Being what someone else wants... a recipe for tears...
Laura is a beautiful woman, her 55 years worn with elegance and class. She has a bright smile and a slender body. She has experienced her life as a feather carried by the wind: seemingly effortless. But now the feather is on the ground, crumpled and trampled as if an entire highway of lorries had passed over it.
She can’t understand. 35 years of marriage to a man she has given everything, her promising career as a ballet dancer when she was 20 years old, two beautiful children raised with dedication, devotion and passion, her desire to travel and explore the world... And yet despite all the love and the unconditional sacrifices she made for him, now he has left her for a younger, fresh, bubbly girl, the age of his daughter… Laura has fallen to pieces. She feels like she has been left with nothing; she feels lost. She asks me where and when she went wrong...
How many Laura’s do you know in your life? How much Laura do you have inside yourself?
Laura is just like all the passionate women in love that are choosing to adapt to the dreams and needs of someone else, who think that "being what the other person wants" is the recipe for their happiness...
But this is wrong; "being what the other person wants” is a clear declaration of defeat. This means abdicating yourself, choosing to model, adapt and conform to the rules, principles and dreams of someone else. This means stopping living your life, stopping your development and your own full expression.
Laura feels she has nothing left because she has sacrificed herself for years.
“I was happy” she says through tears. I believe her; but I also believe this wasn’t a whole happiness. True happiness is never dependent on the mood and the fickleness of someone else. True happiness is born inside yourself and it grows, strengthens and becomes bigger through your own self-expression.
True happiness does not adapt and comply, it is able to choose.
Relationships are a dangerous minefield because in the name of love you do crazy things that disrespect yourself.
You may think that being soft, compliant, caring, helpful, generous buys you the right to be cherished forever. This rarely happens. Relationships should be a space where you can and should exercise your dreams and your aspirations and grow and evolve with the support and love of another person. Relationships should be a precious and treasured space to develop yourself and help your partner to do the same.
Love is never a unilateral sacrifice. Love is expansion.
If your relationship asks you to squeeze and choke in the name of love there is something profoundly wrong and this needs to be looked at and resolved. "Being what the other wants” is a waste of your wonderful resources, gifts and dreams, the equipment that you brought into the world with you, to create your own personal masterpiece.
Hold on tight Laura: you still have the opportunity to be deeply yourself and make your life thrive, but you have to choose to “be as you want to be”.
(photo courtesy Flickr - Judith Garcia)