I’ve never seen any transformation in my life that didn’t begin with someone getting tired of their own bullshit.” – Liz Gilbert
Once upon a time I gave my heart to a man. And I gave it to a woman, my best friend. And actually I gave my heart to just about anyone who needed it. My whole heart. All the people I loved in my life were people who were struggling–crippling insecurities, legal problems, betrayals, getting in trouble in school and outside of it, hard family lives, alcohol, drugs, anger problems…
If you are the company you keep, well then I wasn’t a very good one. I gave these people everything I had–full access to my life, unquestioning trust, support in fighting their battles no matter how wrong they were or how many problems I created for myself in the process, a place to stay when things got rough, and above all else, love. An unconditional-I’d-do-anything-for-you-and-never-ask-for-anything-in-return-kind-of-love.
Because being needed felt good. And because somewhere deep down I didn’t feel I was enough unless I was constantly being reminded of how much I mattered by someone else.
Well time and time again, I’d find myself making enemies in the process–their enemies. I’d get in fights on their behalf. I’d disappoint my parents. I’d have my heart broken over and over because of course they never had anything to give me in return. And then one day this man I loved got kicked out of his house so I called my best friend who had notoriously absentee parents (mine weren’t) and asked if he could spend the night in her spare bedroom. She said yes. And that night he cheated on me with her. It’s taken me nine years to write about this and I still carry it with me. That night the two people I had chosen to love most in the world showed me how much I didn’t matter to them. I felt empty. Alone. Dissapointed. Worthless.
All the good people I knew were no longer around because I’d turned my back on them for the sake of these people who “needed my help.” I was alone. And I blamed everyone but myself. “Why does everyone I love do this TO ME? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I always dissapointed? Betrayed? Taken advantage of? Poor, poor me.”
But of course things were this way because I’d made it so. I was the one who had chosen to give my energy to these people and not to others. I was the one who’d chosen to look outside of myself for worth and validation and happiness and contentment.
You can only find yourself in the same situation so many times until you wake up one day and realize the common denominator is you and there’s no one else to blame.
And so I changed–as Liz Gilbert says, because I got tired of my own bullshit. If I wanted better relationships then I’d have to start holding the door for the right ones and closing it to the wrong ones. And now the people I hold closest are ones who value and cherish and support me in the same ways I do them. Ones who have earned my trust by showing up not by playing on my emotions. Ones who hold me accountable without being judgmental. Ones who are true and constant rather than manipulative and opportunistic.
And when I bump up against someone who is inauthentic and untrustworthy and self-centered (this still happens. It did just recently actually and it always will.)? I create space. No drama. No hate. Just space. Because you are the company you keep and I’m the only one who can protect my peace.
So the lesson is this: Don’t victimize yourself.
Things are the way they are because you made it so. Because you absolutely needed them to be in order to wake up. The entire drama of this lifetime is a script for your awakening. After all, life happens FOR you, not TO you.
Act like it.