A former relationship showed me that there are people out there who are so paralyzed with fear, that they will avoid making active decisions at all costs. Even at the cost of losing someone who loves them, and who they love in turn. They sit on the fence until by virtue of time spent on the fence, the decision has been made for them. They are moved about in whatever direction they get pushed, because it is less frightening than grasping accountability and making some tough and necessary choices. To these people, the concept of changing themselves is more frightening than being tossed about through life.
Though the relationship ended sadly, it ended the only way it could, given we were both in different places emotionally and spiritually. He passively sat by waiting for me to make decisions and changes, while he stood by anchored in his determination never to change. He didn’t think work was a part of a relationship. This is the relationship where I finally got it— the message that took me seemingly forever to learn: that it is not my job to change anyone but me.
We choose the relationships we get into. I can’t blame him for the relationship not working. He was being himself. It is the relationship I needed at the time to teach me what was necessary for me to learn. Of course entering it, I was not thinking it would end, but it was a necessary ending to bring about my growth. Had I stayed with someone unaccountable, it would have been a toxic relationship for me. To end this relationship, was the step I chose, in order to go where I needed to go. Another way of saying this could be: to grow where I needed to grow. That is my choice— to grow. I recognize this means work. That’s not very popular with a lot of people.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” —1 Corinthians 13:11
Part of growing up, is recognizing that work is necessary, for everything. In my career, if I’m not willing to stretch my abilities and try new projects, even though they may initially scare me, I stagnate. Staying where it is comfortable, is a cop-out. Sometimes we need to stay somewhere comfortable for a while, for various reasons. But eventually we have to kick ourselves in gear and push ourselves onward to another level of learning. Even if this learning means making difficult choices.
When we were babies, we pushed ourselves to crawl, then stand, then walk. The metamorphosis continued throughout our school years as we kept reaching for the next level— impatiently I might add— with such vigor and anticipation. We could be heard saying: I can’t wait until I’m 16…..I can’t wait until I’m 18……
Then somewhere along the way, in adulthood, we hit a wall and stagnate. We no longer reach forward with excitement. We allow fear to take over, we limit ourselves and think we can no longer do what we were designed by our Creator to do— to grow forward.
Granted, based on my experience with my former relationship, I learned some people do not think they need to do any additional work on themselves. They live a fantasy, where everything is supposed to work itself out by little or no effort on their part. What typically happens in these cases is the ones that love these people, do the tailoring and changing, and they continue their illusion. I was that person, trying to see what I could do, and in the process found myself folding up into a shell of the woman I could be. If only these people could see, that those that love them can unfold into beautiful possibilities— and the relationship as well— when and if they take a step forward outside their comfort zone for the sake of their and the relationship’s evolution.
But sometimes these people choose to stay comfortable, even at the expense of good-byes. Since love is a verb, when we love people it doesn’t mean “game over.” Some people think that after the falling in love phase has occurred, or the marriage has taken place, that this is when things need to coast. On the contrary, to nurture love we all must continue to learn, not only about ourselves, but about those we love.
The biggest lesson on love I have had, is as a parent. Had I given up when things got tough, where would my daughter be and the relationship we now enjoy? How would her heart be, her spirit and self-esteem? The same analogy applies to a relationship between couples— the effort and energy necessary to invest in the relationship is an ongoing process, without selfish regard to outcome. When we give to the other out of the love in our hearts, the outcome takes care of itself quite marvelously.
A full and passionate life is for those who despite their fears, grab a hold of the concept of willingness and set forth to try. In this there is honor. Life is not fully lived when you wait for things to happen “at you.” Instead, actively pursuing growth, no matter how scary, means we put into action things that will produce a meaningful life— Not a life partially lived, because this will bring with it much regret.
Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.