How To Have An Unhealthy Breakup

First, start by keeping your mouth shut for as long as possible during the breakup. Does something bother you? Don’t mention it. It’s probably in your head. Or, it really is worth bringing up, but that time is when you should really not say anything.

Let it bubble up inside, and keep turning it over and over in your head. Vent to your friends, tell them all the dirty details about your relationship. They’ll take your side and tell you how right you are, how you deserve better. Remember that, you’re going to want it as fuel later. That’s good material to throw in your guy’s face.

From here, you have a fork in the road and you get to choose your own adventure. Path one leads you down the road of not saying anything until you explode and have a kick ass, drag each other down fight.

Path two leads to the same kind of fight. But you figure out ways to make him start it. Because in an unhealthy breakup it is way better to never say how you feel and to force him to do exactly what you want.

Should you choose the second path, buckle up for some fun. If you have been dating the guy long enough to know what pushes his buttons it is time to push them all. Pick fights for no reason and leave them unresolved. Insult his hair, manhood, fitness, ability to pleasure you. Compare him to other men you see and your ex boyfriends and let him know exactly how he does not stack up. Insult his mother. Get him drunk. You get drunk too, and make sure it is in front of his friends so your behavior can embarrass him thoroughly. Pull out every insult in the book. You do whatever you gotta do to get him to fight with you.

Now that you’re in the middle of the fight, pull out all the old skeletons. Anything that you’ve been holding on to, this is the moment to bring it all up. Use it all as ammo. List them off as all his offenses. Make sure he really looks like the bad guy. Use quotes from your friends to support your case. Bring up anything you haven’t mentioned and if you and he fought before bring up those issues too. Unhealthy breakups require you to use every issue you have and ever had and can make up in your head.

Make sure you get to the point of no return where there is no healing what has been said. Say all those awful things that will cut him to the core, make sure you cannot go back. Burn the bridges. Make sure you let him know what a bad guy he is.

Ah, freedom. Now you are broken up. Here comes the really fun part.

Cry. Cry all the time. Cry until your eyes are puffy and red and you’ve given yourself a headache. Cry in those big heaving moans and never stop. Annoy all of your friends with how much you cry. Do it in public places as much as possible, especially work and any restaurant, bars, parks or anywhere else you are a regular.

Speaking of work, let this completely distract you from doing a good job. Try to not cry at your desk, but only if trying to not cry is uglier and more awkward than actually crying. Run to the bathroom and cry loudly whenever you get a chance.

Go to the bar whenever you can, drink as much as you can. When you drink tell the bartender all about your problems and blame everything on your ex. Make sure you paint a clear picture of how much he wronged you. When you’re not sobbing to the bartender, try to pick up a dude to make you forget about your lousy ex. Because the only way to move on is to have another guy tell you you are pretty and take you home for meaningless sex.

This is important: Only pick up men that would make your ex jealous though. Does your ex wish he was taller, more successful, had more hair, could grow a full beard, was better in bed. Find a guy hotter, taller, more studly than your ex. There is a chance your ex just may see you going home with someone. Especially if you post something suggestive on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

So use your feminine wiles to go home with a guy. Do whatever it takes to go home with him because this is the only thing that will help you move on and feel good again. Once you get home, spill your guts about the ex, and cry in bed. Don’t go through with sex. Or start things and then start crying again so the man in bed with you feels really awkward. Tell him all about how great your ex was, what a man he was, and how things are so screwed up. Blame yourself if you want, try to look like a loser. This time, it is ok. Because in this part of the unhealthy breakup you really want to be awkward and to make everyone around you feel awkward.

Just when you think it is time to move on, call the ex. Try to get back together. Use every trick you’ve got. It may or not work. That’s not important. Just make yourself look pathetic and weak. Extend that feeling as long as possible.

Someday it will naturally get old and exhausting. Let that feeling come and give in to it. When you’re ready you can drop the awkward, pathetic and weak game. You can pull yourself together and go back to real life.

Here’s the catch: always hold out hope that he is coming back. Know that he will, because what you had was so special you wouldn’t have gone through all this trouble otherwise. He is the only one in the entire world. In a world of billions of men, he is the only one.

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Pinterest Helped Me Move On

I am not much for social networking. I think it is time consuming. I am also likely to stalk my exes on Facebook, become obsessed reading my favorite Tweets and spend hours on Pinterest assembling perfect outfits.

But I was flipping through Pinterest the other night and found someone’s board about mental health. I read through the posts and the pictures and the quotes. And there were hundreds. But it was like I couldn’t stop. I found each quote insightful and helpful. It was the kind of board I would have created for myself.

The posts were varied from general well being to love to work to passion to taking risks… Gosh I could go on and on.

Maybe it was all the repetition of the same idea over and over. Maybe it was finally hearing the same information for the gazillionth time. Maybe it is because I am a little dense and I needed to hear all of this a thirty-bajillion times. But it all finally made sense.

If it’s a struggle, if isn’t working, if it isn’t making you light up inside, if someone is trying to get out then it isn’t right. If a guy doesn’t see your worth it isn’t because you’re not worthy. It is his loss.

Is this the purpose of Pinterest? To help thick skulled women like me read quotes until my eyes cross and finally get the right idea? I can finally say with gusto “Screw him, he didn’t know what he was walking away from and someone else that deserves me is out there!”

Is this why everyone loves social media? We connect with people across the world, read their thoughts and what they deem to be important and we feel a connection because we like the same things?

Maybe it was what I needed to see after all these years. After all these years that I have been dating these nice, great guys and I hold on to the hope that if the timing changes then things will change. Yes, I am willing to admit that out loud. These guys break up with me because the timing is bad. So time goes by, things change. I hope that maybe we can pick up where we left off, well the good part of where we left off.

It comes from this place that I believe that I have already found as good as it is going to get and I won’t find any better. I think I was happy then and maybe that is all I can expect. Maybe happiness is limited and I already hit my limit.

These things are all false. There is no limit to happiness and there is no limit to love. And if things had been right in the first place, they wouldn’t have ended.

So as I scrolled I saw that I should seek bliss, because bliss is seeking me. Things in the past should be let go, otherwise they are anchors holding me back. Don’t be afraid to let go of good to find the great. I have to be willing to let go of the things I was settling for in order to find the greatness I am seeking.

There are great memories in the relationships I had in the past. That’s what they are, memories of the past. They are not hopes for the future. My future hasn’t happened yet so I can dream bigger than I ever expected from what I have had in the past. Those are the previews of whatever is to come. Maybe what is coming is beyond what I can imagine.

There is a lyric in a favorite song that reminds me “Maybe the best hasn’t happened yet.”

Because it hasn’t. The best isn’t behind me, it is ahead of me. I will let go of the past, let go of the hopes that I had for those relationships that they would magically turn into the perfect relationship that I thought it would be. That relationship that I am imagining is out there somewhere otherwise I wouldn’t be able to have this image of what I want in my head.

There was also a pin somewhere about if you can imagine it, it can exist.

 

The Friends That Choose To Not Say I Told You So

I was re-watching Eat Pray Love. It’s what I do when I am feeling a little emotionally distressed. And by emotionally distressed I just mean that right now I am going through that all-too familiar roller coaster that happens after a break up. Many more downs than ups right now. But it will end soon.

While in India her friend Richard from Texas tells her you have to choose your thoughts the way you choose your clothes in the morning. I have to strongly agree, and I know it is a practice that takes time. I believe you not only choose your thoughts but you have the power to choose who is in your life and to what extent you allow them in.

Thoughts have a lot of power. Before there is any action, there is thought. There is nothing that we do in our life that does not begin with a thought. And I believe our thoughts do send signals into the universe. They attract like magnets. So we must be careful what we choose for our thoughts. It could turn into an action or it could attract something to you.

Unfortunately I don’t think I always choose wisely.

I had a few friends that knew from the beginning that I didn’t really want this relationship, I wasn’t as happy as someone that was head over heels in love. I wasn’t letting myself fall fully the way someone does when they really like someone at the beginning of a relationship. I didn’t light up a room at the mention of his name.

One of my friends very bluntly brought this to my attention. And of course I rejected this. She was crazy. I had moments where I would light up. And I was completely smitten when he was around and in a happy bubble of just he and I.

But ultimately she was right. And she wasn’t the only one who tried to tell me, some more gently than others, that this wasn’t what I really wanted. I seemed too unsettled, too uncertain, too sad.

I heard them. I was upset by what they said, and I wasn’t ready to fully embrace it as a truth.

So what did I do? Instead of listening to the friends that knew me best, I stopped talking to them as much about my relationship. I told a few people about the relationship, but mostly I stopped talking about it.

Instead of choosing a relationship that made me happiest, I chose to shut out my friends from an important part of my life. Thank god they love me and know these things go in cycles. I come around eventually.

So here I am, the relationship has ended and of course I turn to my friends because that’s what girls do. And they listen to me, and console me, and let me cry if I need to. They remind me I am loved, I am worthy, I am living a full and lovely life. Never once do they say I told you so. I am sure they say it to each other behind my back, and that’s ok. It is called for because they were absolutely right.

So maybe at the time I really didn’t want to hear what they had to say and right now I need to hear words of comfort. Perhaps that is the mark of one type of good friend. There are the friends that tell you what you want to hear, but sometimes this isn’t what you really need. There are the types of friends that tell you what you need to hear. It is not what I always like to hear.

And what no one ever needs to hear is “I told you so.” Thank goodness my friends know this. Even if sometimes they tell me unpleasant news.

My First Video Post

This post is extremely scary for me. I talked about vulnerability yesterday, and this is me being extremely vulnerable. I didn’t do my hair, I didn’t fix my makeup, I cry.

I knew if I waited to pick the right outfit or the perfect makeup that I would never film this and I would never post it. I knew if I tried to edit this, it would never get posted.

But that’s how important I think it is for me to be sharing this. I want to tell me story, I want you to tell your story too and know that it is ok.

It’s honest. That was important to me. Hope you enjoy. Especially because this may become a regular thing.

(or not, I have to tell you uploading it wasn’t exactly easy!)

Men And Vulnerability

I am a really big fan of the TV show Parenthood on NBC. Parenthood follows the lives of the Braverman family. Its patriarch Zeke had a heart attack this season, and it has been pivotal for everyone. In a recent physical therapy session, his son Crosby stepped in to watch part of the session.

Zeke was walking on a treadmill and his therapist decided to challenge him by increasing the elevation. Then, Zeke slips and nearly falls off his treadmill. Zeke has an internal freakout and quickly gets out of the room before his dad can see.

He is flustered and uncomfortable. He isn’t quite sure how to handle watching his father slip and fall. This is his life long hero. He even tells us the audience after the session when Crosby recalls a story where Zeke scared off a bear from their campsite in Yosemite. This man is a real man, he recalls.

And yet right now Zeke is fragile, recovering from major surgery, and facing death. Even real men have weaknesses.

This moment made me think of something I had heard in a Brene Brown lecture. It was titled Men, Women and Worthiness. Brene Brown is a revolutionary researcher with two of the most popular TED talks of all time.  (watch for yourself here and here)

She studied how women deal with shame and vulnerability. She tells a story about a lecture at a book signing and a family approached her. She was worried that the man approaching her was going to let her have it and accuse her of being wrong. Instead, he told her that she should really study men because his family would rather see him die instead of watching him fall off his high horse.

That line stuck with me so much I memorized it. Men feel a completely different kind of shame and vulnerability compared to women, and in some ways it is worse. Women can show their vulnerability, when we feel awful we can let people know. Men can’t. It is never acceptable in our society for a man to be vulnerable. We have given them this identity as strong and silent, anything less is weak. And that’s a bad thing. Apparently?

When I was having my recent break up conversation, I wept openly when I felt like it. I saw the guy visibly choking back tears. I told him it was ok, he could be sad and feel however he wanted to feel. We knew everything about each other anyway, so there is no need to hold back.

I still think he held back. I think it is just ingrained in men to not show emotion.

I don’t know what the bigger solution to this is other than we women need to get a little bit stronger and make a little more space for men to feel. We have to make it safe. They won’t do it otherwise.

I think about making space in a very visual way. I think about stretching out my arms and wrapping them around a barrel and then stepping away from the barrel but the space is still there. That’s how I picture making safe space.

I imagine being strong enough to hold that no matter what. I think people need that sometimes. Hell, I think people need that all the time. Sadly I can’t be strong enough to do that for everyone.

But in my own way, that’s what I am hoping to do here. Make a safe space where you can just let it all out. We all feel. It’s ok. Just be honest and true to yourself.

That’s what I ask of the people in my life. Sometimes it is really hard to hold that space for them. When I really love a person, I am happy to do it though because I know how good it feels to have a safe space. And I think it is a gift that we give each other. I have a few people that I call on to do that and I am so thankful for them.

I think it is easier for two women to do that for each other because it’s this feeling of I cry, you cry, we all cry! It’s all even. It’s harder for men. Maybe they don’t cry. Maybe even in a safe space they don’t feel ready for that. It’s not tit for tat. But I don’t think that means we stop holding space. I think it’s going to take a lot of time to show men that it is ok. And it is going to take a lot of work for women to be ok with it.

I think we would all be a lot better off if we let men be more vulnerable.

I Have To Believe I Dodged A Bullet

My mother, bless her heart, dates men way beneath what she deserves. She knows this, both of us daughters know this, her siblings know it. But she keeps dating them because it’s hard to be an attractive, fun loving widow in their 60s. We cut her some slack for that, but we still hold out hope that there are men like my father out there and looking for someone like my mom.

She dates these men that are not good enough for her and she dates them for far too long. We believe it’s because she thinks she can change them. (Sidebar: Mom, please, please know that you can never change a man no matter how hard you try.) So these men have ranged from cheaters, men with restraining orders from an ex-wife (that he violated more than once and went to jail for it), alcoholics, and men that drive pick up trucks. Sorry to pickup truck men, we’re just not that outdoorsy, roughin’ it, off-roading, country-loving kind of family.

So she was dating this one guy for a little while. He seemed nice when I met him. I hadn’t heard any major red flags when she talked about him. (Hadn’t heard any red flags yet, one eventually shows up) And when those red flags started to wave my mom didn’t ignore them. She dumped him and said “good riddance.”

Honestly, she didn’t even tell me what they were. She sort of glazed over them as things she wouldn’t tolerate and accept in her life and said “I sure dodged a bullet, I’ll say that!”

And it felt like a weight lifted off my chest. My mom is growing up! She can see the red flags for herself.

So my mom and I had this conversation about how relationships ending means that we the women dodged a bullet and are given the opportunity to seek happiness elsewhere.  I haven’t heard such wise relationship words from my mom in a long time.

My mom wants to see me coupled up more than anything else. I think this is because she assumes a woman is happiest in a couple and will be taken care of by her husband. I think she worries about me, and having a man in my life means someone is going to look after me and make sure I don’t fall off the face of the earth.

And this is despite all my reassurance that I am happy alone. I am happy as a single woman. I am strong and capable of taking care of myself. While I would love to be in a couple because sometimes that is easier, I am not willing to make big compromises to who I am and what I want just to be settled down with some guy. I would rather be strong standing on my own.

She sees things differently. But that’s ok, to each their own. And mom and I are learning to agree to disagree.

So I think that is why I felt so relieved to hear her say she wasn’t willing to compromise herself and her values just to have a date on Saturday nights.

And I believe I also dodged a bullet. This relationship that ended recently was not without my share of hesitation. Sure, he pulled the trigger to end things but I was going to open up the conversation about the same thing. He just beat me to it.

He even acknowledged that I sometimes know him better than he knows himself. I know all his dark secrets and many of the skeletons in his closet. I listened patiently and with an open mind and an open heart when he told me about them. I accepted him as a whole person.

But that doesn’t mean that I asked myself often if I wanted to invite those skeletons into my life. Do I want to attach myself to a person that has to deal with all of that? It is a fair question. I have the power to chose who I welcome into my life, what I will and will not allow. Someone else’s demons do not have to be a part of my life. I can love someone but keep a boundary.

And when he chose to walk away, I can’t say that I felt immediately relieved. But it is nice to know that I can maintain a boundary and I do not have to make a life with those problems.

I dodged a bullet.

I wish I felt a bit better about that. But time heals all wounds, and this too shall pass. Another wisdom nugget that my mother tells me in tough times.

Those feelings will fade away. I have bigger and better things coming into my life, and if I had to cope with someone else’s problems maybe I wouldn’t be available.  So I’m going to say it now and I will believe it sooner or later.

I dodged a bullet.

 

Trust Your Intuition

I hate to admit this out loud, but I will because I think there is a valuable lesson. I knew my relationship was never going to last.

I don’t mean this in just a way that is knowing in hindsight. When you look back at something and you see clearly all the red flags that you missed. I mean a knowing gut feeling telling me there was an expiration date coming up- soon.

I think it is because I heard my gut speaking so clearly that I could take time to brace myself for the end. Then the end, while sad, wasn’t a surprise and wasn’t devastating.

I remember having a conversation about my search for my adoptive parents and he asked why I waited until now. I told him because I never felt ready to commit to what I wanted this to be. I never felt like I was emotionally ready for it, I wasn’t prepared to deal with the huge range of possibilities of what could happen-good or bad. And I suddenly felt a rock in the pit of my stomach. This guy was the same age that I was when I was debating about my adoption search and I wasn’t ready then. He probably isn’t either. He probably is not ready for me, he is still immature.

I don’t mean immature in a put down kind of way. I mean it as an accurate description of a younger man.

I knew then. I knew it wasn’t going to last.

I remember having a girls’ night where we went to see his play. I was extremely upset because I found out that one of the other women he was dating was going to be at the show and they already had plans afterward. Tickets had already been purchased, otherwise I think we all would’ve ditched it and went out drinking. So I had my girls around me, and at least I had support.

Over beers after the show the girls laid it all out. They told me it is basically over because of the difference in our maturity levels (there’s that immaturity again), he just can’t step up for me in the way that I deserve. The girls were extremely supportive, and said they will be there through whatever I decide, but I need to know that it is basically over I just have to choose when I want to end it. How long to I want to prolong this inevitable?

And it was a bitter pill but I knew it was what I needed to hear. I knew they were right. Otherwise I would have argued against what they said. But I didn’t. I took what they had to say and I sat with it and reflected on it, because in my gut I knew it was right.

I didn’t act on what my gut knew to be the truth right away. I like to think I am that person that follows her gut feeling. This time I didn’t because I didn’t want to change certain circumstances, he and I had plans together for weddings and other events, and I also decided I ultimately wanted to give him a chance to step up and prove me wrong. He didn’t prove me wrong.

That gut feeling is really all knowing. Especially when you trust it. The more you trust it the stronger it gets.

It was nice being reassured about the power of intuition this week in an email blast from Danielle LaPorte. Danielle makes business decisions based on her gut. And that was a huge, blow your hair back kind of moment for me. That is a big decision to make based on intuition. On just a feeling.

I know I doubt my intuition sometimes because it is just a feeling. I do I know I am interpreting it right? How do I know that it knows best? What if I’m wrong? What if I should work harder, try harder, push through?

I am too good at thinking through things and using my head and logic. I can force myself through situations if I think through them. I can convince myself of just about anything if I can logically believe it. This is extremely dangerous, especially in  love. And when it comes to listening to a feeling, it feels so ungrounded.

But that feeling truly is all knowing. It is coming from a part of myself that is wise, it already knows, it’s connected to the universe. I believe in a greater power, God or the Universe that has a plan for me. I believe intuition is tapped into that plan and it is our way of communicating with the greater power.

I am so afraid of making a mistake that I often do not trust that feeling. I am afraid that I misunderstand the message and that it makes no sense. Or that I will regret it later and a bridge is burned that I can’t go back down.

But I guess the point of trusting your gut is knowing that it’s putting you on the path towards something greater. It’s trusting your own wisdom, proving to yourself that you are wise and worthy of making big important decisions.

When the ex and I were having these bigger conversation about dating, life and love he would keep saying “I don’t know.” I hate that because it’s an easy out. I told him with a sigh “You already know. It’s just hard because it might cause change or pain. But deep down if you listen to yourself you already know.”

What he already knew was exactly what I already knew. We were over, we had bigger things in front of us than each other. And because my gut said the same thing, I can be sad that things are changing but I know that something much, much better is ahead of me so I can’t be that sad for long.

It’s just not worth it when there is so much to celebrate. Besides, if I’m crying all the time I won’t be able to see the opportunities!

 

Is Dating Affected By A Lack Of A Father-Figure?

I realized I have never had as boyfriend screened by that intimidating fatherly presence. I have never had to be nervous about introducing a boyfriend to my family because my mother is all too willing to see me coupled up.

Perhaps I should be thankful about this.

My father passed away before I ever had a single date. I remember going to my freshman year Homecoming with a  friend of mine, I remember taking the picture of me in my dress in the living room and my mom and I talked about what my dad would say if he were there. That picture, framed somewhere in my mom’s house, still makes me think about this every time I see it. Maybe that’s why mom keeps it, it was a happy night in a sad time.

I don’t remember if my friend picked me up at my house or if we met at the dance, but I remember thinking that my dad never got the chance to grill a boyfriend about his intentions. Not a single boyfriend was ever intimidated to treat me right or else. No one was ever warned about a shotgun in the shed (gosh that makes me laugh, my dad was the strong, silent, bookish type and he would have never own a gun), no one was intimidated by my father’s intelligence and looming presence.

I wonder if this has had any effect on my boyfriends. Do they treat women with more respect with the looming father figure? Does that layer of intimidation make them behave any better? Do they treat a woman with more respect after a father talks to them?

I know that the ones that I only date briefly and never get to meet my family are going to behave however I let them. And for a long time in my twenties I let them walk all over me. That’s all on me  (or maybe even that can be tied to not having a father in my impressionable teen years). But the serious boyfriends, the ones that I hoped would stick around. Would things be any different if they had met my dad?

Or, on the flip side, do they treat me differently because I am a member of the Dead Dad Club? Do they tip- toe around that subject? Do they handle me with kid-gloves?

I wonder if this hole could be filled by my friends. I wonder what would happen if my friends were more discerning and judgmental of the men I date. They meet many of the men I date, even casually. I wonder what would happen if they gave these men “the talk.” The intimidating, “take care of our girl and don’t hurt her or we are coming after you talk.”

And then there are the awkward politics of if this is coming from a male friend if it’s going to cause unnecessary jealousy. Not to mention that one of my closest guy friends is a cop. I have usually kept him away from men at first because there is a weird attraction undertone between the two of us, but neither of us is interested in dating the other person. But maybe the cop and close friend factor would be enough to test the intimidation question.

I wish my friends would be a tough critic. I wish they would sound the alarm when there is a guy that isn’t quite right. I wish they would stare the guy down and make him feel small and unworthy. Make him feel like he needs to prove himself.

I say all this and obviously I know that I should be pointing the finger at myself. It isn’t the fault of my friends or my dad that isn’t here. It would be awesome if I could blame my failed relationships on my friends that didn’t warn me, or the friends that told me “I don’t know what you see in him, I don’t see the two of you working out.” If they did, I wouldn’t listen. If they did, I would probably not talk to them as much. I would keep dating the dude, and I would make the mistakes and learn the lessons myself.

Nothing would change. I don’t think it would change a man’s behavior either. I think bad men will behave badly if they get a lecture from a dad, and good guys can still break your heart.

What needs to change is me. I need to be my own intimidating presence. I need to force the men to step up and prove themselves worthy of my time. I need to train the men to behave well, to treat me with respect. I will never have a shotgun in my shed but maybe I should start acting like I do.

People will always treat you with how you teach them to treat you. I need to teach the men to treat me better. Because I deserve better than half-truths, cowardly excuses and avoidances, half-lives, and half of their attention.

I need to start expecting more and not settling for less. When a guy doesn’t step up, he gets kicked to the curb. I don’t need anyone else to do that for me.

Time To Overhaul My Life

I could use a change just to shake things up. I am tired of playing the same games when it comes to dating. I am tired of men not valuing me. I’m tired of them not telling me that they value me.

I sporadically dated a guy over the winter that randomly texted me the other day. This isn’t unusual for me. And it’s not that I particularly cared that he contacted me, I didn’t care on way or another. I just chatted with him like I would with any friend that resurfaced. But then out of no where he started to go on about how amazing I am.

Well, this is different I thought. And it’s really nice to hear.

So I thanked him and left it at that.

But why is that so rare? Why is that so unusual for a guy to tell me how special I am, how fantastic I was when we dated. How I should never for a moment forget how unique and wonderful I am. (it didn’t feel this heavy-handed when we were texting but relaying it back it certainly does feel heavy handed)

I’ve been giving this whole topic a lot of thought lately anyway. I’ve taken a look at the men I date and I am disappointed in them and also in myself. I settle for a lot less than I deserve.

It’s time to overhaul my life and get rid of the things that don’t see my value.

I have read this advice for a long time and I don’t think it ever clicked until recently. Partially because I just started to realize that other people really do see my worth. Maybe I always thought that people would love me over time. They had to get to know me first and love and respect comes up over time.

I started a new job three months ago and I love it. I love how good I am at this job, it’s like it was made for me. I love where I am working. I love all the people I work with. I am working around some people that are at the top of their field and I get to learn from them. Plus I am around some sweet, hard working people that I can relate to because we are all trying to accomplish the same thing.

But you know what is even better? I am surrounded by a bunch of people that I immediately click with. Those people instantly “get me.” You know that feeling like when someone understands you without much effort on anyone’s part. That kind of ease I thought was so rare. But maybe it’s not.

Being around a bunch of people that support me and have my back no matter what has shown me what it really means to be loved. There are no questions asked. No explanation needed. they just know that I am awesome.

These people needed so little from me to justify why I am a great person. Maybe this sounds weird, but I am being absolutely honest. I thought I always had to prove myself to people.

So being around these people that automatically accepted and saw that I was a great person from the word “go” has shown me that there are still people in my life that don’t feel that way. They raised the bar. If I have to justify myself and explain myself then they will never get it.

It’s like telling a joke to people and you have to explain the punchline. They either get it or they don’t.

And I don’t need to hang on to the people that don’t.

I’m already dreading how painful it will be to let go of some people. Do I tell them that it’s over? Do I just stop hanging out with them? Do I have to explain that we just have to work too hard to be friends and we deserve to be friends with people that make it easy?

Whatever the answer to those questions may be, it feels like the right next step.

The other part that feels uncomfortable is knowing that if I ask these people to leave my life I am worried that there will be a hole. I’m worried that if I set the bar higher in my life for people that should love me for who I am (not just half love me) that nothing will fill up the space they have left.

Apparently it is a common thing to believe that a small amount of love is better than no love. But it is nearly impossible for them to describe what full love feels like. So if you are like me, you don’t even know that you are settling for just a little bit of love. People can describe what love feels like but it all seems like just words. Like mush that people just say.

But what I have come to learn is that we can’t grant the same access to our hearts to everyone. We must set levels and boundaries. If you imagine the way water ripples out when you drop a pebble. The smallest circle is closest to the center and the ripples get large and farther out after that. People that have proven to me that they can handle me deserve to be in the levels that are closer. There are very few of these people.

I think I am too liberal with who I allow this close. I allowed people into that inner circle that couldn’t handle me, they didn’t stick around when things were tough and they disappeared when I needed them. Or, even worse, they give the exact wrong support. There is nothing that makes me feel worse than someone that I turn to for support and think they’re being helpful by putting someone else down.

So I am getting stricter with my boundaries, stricter with who I let in to the inner circle. And I am ushering a few people into that really wide circle. They are an acquaintance that I will be familiar with but they don’t get the details of my life.

It’s hard because there are some people that I care about, but they just haven’t proven that they are worthy of my inner circle.

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Music Doesn’t Always Soothe The Soul

Sometimes music unnerves the soul. It rattles things and makes it all feel jumbled around.

You know how often we hear songs and we insist that they are describing exactly what we are going through in our lives? I get that all the time, I love listening to music and listening to the words that the songwriter chose. And god I love when a singer can really inflect their own emotion and passion into the song.

I spent few weeks listening to a dear friend sing this Amy Mann song (video below) and I managed to hold it together without getting emotional or crying or reflecting deeply on my life and my relationships.

And the lyrics feel like they were written for the predicament I found myself in during those few weeks. I was dating a total amateur. He was younger. He was careless and selfish. And yet I hoped for the best. I hoped he would be bigger than himself and that he would surprise me.

But he didn’t.

He was utterly predictable. He was, and is still, an amateur.

Maybe I am a little angry. Angry at him for disappointing me in my expectation that he could possibly be more that he really was. Angry at myself for an unrealistic expectation of another person that I knew so well.

So the lesson I learned here? People are exactly who they are. There are no surprises. When you really know someone, you actually do know that person and that won’t change. An amateur doesn’t become a pro overnight, there are years of practice. Sometimes you’re the one the amateur practices on (and gosh that sucks. It’s years of hearing guys tell you that they’re not ready for commitment and then suddenly they propose to the next woman they date.)

Today, I am angry. There might be some anger tied up in the fact that I did a video post and I can’t manage to get the damn thing to upload. Hopefully I figure it out, it has a wonderful revelation in the 4th quarter. I can’t wait to share it with you.