Sunday, January 18, 2009

Life Lessons Learned

How I know I'm growing up:

I can say no and it's not even hard, because I no longer value what you want over what I want. I take both things into consideration and say no when I need to, because I'm important too. In the past when I have done things for people simply because I didn't want to say no, I have ended up resenting them. Resenting THEM. As if in asking they were holding a gun to my head. I felt taken advantage of. Puhleeze. I look back and realize that I was doing what I wanted to do, and blaming others because I couldn't say no.

2. I can stand up for myself. In the past, I used to apologize when I wasn't really sorry, just because I wanted to appease the other party. I couldn't stand to have someone be angry with me. I didn't feel I had a right to a differing opinion. I felt the need to be compliant, to please. Once again, it left me feeling resentful, disrespected, like nobody was listening to me. Now I'm thinking that they absolutely WERE listening to me, and what I was saying was I'm sorry and I agree. How the hell would they know otherwise absent the gift of telepathy?

3. I know that I'm not responsible for you; I'm only responsible for me. Let me put that in context. If you ask me my opinion about something and I give it to you, but it's not what you want to hear, I'm only responsible for having said it kindly. I'm not responsible for your reaction to it. If it pisses you off, so be it. Hopefully you'll get over it. If you don't, I don't own that. That belongs to YOU. It's all kinds of liberating, this knowledge that I'm not responsible for you. Phew.

4. I have no desire to be a martyr. I used to find myself routinely investing myself in relationships where I ended up doing all the work. I was the one making sacrifices, accommodating, always going the extra mile, and there was little reciprocity. Once again, it left me feeling taken advantage of, unappreciated and used. Now that I'm more grown up, I realize that inequality can only exist if I allow it to. Let me repeat that: inequality can only exist if I ALLOW IT TO. These days when I see relationships getting lopsided, I back up. I don't over-give, and I allow the other person to reciprocate. I'm no longer a martyr. ;)

5. I realize that I am NOT a victim. That's a hard thing to admit. We all seek to blame the other party when a relationship ends. We want to paint ourselves rosy and the other party wrong. The thing is, as adults we always own our share of it. Yes, even in relationships where we've been cheated on or mistreated. See, odds are, we either jumped in way too early because we were needy or wanting and failed to adequately get to know the other person first, OR we saw the other person's character flaws and overlooked reality in favor of our dreams. We saw what we wanted to see.

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