“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” -Unknown
Today I received a card that said “It’s not you, it’s me.” This is the perfect break-up line, assuring that even if you are walking away from something that is worth fighting for and about, you can go guilt free. After all you took responsibility and legitimately tried to make the person you are leaving behind feel somehow better about being left, because at least it is not about them.
Sadly of course it is about them, because it is always about both people. Relationships and both their positive and negative outcomes are always a product of two people’s capacity, intention and willingness to do the work of loving. I have been struggling for the last month trying to find a breakthrough with one of my closest confidantes.
Our relationship lived within narrow confines in our lifestyles, as the only time we ever spent together were the walks we would share with a small herd of dogs through the parkland and forests of Eugene, OR. We would walk in the rain or sun. But the exceptional sunny day made a walk with her a necessity. Our walks were golden moments of time out of time and just their memory was my way to invite the feeling of a smile into my heart.
I treasured this time and friendship out loud because it brought up so much compassion in me. There are few people who have cared as deeply about my thoughts and work as this friend did. I felt special just by her witness of me and laughter abounded, which filled and buoyed me. We provided one for the other a very clear reflection, sometimes painfully so.
This is, I tell myself, what ended our relationship. It takes a lot of courage to allow yourself to be seen completely and to offer the room to allow a witness to what functions and dysfunctions in our lives and our heart. It is easier to have friendships that accommodate us, but don’t demand the truth from us. I have never been that kind of friend and this is not the first friendship that I have lost to that insistence.
In fact the whole experience brought an avalanche of déjà vu from as far back as high school. The work in my relationships is getting over the unworthiness factor; giving up my ability to be abandoned by others. Having the courage to choose people who are inspired to be around me. This is where I want to go. Still, I will miss for a long time this friend of mine who insists that this work of the heart is more than she has.
I don’t believe it because I have danced closely around her heart too many times. But I know now that you can’t convince anyone of anything, especially in relationships. People choose the relationships that define their lives as part of their sense of self. I have spent way too many years choosing the ambivalent and trying to convince them to love.
I think I might just finally be ready to risk attracting people who love me without any additional prodding. Who I am and what I do might just be enough.