A few months ago, I was listening to a pastor speaking about changes in life in an Easter Sunday service. He said we always like for people, especially ones who we haven’t seen in a good while, to come up to us and say, “Wow, you haven’t changed a bit!” This statement is very complimentary to our egos, but not really much else. It would be much more endearing to our hearts (though we might not even recognize it) for someone to greet us with, “Wow! You have changed so much! I SEE it in you and it’s quite becoming on you!!”
As I pondered this simple, bizarre truth, I wondered how many times someone had seen me and thought I had changed, for the better.
I realize because of hiding my truth for years and years, I missed out on healthy relationships with virtually everyone I know. Now that I am in the best human relationship of my life, I see the difference in how everyone relates to me---as a healthy, spiritual being. Honestly, I don’t know if this realization would have been as stark had I not fallen madly in love with a man who pushed me to the seemingly bottom of my faith. Or, if I would have just fallen madly in love with a man who daily gives me intentional grace and freedom to reach higher in my beliefs, seeking the Lord with me. I know it has to be a combination of both experiences, and for this I am extremely grateful.
My past relationships were messy. I was clingy. I was co-dependent. I was the one who always needed validation. However, I thought that by doing services for the other person (from laundry to sex to paying for their fast food), they would realize how wonderful I was and how much they needed me. All I got in return was a person who always felt like I was their mother, or felt like they had to lie to me to satisfy my outrageous expectations of a perfect relationship. The one that really did me in was the one who broke my heart with secret addictions, sex talk hotlines and numerous "infidelities". And to this day, he still thinks of our years together as good memories and wants me back.
An article was sent to me shortly after we broke up. It was part of a spark that spurred me to seek out healthy relationship. Here is an excerpt from it:
For optimum results (to attract emotionally healthy people), start doing this in the first five minutes of meeting anyone.
HIERARCHY OF A FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP
What is a functional relationship?
Without the beginning base of truth in a relationship, trust cannot occur. Without the development of trust, respect will never be born. Without a level of respect for another, a functional relationship of love will not seed and nourish the partners. Intimacy occurs when we become willing to share our whole selves with another in this order. It is the gift we get when we learn to engage in a balanced, loving and functional relationship.
I had to start with truth to build upon the others. I couldn't get anywhere without truth. I found someone who agreed and was willing to embrace it with me.
It is still messy. However, I have learned I am an individual and I can be my own person. My partner will not hold me back---and I cannot hold him back, either. By loving myself, he loves me even more because I don’t rely on him as a sole source of affection. I will give---he will give. Neither of us will be perfect, we rely on truth first. It is harder than all of those easy, so-so relationships of the past. The truth is hard. The truth is WORTH IT.
I am continually seeking to be more loving to myself and to those who are precious partners and friends. We must know how to love and be honest with ourselves to be honest with others. I know I am loved beyond measure. I have a Heavenly Father who sees Christ first in me, if only I jump into the changes He directs. I am learning to embrace the change that God gives and I finally have someone who understands that truth with me. I can be a blessing. I am in joy. I am a part of the healthiest relationship one could ever experience. That truth is really all I need to be healthy and radiant in every other human connection in my life.