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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Thine Ownself Be True

One of the hardest things I've had to learn was the simple act of emotional de-investment. Moving to acceptance and learning to do that with a minimum of emotional distress.

That does not mean you "un-love" somebody.

Learning how to de-invest in someone is brought about by understanding. This is a situation where you have "done your best." If you can say that you have done your best, that is all that you can do. If you have not been met half way by your relationship partner, you are fast approaching that time when withdrawal is imminent. You cannot make someone else- do "your" best.

Some people are simply incapable of having meaningful and committed relationships. They simply do not understand what that is. I understand that now. This is a good point to define contextually what a meaningful relationship is.

It is a commitment to support another human being. To love and accept them. To be available when they need you most. To involve each other intimately. To make your partner a priority. To fight for them and never against them.

I have missed this unity of two people.

If you find yourself in a situation where those things are missing, that they were never there or they have since dwindled away- this is a relationship that is drawing to a close.

As I reflect back upon my life, I see those things clearly now. I have been in committed relationships and I have been in fractured types of relationships. I thank God that I have had both because that has given me the perspective to tell one from the other.

Tonight I was grocery shopping when I spotted a couple leaning on each other and asking what they should buy this week. They actually had a conversation where each one participated in the conversation and giggled back and forth. They had two young children with them. They had a gleam in their eyes. I saw them throughout my travels in the store and behind me in the check out line. They had a commitment. You just knew this couple was tight. I could see that and I smiled. I paused just a moment before I left. I remember how that felt. I hope I can feel that way just once more.

Over the past year I've had to emotionally de-invest in a number of relationships. They were emotionally unhealthy for me. The pieces, as I define them, were simply not there any longer- if they ever were. To do your best and accept that sometimes your best is not good enough is mature. You simply cannot make someone love you when they lack the perspective of ever having a committed relationship. They don't know what that is- or are missing- and you can't help them find that.

I've had to de-invest in family situations as well. That's not to say I have withdrawn completely. I simply have to accept that people are free to live their lives. I place no expectations on their success or failures. I've seen the best and the worst outcomes. I agree to accept either. I am not the conductor and I have to trust that everyone has a purpose here. Ultimately we all make decisions based on our standing within relationships. When it is clear that you are missing most of the pieces, or you feel significantly diminished, it may be time for a tactical withdrawal. This does not require any anger, or even an explanation. You do not have to feel ashamed nor do you have to blame others. You simply have to be true to yourself.

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