(Not) The One

The one

Some of the best ideas for writing come to me when talking to friends and yesterday, one such conversation took place. My friend expressed regret for not pursuing the “one who got away.” Without going into too much detail, the story unfolded somewhat like this. He was with “the one” for almost 3 years. She dumped him for an ex. He felt strongly that if it was meant to be – and there was true love between them – she’d be back. Based on this belief, he decided to not chase after her. She never came back and that is where he thinks he may have failed. He felt he should have “fought for her.” I, however, disagree. I feel he did the right thing and I don’t think he lost “the one.”

I am not going to speak for others, but the way I see it is like this. When someone leaves me, it isn’t my “duty” to chase after him; unless I caused the breakup. When someone chooses someone else over me, I see absolutely no reason to attempt winning that person back. Being dumped is bad enough; but losing my dignity, too, while attempting talking someone into being with me, especially someone who clearly does not want me, makes no sense. I am not saying that people don’t make mistakes. I am not saying that someone who leaves shouldn’t be forgiven or even be taken back. But it isn’t my responsibility to make it happen. I feel that the one who broke the agreement and the trust should be responsible for reestablishing the bond, and actually do the work to make it happen. 

The truth is, at least in my experience, those who dump you generally don’t come back. The reasons are plentiful and include shame, guilt and “feeling bad,” but sometimes the reason is much more simple: They didn’t want me! They chose someone else over me and not only moved on, but forgot about me. I was a temporary solution to maybe fill a need. No amount of pain on my side, no amount of chasing and sorrow, guilt trips or anger will change that. I wasn’t it, someone else was/is. Done – end of story.

See, I expect anyone who is a grown-up to do the right thing and own up to their mistakes. So when someone walks out on me, I’ll do absolutely nothing. As crappy as it sounds, I’ll suffer, mostly silently, because nothing is worse than being dumped by someone you loved AND having your friends beat you up for missing him. But no matter how much I hurt, I will not contact him. And yes, if that means he is lost to me forever, it gives me all the answers I needed – including the one that hurts the most: he didn’t love me and he doesn’t want me back. The “he will see what he’s lost once is gone” is BS. I don’t buy it. Nah, he doesn’t see that he’s lost a precious thing, or he wouldn’t have left to begin with/been back already.

The most destructive pattern we can fall prey to is beating ourselves up for not having been enough. Nothing beats down one’s dignity and self-worth more than chasing after someone who doesn’t want us. I’m not saying that one should be a self-righteous jerk. But I am saying that it isn’t up to you to pursue any person who disrespects, hurts, lies or walks out on you. As such, I have always upheld the simple policy of “you think I’m not worth spending time and space with or being with? Well, that’s OK. I’ll miss you, I’ll morn you, but there’s the door.”

If a person who is supposed to respect, love and care for you does not find it necessary to come after you and clean up their mess, if someone has no ability to apologize, own up to their crap and fix it, then they are simply not worth it. All that means is that they would do it again. It takes self-reflection, humility, integrity and decency to truly own up to being an ass and why would you want to be with someone who has neither of these traits? Your worth is not determined by others. It is determined by yourself; so when you allow people to treat you a certain way and then go and chase after them, you essentially say that it is OK for them to mistreat you. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the message I want to send.

I am using a simple philosophy in life for both, friends and  relationships. If I screw up, I’ll clean up my mess and attempt to make it right. If they deny me this opportunity, well, I can at least say that I tried. But if a trusted and loved friend, partner or family member betrays me or walks out on me, I’ll let them go. I choose to be around those who know that their life wouldn’t be as bright without me in it – even though I am not perfect and can be a royal pain in the butt. But that is love and exactly what I want in my life. Life is too short to chase people who don’t give a damn. If someone leaves and doesn’t come back, it’s because they don’t want you, not because you “let them go.” 


I’m Not Ready (Nor Will You Ever Be)

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Life is all about opportunities. It’s about chances and about not always knowing what will happen. Life happens, love happens and work happens and often, the best things happen in the most inopportune times. Grabbing the bull by the horns and ceasing the moment is the one thing that will make us stronger, help us learn and allows us to really learn from mistakes, as well as figure out what we truly want and need.

A huge copout I hear from people is “I am not ready.” Interestingly enough, when I look back on my life, I can honestly say that this is one of the few statements I’ve never made. Ready? Ready for what?

The thing is that each and everyone of us has issues, baggage, problems, flaws, things we battle and pasts we are dealing with. Every person has made mistakes, maybe some rather big ones, and maybe some smaller ones. No one is perfect; and that’s OK! Personally, I always felt that the strange idiosyncrasies and flaws people have often made them more beautiful, likable and lovable. The point is that, the older we get, the more we actually may shoulder in terms of how we feel and what we are battling. I’d like to believe that I am one of the people who consistently and steadily works on her stuff – sometimes more successfully than other times, but at least I am not giving up. However, I have yet to find the point where I can say “Yep! I am ready.” That thought honestly never comes to my mind. What ever life throws at me, I tend to be more in the “yay” mode than think “oh dear, what will I do now, because I am not ready.

I have come to believe that saying I’m not ready is a really bad excuse for saying I am too afraid to act. Maybe I didn’t want to act, or do what would bring me to the next level. Maybe I am lazy, maybe I am a procrastinator and maybe I don’t have the tools and don’t know how, so instead of acquiring them, I am just going to distract myself from the issue at hand and when life strikes, I’ll retreat into my shell and whine that I wasn’t ready.

I have found one thing to be true. I am never truly ready for the big stuff. But… I am willing to give it a shot. I am willing to acquire the tools I may still lack and I am willing to jump right in and make a decision. There is a cliff over there? Oh yay! Let me run right up and jump off of it!
To my surprise I generally found that I was perfectly able and in that sense ready to deal with whatever came my way. While I may have suffered set backs and heartbreak, I never really shied away from giving it my best and going for it. There is something truly empowering of being in the moment like that, even if it may lead to failure!

In my twenties I had an excellent therapist, Dr. Fulmer, who once told me that everything I do in life depends on only one thing – making a decision! The confusion, the fear, the stress and anxiety all stem from the simple inability or unwillingness to decide. Because when we decide, provided we are people with integrity, we actually have to DO something. We can no longer hide behind excuses and cliches like “I’m not ready.” When we say “yes” we have to do whatever it takes to support that decision and when we say “no” we also have to do what it takes to support that decision; and we forfeit the right to complain about a bad thing, if we are not willing to make the decision to leave it!

I believe that sometimes, based on the state of mind I am in, things might be challenging, difficult and seem impossible. But I’d also like to think that I am always ready. Not being ready is like hitting the lottery and keep on waiting for another ticket to win; meanwhile holding the first winning one in hand, unable to do anything with it.

With all of that, I’d like to now share this TED talk on vulnerability. I guess this demonstrates yet again that maybe, we didn’t think we were ready, but some of us are at least willing to still do, instead of claiming we’ve tried (which is the equivalent to really not doing anything).