Are there such things?
People in your life that are meant to be there forever?
Forever is a long time. It seems we move much more quickly in the time and direction of temporary. When I look back at the past, I feel that permanency was more present. But I know that, like everything else, this is just an idea I hold because I have the luxury of not being able to live in it anymore.
I have many long term relationships. But I have also had somewhat of a turnstile in my life, people who came and went. People who called themselves “forever” people but when push came to shove, they were gone. Sometimes I did the pushing and the shoving. Other times they did. Most often they wanted things from me that I could not give, would not give or felt burdened by being asked.
More often, I think I needed things that they were not capable of giving. And I knew it. And yet I stayed, allowed them to consider themselves forever people in my life. Hell, I even called them that myself. But fundamentally, I knew that if I ever dared speak my truth, about how I felt, what I thought, that they would leave. And so far, I have been right 100% of the time.
I don’t blame them. I created the dynamic to begin with…setting up the stage for them to consider themselves forever people when I did not completely, totally really believe that myself. I wanted to. I did on a few levels but there was/is this part in me that could not really get there.
I instinctively knew that if I spoke my true feelings, that they would leave. I have been examining why I would engage in this dynamic (repeatedly) in my life. Holding people to me in an effort to what? Belong? Pretend? Yes and yes.
I think we give short shrift to how much it costs in this world to find yourself on the outside. Sure, we all like to think that we can and will survive and hell even thrive in a solitary pursuit, but truly, we all need community. We need each other to survive and thriving really has so much to do with the quality of our relationships.
And in my assessment of relational relating, I seem to keep coming up with this idea that pretending is so much easier than being honest. And that pretending allows us to feel like we belong, without the scary honesty that will cause people to truly know us, and perhaps reject us.
Forever is a very long time. And while I do not believe that we should eschew forever as a goal, I think we live in much more temporal times. We seek lasting, loving relations while engaging in behavior that does not lay proper foundation for intimacy to even really begin. We connect online, living so much of our lives through media, texting and from a safe distance. Technology gives us the feeling of connection but with the safety of distance. And those two ideas are not really compatible.
You have to be close to have intimacy. And you have to be honest. And you have to have a certain level of faith and trust that honesty is going to ultimately bring intimacy. Otherwise we are all just pretending, grasping even to have these meaningful relationships with people whom we never really let in, never let our guard down and do not really ever believe are permanent.
I am learning (the hard way) that the only way that one achieves forever people in their lives is by wanting that. Being willing to sustain and maintain connection over time and distance. And that it takes a lot of effort to keep those relationships going. And that I for one, cannot sustain twenty or perhaps even ten of those relationships. Maybe others can but I am more limited.
I have drastically reduced my circle lately. Allowing relationships that meant a great deal to me to go, mostly because I had to acknowledge on some level that they were not good for me. And that was not just because of who the others were, it was mostly because I was willing to cut some pretty awful deals for myself in the relational department. I was willing to put others first, me last and not really be honest with anyone about how I felt. Well, that isn’t completely true. I tried in all the relationships. I tried to be honest. I tried to tell the truth. But I knew on some level, that often times existed outside my consciousness, that if I really said what I really thought and felt that the relationship would end.
For me, I do better thinking and believing that some higher power is in charge of my relationships. Trusting that those that are meant for me (be they a week, a year, a lifetime) will be brought to me and I will be willing to do the work required to maintain those relationships. And so will the other person. And that the price of admission to those relationships isn’t my silence. Isn’t my putting myself last and just taking what I am given…the ones that last are the ones that are fluid and dynamic and can survive an ugly truth that needs to be told.
No, I do better when I think of relationships as teachers. Each person pulled or placed in my orbit is sent to help me evolve and me them. We are in each other’s lives so that we can be help each other learn the stuff that God needs us to know so that we can evolve (or not). And that evolution is not just for our benefit, but for all we come in contact with.
I have held people in my life that I should have let go of…and I have let go of people who I likely should have held onto. Which is why I have reached the conclusion that the duration should never be up to me…I pick for the wrong reasons. And so it is better left up to the universe or God or almost anyone else, to decide who stays and who goes. My only job, repeatedly, is to trust that all that happens to me, is also happening for me. And that if I do the simple things I need to do to take care of myself, I am evolved into the person that God needs me to be. And the people I am supposed to be with, will come and go, and that is all as it should be. And when I look around my life, and I see the people who have really stood the test of time, that I appreciate them, value them and ensure that they know how very grateful I am to be in relation with them, for however long that may be.