My heart was broken.
The boyfriend I had dated for years in high school was breaking up with me over the phone.
I looked at the picture of him that sat in my dorm room, very, very far from his Gonzaga University.
The things he said stung.
He didn't hold back a lot...
I was pretty sure he hurt my feelings.
But now I know a few things about that interaction I didn't understand then.
1. Love is worth the risk. I choose to love deeply and hurt later if things go south.
2. My thoughts about what he was saying and what I was making it mean about me is what hurt my feelings. Not him.
Hurt feelings come from a place of vulnerability. We have to have put our feelings out there to experience the hurt that comes when they don't treat those feelings like we hoped.
We can spend a lot of time trying to change them, those feelings hurters...or change us to fit them.
We beat ourselves up, we try to convince them to treat us better or understand us more.
But that is exhausting.
What if there was a way to feel empowered, important, and relieved when we think about dealing with hurt feelings?
What could you do with all of that extra energy and control?!
Who could you love no matter what?
And what kind of smart decisions could you make if convincing them that you are enough is not even part of the deal?
One major step to feeling lighter, more in control, even more loving is to see where you really keep your power.
And where we exchange it with someone else.
"Here, take this package."
This is where we give our package of thoughts, feelings, and actions and hand them to someone else to manage.
"I would like to feel valuable, loved, important, beautiful" etc.
We hand them our little box and request them to fill it for us.
"Give me that package"
"I want to make you happy. I want you to care. I want you to hurt. I want you to feel as angry as I do."
Of course we don't say these things in reality (sometimes), but in this case we are metaphorically taking their package of thoughts, feelings, and actions and rummaging around trying to add things and take things away.
"I owe it to you to manage your package"
This sounds like accepting blame.
"I made you feel angry, upset, insecure, inadequate so now I need to make you feel better."
"You owe me. You are responsible for my package"
This is placing blame.
"You made me feel hurt, unimportant, invalid, unloved."
Basically, "I expect you to fix that for me and get that back to me by Tuesday."
These are all very matter-of-fact ways of describing things that FEEL much bigger, I know.
But the reason they feel bigger is because of our many thoughts and the thoughts that we are carrying around that actually belong to someone else.
We can hand back responsibility for how someone else feels.
We can take back responsibility for how we feel and start making some strong, powerful decisions about how we truly want to feel.
Just because someone doesn't love us doesn't mean we need to make it mean that we are unlovable.
Unworthy of friendship.
Maybe it's about them and the package they hold and manage. Their own thoughts, feelings, and actions.
How do we heal?
1. We stop hurting ourselves by making it mean that something is wrong with us when someone does something hurtful
2. We think thoughts that help us feel accepting of ourselves and others. Because it feels better. Because we can control those things. Because it is good for us. We allow their thoughts to mean something about them and their choices. Because that's reality.
So with Chris Stone, the boyfriend who was not meant to be...
I get to feel understanding that he felt the way he did because of his own thoughts. Even his own thoughts about me, which I don't have to take on as true or my responsibility.
I get to recognize that I was expecting him to act differently than he believed he should.
I get to recognize that his choices didn't align with someone I truly wanted to be with.
And that's okay. That's my decision not because of any deficit on his part but based on my preferences.
I get to recognize that I acted in ways he didn't want to live with for his whole life. And that is because of his preferences not because I am insufficient in any way.
And I get to choose that love is worth the hurt and accept that as an acceptable casualty for opening my heart.
Because I had more coming that I wouldn't have been open to otherwise.