Keeping for Myself…

Relationships.

They are difficult… especially relationships that are meant to be long-term.

My latest entry was about a break-up with Mr. Hottie pants… it’s been several months and my life has significantly changed. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and when I look back on my past experiences, I feel as if I’m looking through someone else’s eyes.

Although I wish all things in life were easy and my way… I’m realizing that they are not. My current boyfriend, My Cowboy, is my best friend. We laugh together – full belly laughs with tears in our eyes, we cry together, we learn together, we create together… it seems as if we were made for one another. He completes me and he says that I complete him.

My Cowboy stretches me. He helped me make it through my final classes of my Master’s Degree. He encourages me to apply for jobs that he is confident that I can handle and calms the anxiety and doubts that I have about myself. He challenges thoughts and ideas that are engrained so deeply within me… showing me alternate possibilities.  Most of all, he loves me for me. He embraces my dreams, my creativity, my quirkiness and tells me that “You are not too much to handle.”  I truly can’t imagine living my life without him. He says he feels the same way about me.

It’s been four and a half months, and he’s finally fallen off the tall beautiful pedestal upon which he was place by yours truly. It was a painful day… and I still love him more – everyday. I’ve realized that the only reason he fell off that pedestal was because I created it out of my expectations and beliefs. How I was able to lift him up there is beyond me. He tried to climb down… but I held him captive in my mind.

Back to stretching… I realize that stretching is good- wonderful, in fact. Stretching causes me to consider others beliefs and to view their actions as valid. Stretching causes me to look beyond my eyelashes to see and accept others just as they are, where they are, and how they are. Stretching challenges what I know to be reality and to accept others’ view of reality as theirs. Yes – he stretches me daily. It’s painful… but I endure because I know he has my best interests at heart. (… and how could I not mention that I’m almost sure that I challenge his thoughts and beliefs as well?)

Figuring out how much to give and take is painful in long-term relationships. He likes hot peppers with every meal and I am the original Cookie Monster. He loves to plan and be prepared while my free spirit dances in the breeze. He loves to cook and create in the kitchen and I am content with washing the dishes. He hangs on to aspects of singleness while I’m ready to jump into marriage. He has friends – I have acquaintances. I love our differences… and I struggle intensely with our differences.

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, Mere Christianity, “The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose.” I have been so focused on our differences and how painful and threatening some of them feel… that I fear that continuance in my behavior will cause the loss of the one whom I love the most on this earth (children and family excluded, of course!). What was I focused on? Keeping him captive with ropes made of my beliefs. According to C.S. Lewis – I’m on the fast track to loss. What’s a better focus? Growing the relationship. This theory sounds simple so why do I struggle so much? I have always been the one on the outside- the fighter and the loner. Acceptance for me is not easy and is usually preceded by a phenomenal struggle. I will fight until my last breath before I will give up.

My aunt once cautioned me to choose my battles wisely. This is it. I’m choosing… I’m not really letting go… I’m giving my best gift ever back to God. I think He has a little more polishing to do… on the both of us.

Maybe all of these thoughts didn’t make sense to you… and I’m okay with it. Sometimes, we just need to let it all out.

The next entry will be about crochet…. I’m sure of it. ;-)

Love always, Rachel

 

PS. My Cowboy has Mr. Hottie Pants beat – hands down. I’m super thankful for enduring the pain of loss. My Cowboy was worth every tear.

We’re gonna make it…

There is always something to learn each and every day of our lives. I’m back to the dating thing… so if you’ve stayed tuned in, you’ll be interested in hearing the ending to the Mr. Hottie Pants saga. If you’ve just tuned in… there may be a few tidbits you can walk away with. If you don’t want to hear any of it… close out this page and come back later. No offense taken. :-)

I’ve done quite a bit of self-reflection for the last few days. I’ve come to several conclusions… the biggest conclusion is that I miss my dad. Bunches. I was talking with another father today – he’s young and his beautiful daughter is on the verge of dating. He has stepped up to the plate and has taken a protective role over his daughter with the intentions of helping her find a suitable mate instead of allowing her to be trampled upon like a doormat. This made me realize that I wish my own father was still here. Fathers have a way of making life feel better. I miss you, dad.

Conclusion #2: I revert to victim mentality at the most inopportune moments. This happens to people who have experienced abuse. It’s so ironic that my day job consists of guiding teens to healthy adulthood and instilling healthy attitudes within them… but my own life reverts back to ugly defaults at seemingly random times. What is this victim mentality? You may have picked up on it a couple of entries ago: I’m waiting for someone to want me – anyone. My attitude was as if anybody who wants me will be okay and we will live happily ever after. (There’s a voice in my head screaming, “Stop it!”)

Side note here: Okay ladies (sorry gents)… just stop it. It’s important to stand up for yourself and be a little more on the choosy side. Yes – I realize you’ve been waiting for literally YEARS for Prince Charming to come and sweep you off your feet… but the fact of the matter is Prince Charming is not every nice guy that pays attention to you!

Conclusion #3: I try too hard. Now we have progressed to the coveted Mr. Hottie news. He wasn’t Prince Charming. Well… he WAS Prince Charming… but not MY Prince Charming! I made too much out of the relationship and he was willing to comply. Mr. Hottie was kind, sweet, funny, cuddly, smart, happy, a hard-worker… but not ready to sweep any woman off her feet. I realized that I had reverted to victim mentality because I knew in my heart that this relationship would not work out yet I did the best I could to persuade him that he was my Prince Charming. Yep. JUST STOP IT, RACH. (My sincere apologies to Mr. Hottie – but he already knows this.)

Another side note: I wish you the best, Mr. Hottie. Your princess is gonna be one lucky woman when you sweep her off her feet!

So…. onwards on my dating path…

Conclusion #4: My self-worth is not based on other’s opinions of me. Rejection is a dime a dozen. (Insert your own sarcastic comment here. You didn’t know this would be an interactive blog entry, did you?) It’s easy to let myself get down when I feel rejected. I have actually never been great at handling rejection so when it happens, my immediate response is to question myself. See the error in this train of thought? Remember when we learned in 7th grade that the world does NOT revolve around us? Duh. Rejection can be birthed from any reason or circumstance. We cannot guess what another person is going through. Rejection is okay. Stand strong and remind yourself who you are…

Yep, another side note: Can’t remember who you are? Get out a piece of paper and write it down… I’m pretty sure you are witty, clever, smart, and if you’ve made it this far – pretty intelligent because who else is going to put up with my writing?

Rejection is not who you are – it’s just an unpleasant event that happens from time to time…  to time… to time.

Get over it. :-)

The final conclusion that I’ve come to (wheew!! Almost done!!) is that it’s important to let go in order to make room for the new. Many people don’t accept or embrace this concept. They are hanging on sooooo tightly to the past – that the joy of the future never finds them. I saw this graphic on FaceBook that really resonated with my heart.

Woman's Mood

Wait… not that one. Sorry!

This one:

Letting Go

Letting go is tough! However… (yep – the big BUT)… it’s necessary in order to make room for future joy. DO IT!!

Thanks for sticking with me as I stumble through this life. We’re gonna make it.

Ooooo yeeees weee aaaare!!

Love always,

Rachel