At times I almost feel out of control, as if something or someone I’ve just stumbled upon is amazing and I go full throttle and immerse myself into that something or someone. It could be a hobby, but today specifically, I’m referring to people and the relationships I form when I jump head-first into someone I just met. Figuratively speaking, of course – I wouldn’t want to put any questionable images into your heads!
When I engage in this behavior, I tend to subconsciously make this new, shiny, fascinating person in my life my new Higher Power, and therein lies my problem and source of constant struggle and heartache. I put too much pressure and expectation on one person to make me feel better, happier, safer.
Today I came across a beautiful quote. It was so serendipitously placed in my life so I may stumble upon it, that I cannot help but smile to myself and take it as direct advice from God:
“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
After reading this, my eyes have finally been opened to something my friends and family have been telling me for years, but I just wasn’t comprehending, or perhaps, I just wasn’t ready to accept, and that is that my feelings of worth should come from within. My self-worth should not waiver based upon objects I’ve attained or people’s perceptions of me. Those external forces could be taken away just as easily as they are given to me, and if I continue to place my value in them, there is no hope for me to lead a healthy, thriving life.
The pressure alone, which I must have put on people when I did this, must have been exhausting. I value everyone in my life for what they’ve contributed to me, and I stand back now from a different vantage point humbled by what people have done to support me, in their own unique ways. I may not have seen their efforts at the time because I was too preoccupied with complaining they didn’t do exactly what I expected and wanted, but I see their efforts and support now. I am grateful for each of them and their own unique ways they loved me.
I could clearly see how I’ve been contributing to my own pain and disappointment. When I demanded so much of people, I was placing too much pressure on them because I was hoping they would save me when I could not save myself – I was making them my Higher Power. No wonder my relationships with people kept failing, because expecting someone to save me will never work and will always leave me feeling isolated, abandoned, and hopeless.
I learned this the hard way through a series of several devastating failed relationships, and in retrospect, those relationships needed to fail for me to understand this basic principle: we cannot thrive in a healthy relationship if we make it, or another person, our Higher Power, our God. This applies to relationships with friends, family, and work colleagues, not just romance.
Holding people to my high standards and putting immense pressure on them as I make them my Higher Power, is unfair to them. I held them to extreme standards which I myself was unable to adhere to, yet I got upset with them if they didn’t do things my way. This, I’ve learned the hard way, is the quickest way to lose people in my life and push them away. If I could go back and learn this lesson sooner and prevent hurting the people I did, I would.
All I can do is now is pray for strength to not do this again in the future, and treasure people for who they are when God brings them into my life. It is not my duty to judge them, change them, or hold them to unrealistic standards, but rather to love them, support them, and be grateful that they are in my life.
I’m not perfect, I screw up all the time, and I am the first to admit it. I try to be understanding and see things from other perspectives, constantly seeking to self-improve and grow. During these moments of soul searching, I realized I can’t be angry with people for not being who I want them and expect them to be. Learning to love people as they are is my new priority and I believe if I work on this, I will become a better friend and listener.
A job, a boyfriend, even a best friend don’t define my worth. My integrity, work-ethic, and perseverance do though. I shall try my hardest to let these values define my self-worth speak for themselves and my character. I can only take this lesson and continue to seek more values to add to this list.
Positively grateful for this clarity and opportunity to change how I make people in my life feel going forward!
Letting go and letting God.