How do you reconcile loving someone, caring for them but feeling incredibly disappointed by them or something they’ve done? I think we all know that feeling, the feeling of being let down, and worse, by one of your favorite people. How could they? Didn’t they know this would hurt me? Didn’t they consider this or that? You get the point. Sometimes people who care for you are going to hurt you, this can be intentional or unintentional, the outcome, your feelings, are still the same. This is an absolute truth, in my opinion, everyone is going to disappoint you at some point. No, I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist-ish. I’m sure I’ve disappointed people I care about, its human nature, to be imperfect. We’re flawed, we’re going to make mistakes…loving someone, caring for them, it doesn’t exempt us from the possibility or the ability of hurting them, if anything it gives us more power to do so. How ironic that the ones who love us have more power to hurt us than strangers. Love, friendships they equate to trust…they say “I trust you not to hurt me.”…we all know how fragile trust is. Not everyone can or will keep the promises they make.
Here’s what I struggle with, knowing we are all, at one point or another, going to disappoint or let down someone we care about. How many chances do we give people to show us who they really are? How many excuses can we make for why people are the way they are, and how long should those hold up? At the end of the day, they are still who they are, and if they’re hurting us, do their circumstances or “reasons” for “why” really matter? I can empathize with someone’s story, their reasons, I can make excuses for, and/or rationalize their behavior, I’m the master at it. I’m loyal to a fault, a golden retriever with a job, a blog, walking around on two legs. That’s me!
I’m also a bit of a walking contradiction, though, because I’ll admit to being hot-tempered. When someone upsets me, they know about it. I wish I could be better about waiting to see how things shake out before reacting but I’m very fight or flight. That’s where I am now, I have a short fuse for anything I feel is unjust or unfair. Feeling disrespected by anyone hurts me, angers me, but when this comes from someone I love, I can hardly stomach it. I hate this about myself. I know all of my experiences have made me who I am, how I am, but this doesn’t excuse my behavior. Acknowledging the behavior, our imperfections, allows us to work on them. Knowing why we are the way we are is a part of that up hill battle to becoming a better version of ourselves. My words can be sharp when I’m hurt, I don’t want to be that person, I don’t want to hurt people because they have hurt me. I love hard, but the opposite is true for me, too. Truly, the thing I hate most about myself and the thing I want to work on the most, more than my abs (I’m just kidding, I don’t have abs).
There are so many people who I believe to be good enough people, that’s the thing, I see the good in everyone, I try to. I care for people, I would help them if I they needed me, even if the people I’m referring to have let me down, I still see and love their good. People just are who they are and we can love them but not love their behaviors. We can’t expect from others what we’re willing to give, or do. I say that, I know it, I just need to live it, to learn to not take things personal. It’s a blessing and a curse, to be as sensitive, as passionate as I am. I give with everything I have, I pour myself into everything I do and some only give bits and pieces, they have their reasons and I have mine.
I’m not sure I would trade places with someone less like me, though. I love how deeply I love, how deeply I care for people even though that sometimes leaves me with a great deal of pain, anger. I’m not better or worse, just different. Here’s what I’ve learned, I get to decide who hurts me, and how often that happens, whether it’s intentional or unintentional behavior. I’m famous for giving people too many chances or overlooking my own feelings for the sake of friendships. Lately my fuse is shorter than it used to be. I no longer have the time or effort for those who don’t have the same for me. I no longer have space in my life for people who only have space for me on their terms, when it works for them. I’m a person, not a thing to be picked up and put down at will. Again, not one way is the right way but just like they get to decide, so do I. I choose not to be a “thing”. I choose to be a person with high expectations and I choose not to settle.
I’m taking control, I’m learning a new skill, I’m teaching myself to love certain people from a distance. Part of me working on myself, making myself a better version of myself, is letting go of what I know is inevitable disappointment. In some cases that means letting go of people, people I wish I didn’t have to let go of. But people are who they are and I know some of these people are going to hurt me, I can’t love that out of anyone. Yes, this golden retriever still believes some of these people truly care for me. We’ve all heard it “you can’t fix people, you can only love them”. Well, we are all a little bit broken and who am I to say who needs fixing or not? I know who I love, I’m starting to know myself, love myself. Now I’m trying to learn who I can love close and who I need to love from a safe distance.
If I choose to love you from a safe distance, I hope you know it’s still love, it’s just the kind of love that doesn’t hurt me anymore. I like the idea of loving you, rooting for you, letting go of anger and just taking care of myself. I hope you know I am still “there” and if you love me back, you’ll be proud of me, and that’s where you’ll want me.
Xo – Steph