I have come to realize that life is all about choices.
We’ve bookmarked quotes, read books on the topic, watched TV shows, and yelled amen when it was preached in church. We know this. We know that life is not a series of events that just happen, out of the blue but a long series of yeses and nos we made along the way. One yes could mean an entirely different outcome while a no may close a door forever.
I’m never indecisive. I strongly believe in making choices immediately without blinking an eye because while I know that consequences to choices made are critical and should be given much thought, time is of the essence. I don’t understand the point of overanalyzing or overthinking an answer to a question, I just go for it and hope that life will go the way that it should.
So far, so good.
What I failed to realize however is this: the causes of my pain is dependent on my choices as well. I never realized that I could stop playing the victim, that while people so close to my heart have hurt me repeatedly, I can choose to stand up and say, “This won’t hurt me anymore.”
I thought the only way to stand up to someone who has been so emotionally abusive for so long was to scream and shout (naks, mala Britney Spears and Will I am) and make my emotions felt. But screaming & shouting only fueled the fire for that person to hurt me more. It gave the person reasons to put me down, and use words to destroy me.
For someone who told me they loved me, squashing my happiness was rapidly becoming a hobby. No effort was recognized, and every little mistake criticized. For the longest time, I longed for a love that would just appreciate, and yet I have found myself constantly attracted to people who treated me the same way. People I had to please and who easily turned their backs on me the moment I did something that they didn’t approve of.
It was a pattern obvious in my life, and I accepted it without realizing that I had a choice about it. I had a choice to avoid these people by all means, and choose people who love me for me. Most importantly, I had the choice to constantly try to please people by saying yes all the time or I could be brave enough to say no once in a while, with the fear that people would leave me if I didn’t give in.
I didn’t realize that the years of being told I couldn’t & I wasn't good enough took its toll. I suddenly became deathly afraid of people, and I showed in ways that weren’t so nice. I didn’t realize then that they were all connected. As a teenager, I couldn’t understand why I was so angry all the time, and why I needed the attention. Everyone else was the problem, not me.
Today, I realize it was a cycle that was being repeated, but today, I also realized that it’s a cycle that I had the power to stop it.
It was a bad habit: only developing friendships with unattainable people because I felt that I could never be deserving of someone nice, heck even someone who was even remotely polite. Starved of love (for the lack of a better term), I often find myself surprised when people actually want to be friends with me. And whenever relationships fail, it’s my fault. I never, not even once considered that maybe, it wasn’t all me.
Again, it was a choice. I could choose to let this pattern in my life continue. I could constantly hang my head low, consumed by insecurities, afraid of intimacy, and afraid to share the real me because I felt I wasn’t good enough. I could continue to apologize for things I didn’t even do or I could simply accept that sometimes you don’t get the love you deserve.
Sometimes, the people who are supposed to understand you, love you, and appreciate you don’t. I could spend my entire life fighting against it, or I could simply accept it for what it is and move on.
Denying what is only prolongs the pain and all the baggage that goes with it. Quiet, reserved strength that accepts people for who they are and what they can or can’t give you is what gets you to the next chapter of your life minus all the baggage of years past. I could spend a large amount of years crying over what has not been given or I can choose to say thank the Big Man up there that at least I still have the rest of my life ahead to make up for what has or hasn’t happened before.
I could constantly allow people to hurt me or let them go and simply be thankful for the rare moments they show their love. They have issues of their own, but I’m in charge of my happiness now and I no longer expect them to contribute to mine.
I guess, this is the beginning to the liberating love I once defined as impossible. It’s a love that bears, endures, and accepts all things. It’s the love that no longer punishes when not returned nor is it a love that forces me to please someone who is difficult to please.
Maybe, by realizing all this and putting it on virtual paper, I am finally giving myself the choice to not get hurt. That maybe, I no longer have to flinch every time I’m treated differently than I should be, every time I’m criticized, put down, blamed, or simply looked over. I could spend years crying, blaming, and shrinking, or I could look past it, accept the reality and no longer be surprised by it.
Words may fail me today, but my heart understands the words I’ve strung in the past hour.
It’s time to stop fighting battles I know I would never win, and stop competing for a prize I would never win.
It’s time to stop asking people to complete me, and love me the way I think they should, and simply accept that the love of the One who created the Universe is more than enough for me, and most importantly, He breathed in me a different kind of strength that can face life head on with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.
It’s also time for me to accept something I’ve never thought was possible: I’m not irreparable beyond repair, and the words I’ve heard and will hear from the people I’ve given my heart to, will not take that fact away from me.
I’m not a lost cause and I am worthy to be loved.
Finally, I am beginning to see the light and I hope in my heart, that you do too.