Independence: In A Relationship

woman_mirrorHere it is folks, the absolute truth of the matter…I am in a relationship…with myself.

Before you start rolling your eyes I would like to take a moment to consider what that means. For me, it means that until I lose my memory or die, I am stuck in the longest term relationship EVER. No matter how many trust issues I have with myself, I’m in this for the long run. Commitment issues? Don’t get me started. That said, this is the longest commitment I will be in for better or for worse. This takes arranged marriage to a whole new level. Since this relationship doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon, I suppose I had better figure out where I stand with myself. For that matter, maybe I should take some time to court myself, perhaps pay better attention to myself so that me doesn’t feel neglected. Can you imagine if I walked out on myself? There is a distinct possibility I could wake up one morning and find a note on my mirror in dry erase marker:

Dear Shannon,

I’ve tried. I don’t know what else to do. I have tried to get you to hear me but, you never listen. My feelings are hurt and I feel abandoned. You always seem to be too busy for me but you find time for your friends…and don’t get me started on work. What happened to us?

We used to be so great together. We used to do things and go places. I miss laughing with you, talking with you, and enjoying life with you. I feel like we are thousands of miles apart when we are in the same room. You know where to find me if you want to try again.

Love you always,

Yourself

This is the reality of being in relationship with yourself. Sometimes we can have an abrupt break-up. Other times, it is a slow departure until we wake up one day and think, Now where did I get off too? It is just as easy to take ourselves for granted as it is to take friends, family, and significant others for granted. Believe me, the last person you want to have pack their crap up and take off in a cab, is yourself. Everything else after you check out on you, is moot. I have been in an on again off again relationship with myself most of my life. We separated about a year after I entered my abusive relationship.  That was apparently the last straw for me.

teach-me-balanceGood news! Since I got back together with myself, we have been stronger than ever. I won’t lie, it has taken a lot of effort on my part. When I have something to say to myself I try to listen before I have to start yelling at myself to be heard. So not easy. I have subtleties and often times it takes a 2×4 to get my attention. I try not to neglect myself. Spending time with me has never been a priority because I have a tendency to put everyone else first. This was obviously a typical relationship don’t. In fact, if I am honest with myself, I probably committed every long term relationship taboo there is. No wonder I don’t trust myself. No wonder I have trust issues. How can I trust someone else if I can’t trust the most important person in my life…me?

valentine-dessertIn fact, how can I expect anybody else to do for me what I won’t do for myself?  I mean really? I have wanted flowers. Why didn’t I oblige myself and bring  home flowers? I wanted to dance. I told myself…I am too busy for that. I wanted to go for walks…I told myself…tomorrow. Tomorrow came and went. I could feel this little part of me just pouting and sulking from being put on the back burner. The worst part was when pouting turned to resentment. We all know nothing good can come of resentment.

My challenge for the next sixty days is to nurture myself the way I would nurture anyone I love. Each day I will do something thoughtful for myself to show myself I care. I will find a way to acknowledge the love I have for myself even if it is just remembering to say…I love you. We remember to do that for our friends, family, and significant others. Why wouldn’t we do that for ourselves? We are all survivors of something. There is no greater train wreck to observe than someone breaking up with themselves.

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