I'm a big fan of the idea that the right people will love us for exactly who we are. I'm a big fan of not having to change the essence of who you are to fit in with others. I'm a big fan of unconditional love. I'm also a big fan of other people's opinions of us being none of our business.
That's all good. The thing is I'm also a huge fan of being responsible for who you are and how you behave. It comes back to self love. We desperately need to love ourselves enough to be the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be. Sometimes that means taking a good hard look at who we are and identifying our own toxic traits. And then working like hell to change them.
We're not meant to stagnate. We're not meant to be the same people next year as we are today. We're meant to grow and improve and awaken.
Unconditional love is a beautiful thing. Responsible love is even more beautiful. I can love anyone unconditionally from a distance and so can others. I need to bear in mind that when I allow myself to behave in a way that is harmful to myself or those around me, then they are within their rights to walk away.
This is something I've wrestled with a lot over the past few weeks. In what seems like a different lifetime, I loved my partner with my whole being. There were parts of him that were intensely beautiful and there were parts of him that were intensely ugly. It was those ugly, venomous parts that I eventually walked away from. I didn't love him less... I loved myself enough to realise that he was never going to take responsibility for controlling his rage. I loved myself enough to realise that I never deserved to be called filthy names or to be on the receiving end of violent behaviour or to live in fear of what might trigger the next outburst.
Would things have been different if he had bothered to commit to and follow through on changing those parts of himself that were so damaging? Quite possibly. But he was too caught up in his addictions and hiding his face from introspection to even begin.
Since leaving him I've questioned whether it was right of me to even expect change instead of loving him exactly as he was. And that right there is where many of us get stuck in a turmoil of guilt. What dawned on me is this. I loved him in his brokenness. That never changed. But when a person isn't prepared to fix their brokenness so that the people who love him don't get cut on it, then it's time to love them from a distance.
I don't regret being in that relationship. I'm grateful for all I learned about other people and about myself. I'm examining my broken edges to make sure that I heal them enough that they don't hurt other people. I'm inviting you to do the same.