Today’s post is from my good friend up in Canada, Skye Blue. We were supposed to exchange guest posts but I got my computer stolen and I will be taking a break from blogging for a little while. In the mean time I hope you enjoy Skye’s excellent post and visit her site Metanotherfrog.com
‘Huh? You’ve got nothing to complain about, you’ve found a good one. I’ve been out on dates with guys who take me out on dates to the movies and then have the audacity to not sit with me. Not because we were fighting or because the theatres full. Just for no good reason at all, just to get his rocks off I suppose.’
The words above were uttered by a smart, cute, vivacious and talented acquaintance of mine over dinner, after another woman at our table complained about some minor transgression her boyfriend made. As a stand alone, her declaration is a somewhat shocking and funny sound bite. But I took pause when I heard it. In part, because it is only one of many stories she has related about the way she has allowed the men who come into her life to disrespect and mistreat her; stories that make me wonder why she doesn’t see her own worth or grasp the importance of setting clear boundaries/minimum standards for the type of treatment she expects from a man. But more importantly, her comment made me take notice because I recognized myself in her words.
When will I stop deserting baby? / When will I start staying with myself?
– Lyrisc from So Unsexy, by Alanis Morrisette
The fact is as much as I’d like to say I’m smarter than that I’ve allowed myself to be mistreated by men too – albeit to a much lesser degree (or so I tell myself). Although as I get older, I’m slowly cultivating deeper and less shakeable feelings of self-worth and self-esteem, I know that am not nearly as confident about setting boundaries regarding how men should treat me and/or maintaining the standards I already have in place as I’d like to be. When faced with a situation/interaction in which I realize I have to set a new boundary with a man I want to keep in my life I still have to consciously coach myself through it.
“Don’t abandon yourself again. This time CHOOSE YOU. CHOOSE YOU!”
That is the silent cry that runs through my mind as I struggle to stand my ground and stay true to myself in spite of my fear that he’ll walk away. For the record, intellectually I recognize that if a boundary I set causes a man to walk away he simply wasn’t the right man for me, but in the face of strong emotional attachments (healthy or otherwise) this is a scary place to be.
On the occasions (that are occurring more and more frequently I’m happy to report) when I succeed at setting a much needed boundary with a man, one that supports and values me and our connection, before I settle into the new space I’ve created with him and revel in the comfort I’ve found there, there is always a period of time – it could be a few hours or as much as a few days – when I’m spinning.
Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear. – Cheri Huber
By spinning I mean my heart races, I feel ‘shaky’, nervous, and unsure of myself. I’ve been through this enough times to know that the spinning is my FEAR of the unknown kicking in – the part of me that wants to cling to the status quo and not change things – because as bad as the status quo might be the known and familiar patterns and ways of being in the world feel safe. Luckily, I’m realizing that safe doesn’t serve me well. Safe often leaves me feeling numb, unhappy, stupid, less than, disregarded, neglected and under appreciated. So I’m working hard to overcome my fears, so I get to a place where I always CHOOSE ME.
Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. – Bill Cosby
Now I’ll admit that CHOOSING ME and unlearning the habits that reinforce my fear induced patterns is not easy. CHOOSING ME requires being still and listening to the often tiny inner voice that is begging me to trust that I can have what I want and that I deserve more simply because I am here – walking this earth. Making the decision to CHOOSE ME forces me to make hard decisions, to forego instant and short term gratification, and to be disciplined (even when I really don’t want to be) for the sake of long term gain. With respect to my dating life, this means walking away from any and all enticing men who cross my path that I know aren’t right for me, as I continue to wait patiently – while the tension of my desire to meet someone I can really connect with gnaws at my insides – for the right man to show up. Of course the waiting is soooo hard (FML), because I, like everyone else, craves touch, affection and intimacy. But because I trust that it will all be worth it – I continue to wait, to CHOOSE ME.
As I learn to CHOOSE ME more consistently I find myself in a new space. In this new space I more readily put myself and my desires first. I am also slowly starting to believe – really and truly believe, beyond intellectual rationalizing – that I can have the things I want, including a healthy and loving relationship with a man.
Although I’d like to think that my friend and I are the only people out here settling for less than they deserve or want by making poor decisions about who or what they allow into their lives, I know better. Too many of us sabotage and hold ourselves back from getting what we really want in life – be it a suitable mate, losing weight, earning more money, etc. – because we fail to make the choices that support our dreams. Fortunately this is learned behaviour that can be corrected with practice. All you have to do is make the decision to let go of the fear, doubt, pain, bad habits or whatever may be preventing you from moving forward and instead…
The awesome guest post was written by Skye Blue