Rebuilding: Revealing Your Truth
One of the toughest things to do is to be truthful to yourself. And yet, it’s part of this journey I’m on. If you want to see more of the the journey, click here.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the circumstances that have led me to my current place in life. Why did I get here, how did I get here, what choices could I have made or made differently?
One theme that keeps coming up is truth. On the one hand, we have to deal with people who are not truthful with us. Well, actually, we deal with the results of them not being truthful. But we can’t change their decision to break our trust by playing with the truth. Our actions are after the fact, after the truth is mangled and the trust is damaged. We can’t change what they do, we can only change our reactions to it.
But the truth we can control is our own truth, how we perceive ourselves and how we express ourselves to the world. And this is a difficult, sometimes painful thing to do.
For me, it comes with a fair amount of pain. I have to admit to myself that I have damaged relationships with some of my choices, even if they were unintentional. I have to accept that I didn’t pay attention to give a partner what they needed. That resulted in pain for everyone and a a heartache that all must endure.
I also have to accept that having understood that, I put myself through even more pain by overcompensating for those shortcomings. By pushing a relationship further and faster, trying to make sure I didn’t leave someone behind, I went faster than the other person could or would, and created my own pain when they finally decided they didn’t want to continue.
The biggest common element in all of this is truth – my own truth. I know that I feel I am a better man when I am in a relationship – or at least I felt that way until recently. That’s because I focus on the other person to the exclusion of myself. I change to try to be what they need – and invariably, I get it wrong.
And the reason is that I am not being truthful with myself or them. By changing, I become someone else. It’s not intentional. I don’t set out to do it. Part of it is learned hyper-vigilance. I’m always watching trying to ascertain what a partner wants or needs, then morph into that.
But that’s often not who I am. And not who they were initially attracted to. So it stands to reason that their feelings change as I do. And in each effort to change who I am to satisfy them, I push them farther away.
What I am coming to realize more and more is that I need to stay true to myself. I am who I am, and if that’s what someone is looking for, great. Regardless of how attracted I am to someone, if they cannot accept who I am, right now, then it’s never going to get better.
So what are the truths I need to accept?
I Want A Partner: I need someone in my life who wants me in theirs. They have to be able to show that. And they have to be able to show that in a way that makes me feel wanted, makes me feel loved, and makes me feel safe in letting them in to my most vulnerable core. In the past, I have given this up far too easily because I want that partner in my life. And that’s a truth I need to deal with – that I have on the past thrown away, given away, my heart and my love to people who cannot return it. Who, for whatever reason, cannot give to me what I want to give them. And I have to accept the truth that I am susceptible to falling too quickly, and be vigilant and hold back until they can show me they want me in their lives.
In the past, I have ignored this truth, thinking I could out-love the person, overpower them with my love and they would come along. And that’s just wrong. I meed to accept this truth, that I need someone who wont just meet me halfway, but who will give 100% as well. To whom “we” is important. Ignoring that truth has not served me well.
I Am Physical: While the initial impression of this is that I want sex, that misses the point entirely. I need physical contact. I need someone who can reach over and rub my neck while we watch TV, without any need for a sexual connotation. Who is willing to hold hands, hug, or cuddle because they want to, and are willing to initiate it, not wait for me to take their hand, or give them the hug.
In the past, I have ignored this truth, expecting that “eventually” a partner will get more “touchy”. And when it doesn’t, I keep trying. So, I have to accept that this is who I am, what I want, and make those needs known. If they aren’t being met, I need to speak up. And if they still aren;t being met, I need to be willing to move on.
I Need To Be Wanted: Yes, this is in great measure about sexual attraction. I need to feel I am wanted, that I am sexually attractive to my partner. That they want me as much as I want them.
Where I have failed in accepting this truth is that I fall into the same hope that they will develop that desire. But when I don’t get it back, I get resentful. If I am the only one initiating intimate contact, it makes me feel like I am begging for the sexual attention. And when we do get physical, if the desire isn’t there, I get no emotional connection. It is empty, and I feel even worse.
I need to accept that I need my partner to want me, and if they can’t give me that, it isn’t going to work for either of us in the end.
I Have Baggage: We all do. And minimizing it doesn’t work. The truth to be accepted here is that I cannot change my past. I cannot undo what is done. And that my judgment in matters of my heart might just be suspect. I need to accept the baggage as part of who I am and move forward with that knowledge, not ignoring it.
I Am Imperfect: This is not to say I believe I am perfect – quite the contrary. But I have to accept this truth to allow myself the mistakes I will inevitably make, without bludgeoning myself with them. I am my own worst critic. For every person who has – in a well-meaning way – told me I am irresponsible for doing something, or a lousy parent, or any other of a variety of criticisms, I can guarantee I have already beat myself up about decisions that go sideways. My self-flagellation is an order of magnitude greater than anyone else could deliver.
I haven’t quite gotten the art of forgiving myself perfected. Or even remotely adequate for that matter. I suppose it’s why I’m so willing to forgive others, to ignore their shortcomings. Because I see my own. And since I don’t forgive myself, at least I can forgive someone else.
I Worry About Others At The Expense Of Myself: This is one of those truths that I need to really accept and improve from. I put myself at the lowest rung of priority. I work six days a week so others don’t have to. I don;t express what I really feel because I worry how it will make others feel. I bury my own needs and desires so that someone else can feel good or get what they want.
Now, to be sure, there is some good in that. But the truth is that I am willing to do it to the detriment of my own heart, my own needs. I genuinely care about others, but I need to be able to be more honest and look out for me much better than I have.
There are more truths, but what it boils down to is that I need to be honest about what I need and who I am before I can accept the truth about someone else. It’s going to be a difficult challenge, but it’s one that needs to be met.