Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Balance, Self-Respect, and Moving On

It's come at me from several different directions this week, the idea of letting go.  The idea of knowing when to stop beating a dead horse into the ground. The idea of knowing when enough is enough and when it's time to pull yourself up, develop some self-respect, and move on.

This is a hard issue for me to get my head around.  I have feelings about it coming at me from all sides.

I'll never let go
We prize loyalty.  And I think we should.  But we also convince ourselves that we prize blind loyalty, the whole "I will stick by your side, no matter what" sort of attitude.  On the one hand, that's noble. To accept someone for whatever crap they throw at you, that takes a deep loyalty and capacity for forgiveness that I admire. We revere Jack in "Titanic" for floating in the ice-cold ocean, all the while reassuring his beloved Rose that he'll never let go.  It's sweet, it's loyal, it's romantic.  But, guys, Rose was a whiny pain, and Jack became fish bait. Is fish bait the most respect we can give ourselves?

A good friend of mine had this to say this week and it resonated deep within me (I was going to edit this to make it shorter, but I can't find any part of it that I'm willing to part with):

I think that in many cases where a person is trying to decide whether to let go of someone, the relationship has reached a point of imbalance. Imbalance isn't healthy. Imbalance sucks at your mental health and your sense of worth. Imbalance means you're giving more than you're receiving, or vice versa, and every one of us deserves to be in - and our heads should demand from our hearts - relationships that are balanced. If the other person has stopped giving back what we need, we can't change them. It's then that we have to slap ourselves and demand that we recognize our own worth. We are worthy of having relationships in which we're getting what we give! Balance balance balance. Yes it's hard, because we're not just giving up the relationship but also all the hopes and dreams we had for that relationship. But each of us has a responsibility to ourselves to treat ourselves with kindness.

Yet on the other side of the coin, I know that there have been times when I've been the one who's hoped for loyalty.  I've been the one who's been selfish, who's screwed up. I've been the one who's been grateful that someone else waited long enough for me to come to my senses and get off my raft floating in the ocean to SHARE it with those alongside me.

But even then, I suppose, that's when it's become balanced, hasn't it?

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