A famous expression states that love is blind. One element that causes love to be blind is desperation and settling. A man or woman wants someone so desperately in his or her life that they will overlook the glaring inadequacies, disrespect, cheating and other normally unacceptable behaviors or practices in a healthy relationship. How often have we heard a woman wail or a man sigh and say, “But I love that person” despite the betrayal and hurt.
How often have we forgiven actions that should end a relationship, clinging to an image we have created with rose-colored glasses? How many of us have shed tears from the heartache of the relationship, but refuse to give up the vain dream that somehow a miracle will occur; this person will change? Too often we forget that we cannot change anyone except ourselves, expectations and perceptions.
All relationships require work and dedication, but what if that work and dedication is one-way? How much of ourselves must we give before we become lost in an illusion? How often have we heard someone say, “I lost myself in him or her?” So many men and women, once free of the illusion discover the reality of self-denial and the emotional damage of clinging to toxic empty relationships.
So often we remain in these relationships because we fear being alone or suffer from low self-esteem. We stay because of “the children,” or financial security, or religious convictions. Perhaps we were raised in a cycle of abuse and continue the cycle with our choices. We stay because we have forgotten how to live and spread wings to fly. We stay for whatever reason until we lose our souls.
We become comfortable, complacent and accustomed to these dysfunctional relationships. Perhaps in the back of our minds we know what we are doing will never bring happiness, love and contentment. We create these self-lies that everything is fine, good, and perfect, anything but the truth.
Sometimes we rebel and cheat because we know what we lack, need or desire in relationships. Sometimes we turn to drugs and alcohol to forget the pain and sorrow. We throw ourselves into our children, careers, friends or anything, but the painful relationship. We stay so busy we don’t have time to reflect on needs and desires for the relationships our hearts and souls crave.
Often, these relationships will end with damaged heart sand souls. Once idealistic, loving and trusting men and women become bitter, hurt and empty no matter how the relationship remains. Many will repeat patterns and choose identical replacement partners. Others will be so damaged; new relationships cannot survive and thrive. Some will be permanently afraid of commitment and avoid love and trust.
The wisest will learn from the experience what NOT to seek out in a partner. They will work on themselves and heal from the pain and disillusionment. They will not jump from the frying pan into the fire and get into a worse type of relationship. Life is a series of lessons, not a series of self-reproaches or judgments about “horrible” choices.
We can learn and grow from all relationships good and bad. We can stop settling and choose partners who fit our needs and expectations, nurture healthy and wholesome relationships with patience, time and self-understanding/acceptance. We can take the first step by learning true self-love and acceptance. With self-love, we will NOT allow ourselves to become involved in self-destructive and toxic relationships.
Life is a short beautiful journey we fill with the things that bring us happiness, contentment, self-worth and inner peace. Our choices determine how the journey flows, so learning from what was to shape what is and will be makes all the difference in all relationships. Love and be loved, love is possible, but begins with self-love.