The Dysfunctional Dream

How many of you are familiar with rejection? – I am guessing everyone.

From little daily nuances in society to the beast of them all; heartbreak.

And why do they call it heartbreak? – Because it literally feels as if your heart is being ripped from your chest.

But why does it feel so physical?

“The answer is — our brains are wired to respond that way. When scientists placed people in functional MRI machines and asked them to recall a recent rejection, they discovered something amazing. The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal (albeit, emotional) pain.” – Guy Winch

Makes sense right?! Sure.

What still puzzles me though is the question of what causes one particular rejection to feel more or less earth shattering than another?

Law of attraction would answer, that the further out of alignment your thoughts are with that of well being the worse you feel about the catalyst of those feelings. So, if our thoughts determine our emotions than everything is self fulfilling…

That’s heavy and it kinda sucks in a way.  That would mean that we hold ALL responsibility for the way we feel.

But it doesn’t have to suck. It just depends on how you look at it.

Through the filters of modern society, we tend to feel helpless. We are conditioned to rely on others for validation.

Think about it.

We are brought into this world codependent & helpless and continue through life seeking the approval from those around us.

No wonder we struggle. We are, as Abraham would say, “looking for love in all the wrong places”.

The power we seek is not in the love we receive from others, but rather in the love we have for ourselves.

But how does this help to answer the question of what causes one particular rejection to feel more or less earth shattering than another?

Fear.

I think Don Miguel Ruiz explains it best in the excerpt below from The Four Agreements.

“Every human has an emotional body completely covered with infected wounds…The mind is so wounded and full of poison by the process of domestication, that everyone describes the wounded mind as normal. This is considered normal, but I can tell you it is not normal.

We have a dysfunctional dream of the planet, and humans are mentally sick with a disease called fear. The symptoms of the disease are all the emotions that make humans suffer: anger, hate, sadness, envy, and betrayal. When the fear is too great, the reasoning mind begins to fail, and we call this mental illness. Psychotic behavior occurs when the mind is so frightened and the wounds so painful, that it seems better to break contact with the outside world.

If we can see our state of mind as a disease, we find there is a cure. We don’t have to suffer any longer. First we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely. How do we do this? We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for injustice.

Forgiveness is the only way to heal.”

It sounds logical and simple enough, but I think we can all agree it’s not.

I would love to tell you that I have mastered the art of forgiveness, conquered my fears and cured my diseased mind, but that would be a big fat lie.

What I can tell you is that I know what it is like to feel alone, helpless and out of control; to constantly be reaching for a peace that never comes. I fight with my thoughts daily and sometimes it feels as though that inner voice is not my own.

In moments of great weakness, I begin to listen to that voice, that poison, dripping slowly from my open wounds. Reminding me of how I always end up this way; disregarded and alone.

The darkness becomes warm and familiar in the face of yet another failed attempt at happiness.

Not too long ago in fact, I took a little stroll down memory lane and found myself in the darkness.

After the most recent prospect of love crashed and burned, I was left feeling hopeless. I was exhausted of letting people in and being let down, of always being the one reaching for another, when no one ever seemed to be reaching for me.

And I couldn’t understand why this one hurt so much more than the one before. Especially because it was casual, no empty promises or deep confessions of love like with the one just before.

Perhaps it was the abrupt ending or the strong foundation of trust and communication it was built on that contributed to the gravity of it all.

Alone in the dark, I replayed the memories of our time together, looking for something I did that caused him to change his mind. Was it something I said, the way I looked, how I dressed…?!

I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what was wrong with me and why everyone found it so easy to walk away. Why didn’t I matter?

After some painful soul searching and ugly crying, I found myself numb.

It was just for a moment, but it was enough of a relief to allow a wave of sanity to roll through my head.

I had just purchased another copy of Ruiz’s, The Four Agreements and in that moment the cover of the book flashed in my mind.

Flipping through it, I found the excerpt above (can you guess what inspired this post?).

I realized that these current feelings of abandonment, neglect and disappointment go back much further than this most recent rejection. And I believe now that it was the level of connection with this person that triggered the opening of old wounds. I have only had that type of connection with one other person in my life and they left too.

This was the first time, I felt like I could fully trust someone again after all that time.

With the last person I fell for, I was always on guard. I never fully let him in. When it ended, it hurt, but not like this. Not like every muscle in my body was twisted up in knots.

This time, I allowed myself to be vulnerable and got completely caught up in the excitement of the moment. It all felt easy and fun, no pressure or obligations, just pure enjoyment in being close to one another.

When everything came to a crashing halt, so did I.

But that’s how we learn right?!

“First we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely.”

It’s funny  how we convince ourselves that sparing someones feelings as best you can in love and war is better than a clear cut rejection like, “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the same way.”

Sure, the knife goes in a bit deeper, but it twists less and after all isn’t that what prolongs the torture and agony of a broken heart?

For example, years ago, a guy told me he really cared for me but that he didn’t want to do the whole relationship thing. He has had two girlfriends since then, one of which he is currently dating. I kept hanging on to the idea of us, thinking that someday the timing would be right and it would all work out.

I don’t fault him for it, it is hard to look someone in the eyes and tell them you don’t love them. It’s like leaving behind a stray dog or telling a kid their parakeet died…not a pleasant experience.

Would it have been nice to know months earlier that he just wasn’t that into me, sure, but I learned a great deal about myself in the process and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Seems like so long ago now, I remember there was a time I thought I would never get over him and now he is just someone I used to know.

When we are feeling broken, we have a tendency to cling to the smallest shred of hope that someday everything will work out…

Here is where the hard truth comes in.

In most cases, someday never comes.  Trust me.

It is best to be honest with others and yourself in times such as these.

Clinging to the past, clouds your judgement, hinders your growth, and more importantly, prevents you from moving forward.

Embrace the chaos of opening old wounds. You have to remove the poison before they can fully heal.

“How do we do this?

We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for injustice.

Forgiveness is the only way to heal.”

 

Advertisements

The One – A Very Short Story

It occurred to him in that moment that she might be the one. There was something undeniable in her eyes, pulling him closer with every glance. And her touch…well, it was as if there was magic in her finger tips; tender, just as her heart.

Unfortunately, it had also occurred to him that he might not be ready for a love like that. It was surely a dilemma indeed. So instead, he walked away.

For surely it was better to break her heart now, than to save it for another day. And broken it was, broken was she.

For he not only kept her from himself, he took her away from this world. The light in her eyes has dimmed and there is  no more magic to be found. The day she was disregarded was the day her world went dark.

There is no going back now.

He should have told her then, but he was a coward. Too afraid to say what needed to be said.

And now, those are the words he would give anything for her to hear.

They would have saved her.

They would have saved him.

But instead, they will forever be unspoken.

 

 

And…Why Are You Asking Me??

I have a hard time not chuckling when someone comes to me for relationship advice. Sure…let’s ask the one chick we know who has been single for longer than anyone else over the last decade…I bet she has it all figured out.

Ummm…does anyone else see how hilarious that is?!?!

I mean, I’m flattered, but uh…what is it about my love life (or lack there of) that leads you to believe I may be the best one to give you advice?

And by single, I don’t mean I have not/am not dating, I am simply referring to being non-exclusive and/or non-committed.

Which is funny in itself, because usually I don’t see more than one person at the same time (well…depending on how much I’m digging that one person).  So I guess most of the time, I have essentially been mentally “committed”, but that doesn’t mean the other person was/is…you get what I’m saying.

These days labels seem to be insanely important to everyone, but as you know I don’t subscribe to the need to be like everyone else.

In my opinion, until you have both clearly laid out the boundaries of your relationship with one another, you are for arguments sake (and I mean exactly that), technically, single; free to do whatever or whoever you chose…

This is where dating gets tricky and those pesky feelers come in.

Say you start seeing someone, no lines have been defined other than at the very beginning when you acknowledged your feelings, but agreed to keep it casual.  A few months go by and things are still going great. There is no pressure on either of you to see the other, but when you do it’s amazing…everything just falls into place. You are happy with everything just as it is.

Then the subject comes up with a friend.

“So you guys are dating then?”

(And btw…I kinda find that a rude question to ask. I mean know it is not intentional, but it really puts someone on the spot to define something they might not yet be ready to define.)

You give them your “well…we haven’t really talked about that, we both have a lot going on…taking it slow, yada, yada, yada” speech and you are met with a

“Hmmmm…so your both free to sleep with whoever you want then?”

I mean, he’s right…but why did he have to say it? To put that thought in your head and muck up your comfort-ability about the whole situation.

As I said before, in my opinion, until you have both clearly laid out the boundaries of your relationship with one another you are technically, single; free to do whatever or whoever you chose.

So the answer to your friend is… I don’t know and I don’t want to know. Technically, it is within the boundaries laid at the beginning if he is, but that doesn’t mean I want to know about it and on the other side of things, I am not sure he would want to know if I were to either. If this should develop into something long term, do we really want to have something like that clouding up what is currently new, fun & exciting?

And that right there is why I hate labels!!!

As humans, we put so much power into our words and technicalities. Life just isn’t that black and white.

For example, take the label of committed/exclusive. The words themselves, already give one the feeling of having something taken away from them. The inclination that you will lose your freedom and suddenly need to devote your entire existence to this one person… Whoa, now that is scary! Any relationship that operates in that manner doesn’t seem like a healthy one to me.

Shouldn’t two people sharing their lives together be the addition of greatness, rather than the taking away of opportunity.  When I think about sharing my life with someone, I am excited by the attributes &  ideals they bring to the table. I look forward to discovering what we can create together, rather than worrying about what will be taken away.

One may argue that being committed/exclusive to one person is exactly that; the inability to experience anyone else.

I disagree, it is when loving only one person becomes enough.

Let’s face it, if you are worrying about losing a part of yourself or your life by devoting yourself to someone else,  than either you are not mature enough to be in a truly meaningful relationship or the person you are getting into it with may just not be right one for you.

When you love someone, you want to see them succeed in all they do and the last thing you would ever want to do is stand in their way.

You don’t look at them and wonder what they can do for you, but rather ask yourself, how you can help them achieve their dreams.

And when I say not “mature enough” I am referring to the wisdom you gain from previous relationships as well as the independence you embrace from being single. With every failed attempt at love, you learn more about what you desire in a partner and become more secure in who you are as an individual.

You become less dependent on the actions of another, less concerned about the amount of time between text messages, phone calls, etc.

If anything, there is great relief in knowing that this person is also independent, driven & capable of functioning without constant reassurance from you that they are loved.

Sure, we all have that little demon in the back of our mind creating those “what if” scenarios rooted in our insecurities, but we can chose to silence them.

How? It’s not easy.

I think no matter how independent we are, as emotional beings there will always be a part of us that longs to be loved and it can be hard to overpower at times.

What helps me is to remind myself that what I want is not always what I need (as time has proven over and over again). Do you know how many times, I thought to myself, “He is the one!” And yet, I am still single…

I remember sitting by my phone…distracting myself from life as I waited for some small confirmation of love.  For so many years, I put my life on hold because I was waiting on someone else to give me what I needed to find in myself.

And once I did, it was like coming up for air. The time I have spent with myself over these past few years as a single gal, has been the growing experience I needed to as cliche as it sounds, “find myself”.

There is an abundance of security in knowing that I have shed the shackles of co-dependency in love. As well as the strong belief I hold that what is meant to be will always find a way.

Obviously, the worry demon still rears her ugly head from time to time, but then I simply assure myself that no matter how it all works out, I’ll be absolutely fine in the end and I will most likely learn something from the situation.

That having all been said, if I were to sum up my advice (although, I am still not sure your asking the right person :)), I would do so in two words: patience & understanding.

Patience – There is no need to rush. Forcing something or someone before it/they are ready can cause you to miss out on the joy of the experience and ruin what could end up being perfect when the timing is right. And besides, if the person you desire really is who you are meant to be with, you will have a lifetime of memories to make with them, don’t lose sight of how precious your time with them is now.

Understanding – Be easy about yourself and others. Those who love you only want what is best for you, but you need to be strong enough to express to them that you have a way of looking at the world & relationships differently. It does not mean that their way of looking at things is wrong, it is just not for you.

Define the relationship when you feel comfortable and until then, revel in the experience, immerse yourself in the joy and don’t worry so much about how it will all work out in the end. Your living in the now, embrace it!

Another Foolish Blunder

If you’d asked me why I bother, I’d tell you honestly that I really don’t know.

It should be common knowledge by now that I am not meant to lead a normal life.

Nor am I meant to love or be loved in the usual way.

I’ve said it once before and have found no truer words to describe the disappointment of late.

“…this feeling of constantly searching for your place in a world that will never understand you.

You are different and that is all there is to it.

There comes a day when you realize that you are among the strange. Unique to the composition of your current reality.

The intensity by which you feel will frighten even the bravest of lovers. So you walk alone.

Knowing in your heart that no one is coming to save you. That job is entirely yours.”

I am a prisoner to my own mind these days.

A fault that is purely my own.

For I thought perhaps something had changed.

For a moment it felt like maybe there was more to this life than just being strange.

But…thinking like that will only leave you weary

And I am already exhausted by the hope for something more.

Insulted by my own foolish blunder.

Angry at myself for acting against my better judgement.

Allowing myself to be vulnerable.

After all, I should know better than that.

Breathless

Deep within the recesses of my soul

It is almost as if I can feel you

Longing for me

Craving my touch

Wishing…

That I was by your side.

It is as if we are connected

Joined by the heart

But surely that is not possible

Or is it?

For I am longing for you

Craving your touch

Wishing…

That you were by my side.

Can you feel it?

This love

Pouring from my heart.

For I know not how

But I can

And it takes my breath away!