It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone. — Anonymous
The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned. — William Somerset Maugham
I have spent the majority of the past 25 years trying to forget someone I loved very much. It hasn’t worked. I married (and tried to love) someone else, continued on with life, and really just “existed” through much of that time. I spent many hours wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t forget “him”. Many people have survived loving someone they had to say “goodbye” too without really wanting to, and they seemed to survive just fine. Why couldn’t I do the same?
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- We can’t always choose whom our hearts are drawn to.
There is a physiological response going on that we may have no control over. Our hearts are drawn to certain people. If these people bring joy to our lives, give us a sense of being valued and appreciated, and/or elicit favorable memories, we may have a more difficult time letting them go. When an event occurs in our life that creates a chasm in the relationship, it can be devastating. If communication breaks down to the point of little to no response, the devastation can often be magnified. Human nature is such that we want (need) to know what is causing the rift. WHY won’t this person respond? What have I done to warrant a lack of response? How can I rectify the situation? When there continues to be a lack of response to our questions, the wondering becomes unbearable. Apparently there is such a thing as lovesickness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovesickness). Who knew?
This is where valuable lesson #2 comes in …
- We CAN control our thoughts.
It may be difficult to comprehend sometimes, but it is possible. Sometimes the worst enemy we encounter in life is located right smack dab in the territory between our two ears: our mind. There is a fascinating world being explored out there pertaining to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. We can formulate new thought patterns. We can form new neuronal pathways in our minds. We can change our thinking.
This is a problem I have seriously struggled with for some time. Events in my life over the past three decades have taught me learned behaviors that need to be changed. The metamorphosis in my thinking was gradual, so gradual I didn’t realize it was happening. Not until I moved back to the part of the country where I grew up (after having been away for 15 years), did it start to become noticeable. I could never understand where my children came up with some of the ideas they had about my likes and dislikes until I was able to step back and see that I really hadn’t given them an opportunity to know me at all … not the real me. The person they saw was not who I was, it was who I became. Sounds weird, right? However, if you’ve lived it, you know exactly what I am saying.
After wondering why I have spent the greater part of a decade feeling so extremely alone, it finally dawned on me that I was no longer allowing people to get close. I had shut down. I had sheltered myself from love … from giving it and from receiving it … to the point that I was no longer projecting outwardly what I (thought) I was feeling inside. I was coming across very negatively on the outside.
My feelings of rejection weren’t coming from other people; they were coming from inside my head. I had convinced myself that I had become incapable of loving and, therefore, (in my mind) I was incapable of being loved. The interesting thing about that thought process is that the more you feel incapable of being loved, the more you isolate yourself and become self-absorbed.
- We CAN choose to respond differently.
My saving grace has come in the answer to prayer. I asked God to send me a friend, and He sent me someone who is helping me to see the kind, warm, caring person I used to be … the one who disappeared many years ago, the one who has been buried under a mound of abandonment, guilt, and shame. I am learning, through my interactions with this angel from God that I am not as awful a person as I thought I was. I’m okay … quirky at times, but okay. I am worth loving. I am worth spending time with. I am worth getting to know. And those feelings have generated a rebirth within me that make me want to reach out and get to know others and let them get to know me … the REAL me, not the one they think they currently know. As I become more comfortable in my own (new) skin, I will once again let my humor shine through. I won’t care so much what people think of me, for I will find that as long as I like myself, others will like me too (and, if they don’t, they weren’t meant to be in my life anyway).
I no longer want to be a people pleaser. I want to be a God pleaser. I want to fulfill my purpose. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to matter. I want to succeed at something. I want to continue to learn new things. In order to do that, I am going to spend more time with my Father. I am going to speak affirmations over myself that remind me Whose I am and how much I am loved. I am going to be grateful for the new friends He brings into my life, and I am going to be a light to others who feel the pain of being rejected and alone.
As we say goodbye to 2015 and embark on a new year, let’s let some old mindsets go. Let’s embrace who we really are and use it to create wonder and beauty in the world around us. The future is looking brighter!
Let your light shine …