You’re never gonna love me … are you?

I was at dinner tonight listening to an attractive woman tell me about her birthday. It was a week of celebration with friends and family and some guy she chose to call her boyfriend. They’d been dating for nearly a year, and the relationship was going nowhere. She clearly wanted something she would never find with that man and hadn’t suffered enough yet to walk away…

What is it about the unobtainable that makes us want it so badly?

There are certain people to whom you’re attracted who are just plain toxic, regardless of whether you’re dating or just hooking up.

There’s an insatiable irresistibility about these people, in the way that they are close enough to you just to be out of reach.

It’s like you are constantly grasping for the threads of hope they dangle in front of you, whether intentional or not, but you somehow still find your fingers slipping into thin air.

You fall flat on your face, and it’s not the first time you’ve done it, nor the last.

You love seeing this person’s name light up on your phone. You would do anything to see him or her genuine smile. You crave the way he or she looks at you when you’re alone together.

But, you’re looking into his or her eyes, and you’re not quite getting the reflection you want.

There’s a disconnect, a sense of distance that tells you he or she isn’t quite present with you and never will be, despite how badly you want him or her to be.

He or she can say you’re beautiful, and you want to believe it because the words reach a part of you that makes you ache with both pleasure and pain.

A part of you seeks the pain this person gives you. It’s a twisted cycle of going back and forth to this person, and you can’t stop yourself from returning because of all the possibilities you convince yourself await.

“Maybe, this time, will be different,” you tell yourself with willful naiveté. You know better, but you turn a blind eye, anyway.

18b085406edd4928a19de6d50f3ceb52The issue in being the one who always gets hurt is rationality takes the backseat in driving your decisions. You know perfectly well what is happening, what the consequences will be and why it’s not good for you.

I love the words James Taylor wrote about this very topic

“Do me wrong, do me right

Tell me lies, but hold me tight

Save your good-byes for the morning light

But don’t let me be lonely tonight…”

You’re well aware there’s a difference between someone who treats you like a priority and someone who treats you as an option.

Usually, rationality does eventually win, but often, it takes a while to get there. Your emotions trump the bald truth screaming in your face because you give in too easily to your desire to wrap your arms around his or her neck again.

I suppose this can be perceived as weak and emotionally immature, and to an extent, it is.

We’re told never to settle for less than we deserve. So, why do we do it? Does giving in to temptation and giving up some of our power to someone who doesn’t regard us as high as we deserve to make us lesser?e6fb318de4f19fc2b3e5d7e193523ab5

Perhaps, it just makes us all the more human to be foolish, hopeful, vulnerable and stubborn, all at once.

We purposely won’t listen to our friends’ advice, acutely aware of the damages that will arrive after that long-anticipated, most likely drunken, kiss. All we want is for them to want us, too.

Getting hurt is one of the most intimate experiences you can have with someone else. It happens to even the strongest among us because we all have feelings and memories of which we are reluctant to let go.

But, I realize that while you may not be able to control how you feel, you do have control over how you allow yourself to be treated.

As much as we’d like to believe people would change for us, they, realistically, never will. It’s important we recognize and accept that.

There’s only so much you can tolerate, and part of the solution is figuring out your limits and what you ultimately want for yourself. It’s not easy when you find yourself slipping back into old, familiar patterns. But, in the end, your happiness is in your hands.

Some people, no matter how much we are drawn to them, are not worth that sacrifice.

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

 

Your life seems perfect… but there must be more to living than a mortgage and a lawn to mow…

c3d72fd973c23a7018df5610f19eab09Many people believe that if they just collect a house, a spouse, a car, and 2.5 children, everything will be “perfect.” Life has a checklist. You check each item off, you get to be happy and old for a couple decades, and then you die.

But life doesn’t work that way. Problems don’t go away — they change and evolve. Today’s perfection becomes tomorrow’s swampy cesspool of shit, and the quicker we accept that the point of life is progress and not perfection, the sooner we can all order a pizza and go home.

Perfection is an ideal. It’s something that is approached but never reached. Whatever your conception of “perfect” is in your pretty little head, it is, in itself, an imperfect conception.

There is no perfect. There is only what you wish in your head.

We don’t get to decide what perfection is. We don’t know. All we can know is what is better or worse than what is now. And even then we’re often wrong.

When we let go of our conception of what is perfect and what “should” be, we relieve ourselves of the stress and frustration of living up to some unobtainable standard. And usually this standard isn’t even ours! It’s a standard we adopted from other people.

Accepting imperfection is hard because it forces us to accept that we have to live with things we don’t like. We don’t want to give that up. But life will never conform to all of our desires. Ever. And we will always be wrong about something, in some way. Ironically, it’s the acceptance of this that allows us to be happy with it, allowing us to appreciate the flaws in ourselves and in others. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Blaming the world for our problems is the easy way out. It’s tempting and it can even be satisfying. We’re the victims and we get to be all emotional and indignant at all of the terrible injustices that have been inflicted upon us. We wallow in our imagined victimhood so as to make ourselves feel unique and special in ways in which we never got to feel unique and special anywhere else.

But our problems are not unique. And we are not special.

The beauty of accepting the imperfection of your own knowledge is that you can no longer be certain that you’re not to blame for your own problems. Are you really late because of traffic? Or could you have left earlier? Is your ex really a selfish asshole? Or were you manipulative and overly demanding towards him? Is it really the incompetence of your manager that lost you your promotion? Or was there something more you could have done?

The truth is usually somewhere around “both,” — although it varies from situation to situation. But the point is that you can only fix your own imperfections and not the imperfections of others. So you may as well get to work on them.

Sure, shit happens. It’s not your fault a drunk driver hit you and you lost your leg to a botched surgery. But it’s your responsibility to recover from that loss, both physically and emotionally. So get recovering.

Blaming others for the problems in your life may give you a smidgen of short-term relief, but ultimately it implies something entirely insidious: that you are incapable of controlling your own fate. And that’s the most depressing assumption of all to live with.

This is my journey … this is my life!

Rob Cantrell