Monday Master Class - Respect and Pain

There is a beautiful story told of the set of footprints on the beach.As many people do, I find comfort and truth in this story, but speaking only for myself I will say, anytime god wants to pick me up and carry me, I fight him like a hellcat! I think its probably only after I've exhausted myself or he's knocked me unconscious is he ever allowed to pull me into his arms.Sadly, this is how I have tended to be in all my relationships, but I learned something today that I think is about to change all that for me.

I met a man earlier this year that I was honestly quite enamored by.He opened my eyes to a new world and you know how seductive that can be.  I passed on several good men for him, not because he ever asked me to, but because I wanted to experience certain things with himfirst, primarily because of the level of trust I had placed with him, but at the end of the day, I felt disrespected and I discovered that was my deal breaker. To disrespect someone is to show a lack of respect, esteem, or courteous regard and I find that people who behave in this manner often have every excuse in the world for doing so,yet honestly, courtesy takes but a moment and is important enough to compromise your day over if you truly care about the person in question.

I've spent much of my life as the proverbial doormat, but after Dale's mom attacked me so viciously last year, I decided no more. I'm worth more than that. So as I continue my personal journey I'm learning ways of expressing my needs to people in healthy ways (not always great at that one yet, but I'm working on it) and I'm also discovering what my true needs are, especially in a relationship.

As I've mentioned before on the blog, I'm working on relanguaging my existence. I'm paying more attention to how I use words and how I perceive them. One of the words I have been afraid of all my life was the word needy.
I've always thought it better to be dead than to be needy. This comes from my idiot upbringing and disfunctional family and what I'm starting to discover, is that we all need something sometimes and that's okay. Feeling needy, feeling insecure, feeling vulnerable, all these things of which I have put a negative connotation on, I'm now realizing are simply signs of being human.

I'm discovering that I'm tired of being strong all the time and I'm tired of being abused if I show any weakness. I'm tired of being disrespected and being treated as less than if I allow any vulnerability to show and I'm tired of letting people walk on me simply because I like them and somehow feel if I stand up for myself, they'll leave... truthfully I haven't done that in years, but I realized I was doing it with the man in question here. I'll be truthful, I'm hurting today because I was vulnerable with someone who I thought was worth the discomfort of exposing myself, but now I'm thinking I misjudged either him or the situation, either way I got hurt. However, the important thing here is not that I was vulnerable and disrespected, but that I was vulnerable at all.

That I found it in myself the ability to go to that place with someone, regardless of how it turned out is a good thing for me and I learned from this man that I'm so damn tired of being the strong one, the one who has it all together and has everything handled. I don't mind being that person, in truth I excel at being that person, but even the most well put together person is going to have vulnerable moments. Moments where she feels insecure and unsure. Moments where the world has beaten her down and what she needs is a safe place to unravel and be needy and vulnerable and exposed, and know that whoever's arms she ends up in, she's safe. They aren't going to hold her broken parts against her, but love her all the more for her bravery.

I watched the movie Bride Wars over the weekend. There was nothing else on and I was tired, but the movie actually surprised me because it was the story of these two girls who'd grown up together closer than sisters and it was the story of personal growth and discovery. <spoiler alert> Skip to the next paragraph if you don't want to know how this movie ends... Anne Hathaway's character is the type of woman who always says yes. She's the quiet people pleaser. Kate Hudson's character was the strong, had everything together, control freak. Through the course of the film, Ann learns she doesn't want to be this vanilla girl who bends to please everyone else and in doing so loses her fiance, but gains herself. Kate learns that its okay to not always be perfect. She learns that its okay to cry and fall down and watching her fiance support her through all of that made me see that was what I'm looking for in a man. I want the man who can not only handle it that I cry sometimes, but will hold me while I do so and I'm not afraid to say that any more.

It takes so much inner strength to be vulnerable to another person and I'd been thinking that this new ability I had to go there was because of the man in question, but now I see it more as a new blossom on a tree. It wasn't a sign of how great this man was, it was a sign of how strong I'm becoming. It was a sign of my own growth and maturity and though it ended badly in this one case, I can move on and I can be vulnerable and the world does not end.

I think in part what I'm trying to say, because I know a lot of you who read this blog are single or wishing you could be, don't accept disrespect from the man in your life. I don't care how great he appears to be, I don't care how much he gives you, if he's not respecting you, then the rest is all smoke and mirrors.

It was my 17 year old son who really got to me when he said "Well, if he's going to want to be with you, he's going to have to deal with the fact that you go psycho every now and again... we all manage, its not really a big deal... and besides, you're worth it!"

The biggest key to being respected by others, is respecting yourself first, and honestly, I waffle on that at times. I still give too much of myself away, but when push comes to shove, I do respect who I am and I will not settle for any less from a man in my life than the same. I hate my flaws, don't we all hate our own flaws? Still, when I have a moment where I can look at myself objectively, I know what I'm worth and my flaws are a minor price to pay should you be so lucky that I allow you into my inner circle.

Though this relationship didn't go where I hoped it was going, as always, I learned so much from my time with this man. Yes, I got hurt again... but how many quotes are there on pain being a great teacher and no pain no gain... and so on and son on? Here's one of my personal favorites...

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. ~ Khalil Gibran

I don't like pain, but I've learned to coexist with it because I see the purpose it has in my life. I'm not one of those people that can find contentment in shallow living. I strive for more, I go to deeper waters, where there is often pain and suffering, but I am a better person for it and I will never regret the pains I have suffered, even when brought on by my own choices.

Respect yourselves, demand the same of others, and when you find that person who truly deserves your vulnerability, recognize it as the gift that is, to both of you, and cherish it always. Until next time ~ Samantha

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