Your heart is as precious as anyone else’s, and anyone else you meet is no less a miracle than you are. They may not be your miracle, but they are just as worthy of love and respect and their own dignity as you, or me, or anyone you’re going to encounter. These ought to be obvious statements, but I don’t believe they are based on many of the emails I receive. So many people lie to each other. If you go out with someone and you have no intention of calling them ever again, guess what? Don’t say, “I’ll call you.” Man up or woman up, and say, “This was a lovely night, but I’m not feeling that certain spark and I don’t want to waste your time.” Ouch. It hurts for a second, or the rest of the night, but then it’s over. It’s better than two weeks of Facebook-stalking and replaying the night in every miniscule detail, trying to unravel the mystery of not getting a call. There are white lies, big lies, total omissions of huge pieces of information. People trying to recover from affairs, from whole other relationships that were happening behind their backs for years. Spouses who find out later their partners have teenage children they knew nothing about.
There are family members and friends who say or do things that are knifing, that are not coming from a place of love. Look at everyone and try to see their five-year old self. That little person in overalls trying to make sense of the world. Knowing everything you really needed to know, and being taught to forget it, to bury it, to cover it over with harder, tougher stuff because the world isn’t fair and people can hurt you. Don’t be one of those people that validates someone’s cynicism, be a person who pokes a gaping hole through the middle of it. See the soul of the person standing in front of you, and treat it with kindness and recognition the way you’d want someone to treat you. It’s really so much simpler than we make it. Don’t lie to people you purport to love. If you aren’t feeling it for your partner anymore, speak up. Try to save it if it seems possible, if you’re motivated to do that, if it feels like there’s any hope at all. If you have children, give it everything you’ve got before you think about splitting up, but don’t lie and cheat and sneak around and justify it to yourself, because you’re really just damaging your own ability to respect yourself, to feel good about who you are.
No one deserves to be abused or ignored. There are few things more cruel than denying a person in pain the ability to let it out. I know people who break up over text messages. Really? Nothing of any emotional import belongs in a text unless it’s happy emotion. You can text a person loving stuff all day long, but you can’t break up over a text with a person you’ve shared a bed with and think that’s okay. Making yourself busy and being vague until a person gives up is also not operating with a lot of integrity. The truth might hurt, but I’d take it any day over a bunch of b.s. or radio silence. A person you were once close to should not find out on Facebook that your mother loves your new partner days after you texted your break-up message. Especially if you’re driving around with a “Coexist” bumper sticker.
I have friends who used to hang out with a couple they’d known for years. The families vacationed together, had dinner once a week, play dates, the kids were like siblings, and one day it all changed without explanation. No dinner this week, we’re busy. We have to cancel our vacation this summer, it’s too far in advance. No play dates this month, we’re overbooked. When my friends asked what was wrong and what was going on, they were told they were being sensitive. Months went by like this, and because they live around the corner from one another, contact was inevitable. Things deteriorated to the point where neither family could bear to say hi to the other, and the kids who were once so close have suffered the most.
Uncomfortable, painful conversations are so hard. Often people avoid them because they don’t want to hurt anyone, but leaving a person in the dark is the most hurtful thing you can do. In a vacuum, people have no recourse but to fill in the blanks themselves. Any doubts, insecurities, fears, self-loathing…anything the person may suffer from is going to slither out from underneath the the stones of their mind and say, “This is why. It’s because you’re not good enough.” Don’t participate in the suffering of another person. If it doesn’t work for you, liberate them, and yourself. It’s not like it feels good to leave a person hanging, or to be dishonest, or sneak around. If you want to be able to look yourself in the eye when you’re brushing your teeth at the end of the day, if you want to be able to enjoy your own company, you really need to learn how to speak your truth calmly and with compassion if you haven’t already. It’s a gift you give to yourself, and to everyone in your life. “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all knowledge.” ~Aristotle.
Sending you love.