Thursday, December 18, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect (or at least that's what they say)

I guess a part of knowing yourself is knowing yourself. I love self-reflection but I hate identifying patterns that are unhelpful in life. It forces you to consider how your actions are going to affect your feelings, what your feelings say about your desires, and what you're going to have to change in order to get your desires met. Change, that is the hardest part.

Today in therapy I discovered that I am a people-pleaser. Well, actually it's more complicated than that. At almost any cost, I will say or do things in order to comfort and make someone else feel better, when the actual person who needs reassurance and comforting is me. Case in point: I think I'm dating some guy when said guy begins complaining to me about not feeling desirable to other girls. I could have said--"I'm a little confused, I thought that we went on a date and now you're talking to me about other girls like I am a friend. If that's the case, we can just be friends"--or one of the other straight-forward snappy comebacks my therapist throws into the suggestion box that sends me reeling into a fit of laughter. But instead of saying how I actually feel, I end up reassuring him that whoever he is talking about must have bad taste because I, for one, like nice guys.

But don't even get me started about whether or not he is a nice guy because I am still debating. Deep down I think he is and perhaps that is the problem. A nice guy who recently got a divorce and knows all about how a bad relationship is and can explain to me in detail why it failed and what it takes to have a good one. Holy Mother of God, I think, he is speaking my truth! Every word that comes out of his mouth I have experienced and I can't believe there is a man out there who truly comprehends what it takes to sustain a relationship. Communication, openness, compromise, truth, yadda yadda--hearing those words makes me feel as though someone finally gets it.

Except he doesn't because he is a hypocrite. I have a lot of sympathy for people and maybe he's just going through something right now. I mean, a divorce is a big deal but he admits that he chooses bad partners, women who he wants to rescue or help. Then when they realize he's too nice and that the comfort of a good relationship is too boring for them, they leave. It's hard for me to have that much sympathy though because while he's wasting his time complaining about a past relationship and a woman who wrecked his life, and the bad decisions he made by even choosing to be with her, he is ignoring the fact that there is a beautiful woman on the other end of the conversation who has a lot to offer and who any guy would be lucky to have (umm... hello, me! (^_~).

So, this is the point where I take what I learned in therapy and I use it. I tell him let's cut through the bs (yes, I said that!) nobody needs friends who live an hour and a half away. Besides who's kidding themselves because friends don't kiss, or cuddle, and they especially don't sleep next to each other. I tell him that I can't do any of that with him anymore because I like nice guys and I want to find a nice guy to be in a relationship with, but I know I'll end up getting my feelings hurt if we continue down this path. That seriously took a lot of balls because like I told my therapist earlier today, I hate rejection which is why it's so hard for me to tell the truth sometimes.

It got a bit quiet on the other end, but he finally broke the awkwardness by saying that he understood where I was coming from, which was a nice thing to say. The weird thing is I actually do feel a little bit better knowing that I was able to tell the truth and it was okay. Not only that, but I was able to recognize what I needed to do in this situation to make myself feel better and to avoid what I inevitably knew would happen. I can't do the casual fling thing and especially not with a guy who is genuinely sweet and caring. That makes it even more dangerous because his actions easily come off as meaning so much more than what they actually do.

I want a guy like that, but I also want a guy who isn't still stuck on his ex and who is able to form healthy relationships with women who are in a healthy place in their lives. I too am guilty of having a past of codependent relationships, but no more. I'm done with trying to change men and help them become the person I want them to be. It's a waste of time and effort, and I'm done with it. If a guy can't see that I'm freaking amazing, then I don't want to waste my time and effort chasing after him or being sad and broken-hearted when it's more than obvious that he doesn't return my same sentiments. I'd rather be alone and save myself the drama and heartache.

Sometimes I don't know what I'd do without therapy. Being able to speak my inner-dialogue and have someone tell me that I make sense is one of the best feelings ever. Even better is learning to trust the voice inside my head and to follow through and do things differently so that I'm not making the same mistakes over and over again. The last thing I want is to be where I was a year ago. Being single is difficult for me because I actually enjoy serious relationships, but its a million times better than being in a bad relationship.

The reason I am in therapy right now is because it is probably the only thing keeping me from making the same mistakes again. Until I can trust 100% that I can do it on my own, I'll continue to be in therapy. It is a gratifying feeling, however, to know that while being faced with the same issues I was faced with a couple years ago, through my work in therapy I am now able to make better choices and outcomes for myself. I hope that those choices will lead me to where I want ultimately want to be in life.

1 comment: