In the last several days I have shared with you three poems that I had written while I was young, idealistic, full of hope, filled with joy, wanting to love life and others with intensity and wanting to give all I had in me to give. It is the hallmark of youth to feel passion about the things that touch the heart and inspire the spirit. The heart is strong enough to withstand all the powerful emotions that arise within, and the energy is there to put into action all the songs we feel being created within us. It is a time of dreams, desire, growth, passion, friendship, and love. It is a time of searching for knowledge, of needing to understand people and ourselves, of needing to hear truth spoken, and of trying to find our place in the universe. It is a time of discovering our purpose for being here.
It is also a time of rude awakenings; facing up to the weaknesses we find in ourselves and others; realizing where our boundaries start and where they end; learning that self- sacrifice carries a cost; and saving others is not always possible or wise. Because we are young, we try anyway, and some of us carry away scars from it, or carry those same interaction patterns with us for years. Along the way, we find the cost becomes too high; old age robs us of our energy; or reality shatters our hope of what we believe we and others can be. It is helpful, sometimes in our lives, to visit the past; and if we can, learn from it. A question In The Night, From My Heart, and To Someone I Once Loved, were written in my youth. It took me almost fifty years to discover, I was using some of the same interaction patterns I used in my youth.
The learning has been painful. I’ve learned that sacrificing yourself to save someone else always ends badly. Most of the time they don’t want to be saved, or they don’t want you to do the saving. Often, they don’t want to do the work to keep them selves saved, and most of the time, the sacrifice isn’t appreciated.
I’ve learned: not everyone wants to be your friend, or put the time and commitment into it. Not everyone you love is going to want you, or love you back, and nothing is going to fix that. If someone doesn’t want you, fighting it doesn’t get you what you want. Who wants a person in handcuffs to love them? It doesn’t work. Not everyone has the same values or capacity to love as you do. You learn to let go or drown. It’s as simple as that. It will hurt. You won’t like it, but DO IT ANY WAY.
Finally, I’ve learned, you need to have boundaries when interacting with other people. If what they do is unsafe for you; if it compromises your values; or if it harms your integrity and self-respect, make them STOP. Never keep taking abuse. You lose yourself in the process, and it destroys any hope of happiness with them. Be your own best friend. No one can be there all of the time, and to expect someone to be, just doesn’t work. People get tired. No one is perfect. If the relationship ends, you know how to take care of yourself. Some times, you have to let go of people. You rob yourself of joy, if you don’t let go. It won’t be easy. Just learn to, LET GO.