Life after love: it was broken anyway

Moving on, getting over it, and becoming yourself are all the same thing.

It’s spring and I think snow won’t visit Toronto again for a while. I’ve been filling my life with work and people. I’ve learned to say “no” as much as I say “why not?” I’ve learned that people look at me through the lens of their own fear and expectations, and that those are the things that I experience as isolation in a relationship. And I’m learning – little bit by little bit – that connections need to be formed with great care. You can’t fall into them by accident, but you can do a lot to make yourself ready for them.

Boundaries aren’t for keeping people out; they are for showing them where the door is.

No one can ever be in your head. No one can ever “just get you.” Expecting that is unfair. Instant chemistry is the same kind that flames out before it becomes deeper. Becoming enmeshed with another person can make tread the line of forgetting who you are when you swim in the ocean of someone else’s experience for too long.

Boundaries are about keeping yourself contained. You should push them, but you have to know where they are – how strong they are – or you can spill over and lose part of yourself. Boundaries are only ever going to help you feel certain about yourself and know what’s right and good for you. I’m still working on mine, and I always will be: pushing them and building new ones as I stretch outwards and build new doors. It’s an exciting project.

Life after love (fraud)

Seeing my relationship end and not having the kind of emotional truth I needed from the person I loved put me into crisis. I truly felt I had been duped, that a fraud had been perpetrated against me – and I don’t doubt that this happens to some people.

I could still believe that that was my experience, and there would be some truth in it. What I choose to believe, though, is that I am at the centre of my experience and anything that happens to me is mine to use, to build on, and to adapt. How I choose to do that determines who I will become; and we are always only becoming someone in this life. We never arrive at a final destination where we can stop and say “this is who I am.”

It’s about power and who has it

I think you can apply the notion of power over yourself to any situation: control of your mind and your feelings is the most we can ever really hope for (add your body to the list, but understand that your environment exerts a lot of influence over your body).

I gave up control for a while. Maybe I had to learn what it was like to be without it and that to expect someone else to be responsible for me, even temporarily, was too much to expect. Discovering why I would do that is another matter, but the upshot is that it takes an incredibly strong and resilient person to accept accountability for someone else’s feelings. It is a lot to ask of someone even if they love you.

It’s not too much, mind you, when you have a strong foundation and a great deal of trust and rhythm in your relationship. But, if you’re willing to give that much of yourself over to someone without a very solid emotional bridge between you, you run the risk of falling into the abyss that bridge is meant cross. Best to come up with strategies to test the bridge before you rush across.

So take back your power over yourself. Be accountable for yourself. Earn the trust of others by demonstrating your self-sufficiency, which you have, in spades if you choose it.

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