is not intended to be the coward’s out.  But not so deep inside (because it’s not rocket science, and not that dramatic) you know which relationships need to be released.

And in some cases, maybe it’s not a person.  Perhaps it’s a habit, or way of coping that we’ve outgrown.  Maybe it’s a way of thinking or doing things.  Maybe it’s a tradition or belief system.  Could be anything that we feel obligated to because it’s been a part of who we are for as long as we can remember, but somehow we feel like a liar or poser any time we participate in it.  I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know I’m not alone in this.

So in this season of resolutions and in the spirit of new beginnings, I’m being honest about my relationships…all of them.  I encourage you to do the same.  And in some cases, if we were to be honest with ourselves, maybe that means that people are preparing to let US go.  In those cases, we have to let them make the choice that’s right for them while still honoring their chosen path…even if that path doesn’t include us.  Again, much easier said than done, but true nonetheless.  This is not about ego, feeling “liked” or accepted, or hanging our emotional hat on who chooses to share time and life with us…it’s about being whole, being genuine, and being true.

I’ve heard it said that love sometimes means loving enough to let go.  Love yourself enough to let go…in every sense.

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Sharing Is Caring

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there is a lot of buzz surrounding love and expressing that love with those we care about.  Some of you may know that I’m doing more writing lately, and I’m getting back into the “songwriting gym”, so to speak, to exercise my creativity and be more accountable to who I truly am and what I truly love.  “Love” (and all of its myriad stages and phases) is a concept that has been and will always be a staple topic.  As I was writing, I was looking for a word to more accurately convey the concept of “carefully” falling in love (oxymoronic, I know) and the word “share” came to mind to replace “give” as it relates to the intimate matters of the heart and all other things precious.

Think about what it means to give.  First of all, in most cases, there are a number of preliminary stages that have already been successfully completed before a gift of any sort would even seem appropriate.  This means we trust at minimum that 1) the person receiving the gift will be a worthy steward of the gift they’re receiving, and 2) the gift is appropriate for the nature of the relationship.  Second, we don’t usually give trite or meaningless gifts…the gift always has some kind of value.  Whether it’s monetary, sentimental, or whatever…it means something, no matter how simple, because some level of thought and energy went into choosing the “right” gift for the recipient.  Third, when we “give” a gift, we release all claims to it once it’s transferred to the recipient.  We have absolutely no say in what the recipient does (or does not do) with what we give them.  We don’t even have a say over “how” they receive the gift.  S/he can graciously receive it, half-heartedly receive it, take it and put it on a shelf, lock it in a vault, frame/encase it for display, re-purpose it, eventually forget they have it, or even return it if it turns out not to be to their liking.  The same is true when we “give” our heart to someone.  [For the purposes of keeping this relatively brief and keeping it from turning into a “counter-Valentine’s-y” note (because a WHOLE THESIS can be written on this), I won’t delve further into that just now. Just…”SELAH” (a Hebrew term I like, which roughly means “pause and think on that”).]  But I believe we have all made this choice at one time or another.

Alternatively, we are taught from our earliest school years what it means to “share”.  And in an effort to validate my “aha!” moment, I found this definition of the word: “To allow someone to…enjoy something that one possesses”.  By this definition when we “share” something, we still retain what we’re presenting to another yet there is mutual enjoyment.  Therefore, when we share our heart with those we love, we don’t completely “lose” ourselves to the whims and vicissitude (found that word, too! LOL) of what we choose to allow our process of growing in love to become, but rather we continue to possess the fullness of ourselves while allowing another person to partake in and enjoy the same fullness.  Notice I said “retain” and not “restrain”.  It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re withholding a portion of ourselves (again, refer back to being appropriate for the nature of the relationship), it simply means we remain responsible for and accountable to our essential selves without offering ourselves as a “free and clear” token of sacrifice on the altar of ambiguity and the unpredictability of being a human being in love.  [And yes, we know that “perfect love casts out fear”, but since we’re not perfect neither is our love…so we must be realistic and recognize that trusting others enough to welcome them into the “all” of who we are (glorious and not-so-glorious) can be a scary thing…no matter how much each person thinks they know the other.]

On the surface it might appear to be a contradiction, because we are so accustomed to the idea that when we truly love someone (another “fluid’ concept), we must be willing to completely give ourselves without reservation in order for the relationship to work.  But if we consider the fact that there are more failed marriages and partnerships based on this premise, it stands to reason that some reassessment is merited.  As a society, we tend to romanticize what it means to be in love, putting almost the complete onus of our happiness in a relationship on the other person…this is EXTREMELY unfair and very frustrating – for both parties!  Because before we met Prince Charming or Princess Grace, we had a certain level of contentment (or discontent, as the case may be) yet we somehow continue to fall prey to the belief that once we meet “the one” all of our previous frustrations, disappointments, character flaws, or personal burdens will magically fade away…because “s/he will rescue me”.  [We’ll all deny it, because it sounds and IS ludicrous…but subconsciously, we subscribe to it in some degree.]  Yes, these discomforts feel lessened because we now have someone to distract us from focusing on some or all of these nuisances and/or to share these burdens of our lives with, but they don’t disappear altogether, and it’s impractical to expect it.

In all drinking ads, because of the various lawsuits there have been surrounding glamorizing drinking without encouraging responsible behavior, we hear or see the words “drink responsibly”.  I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage each of us to “love responsibly”.  Expecting our spouse or significant other to “fix” what a lifetime of living (including previous “mis-loves”) has done is irresponsible.  When we give our heart to someone, and (just like the child who brings a broken toy to someone they believe can make it work properly again) stand there and wait for them to return it in better condition than how we gave it to them, we set the relationship up for ultimate failure.  It is not their job to right all the wrongs previously done to us, or to overcompensate for other ill-fated experiences.  The most responsible thing for us to do is be honest about who we really are (faults and all) and what [we “think”] we know we bring to the table (our soulmate always manages to see more in us than we see in ourselves) and share that vastness with him/her…and prove ourselves worthy of having him/her do the same.  Care enough to NOT give yourself over to him/her…but rather consciously and deliberately share yourself, remaining responsible for your own heart and happiness.

I know…  We can all “argue” for or against either theory (because I certainly do still – after all, the various facets of Love and matters of the heart and soul are as infinite as the Source of creation).  So whether you plan to share your heart with someone this “love season” or not, it’s just something I was thinking about…and I thought I’d “share” it with you.