There’s a relationship in my life that is, well, umm, challenging for me, to put it mildly.
This person and I do not see eye to eye on really anything. At. All.
External circumstances dictate that we have to relate to each other in some way, even if it is minimal and ( fairly) infrequent.
And (most) every time we engage, the conversations range from tense to downright hostile.
So the other day, we needed to discuss something and we were both headed down our habitual path of slinging insults and spewing venom ( Did I mention we really don’t get along?) when this thought popped into my head unbidden:
“Candace, what if he’s not a (total) asshole?”
I am certain this notion was Divinely inspired because I would NEVER have come up with it on my own.
We got off the call soon after and believe me I tried to make the idea go away. I argued with it. “Yes he is. Don’t you see all the things he has done to piss me off and make my life miserable?” I laid out my iron clad case like a trial lawyer defending a client’s life.
I put my metaphoric fingers in my ears and said ” LALALALALALA…. I’m not listening. I can’t hear you” . I squeezed my eyes shut really hard and shook my head from side to side because that totally worked for me in 2nd grade.
It was still there.
Eventually, I gave in and decided to listen to the message. It was this:
“He’s not an asshole. He’s a person who can sometimes behave in ways that you don’t like or agree with. Frankly, so can you. But this is only part of him. He has other parts that are decent. And so do you. You have to look at the total package, not just the pieces you loathe” .
This pinged around in my brain for a few days until i could feel it dropping down closer to my heart and gut.
I realized that I had related to so many people in my life ( and by people, I mostly mean men I have been interested in) in this very fractured way. I could see their potential while at the same time ignoring the parts of them that would eventually end the relationship. And when it did inevitably end, I would do a 180 and only see the parts of them that I could not stand. It’s because by telling myself what an asshole they were, I could justify ending the relationship. And it helped me harden my heart so that I would not let them hurt me…again.
I believe one of the things this download was asking of me was this: What if you did not have to armor your heart to keep from getting hurt, because you are actually the one who keeps yourself safe? What if you trusted yourself so completely that you knew you’d respond to each encounter with such fierce love for yourself? What if that meant you could relax and not walk around with your dukes up all the time around this particular person? And what if you did not need to justify anything?
Well, fuck again ( but in a good way this time).
This does not mean that I need to let this person into my life in any significant way. It does not imply that I need to be a punching bag or garbage can for their (toxic) waste when it arises. But what it does mean is that I can stand firmly in the grasp of reality and truth, neither villainizing nor aggrandizing them. I can see clearly who they are moment to moment and adjust my sails accordingly. Sometimes this may mean letting them out a bit, and at other times, I may need to pull them in tighter.
On a deeper level, I know this information was also asking me to look at how I relate to myself. If I view other people in a polarized way, I tend to see myself with that same lens. When I am able to widen the perspective and account for other people’s humanity and complexities, I am more able to do that for myself. The end result is that I walk around in the world with a softer, more open heart, knowing I can close all or part of it for as long as I need to whenever I need to. And then, in a new moment, I can unfurl it again.
Much Love ( with a now wide open heart),