Sunday, January 02, 2011

Receiving kindness from others begins with you being Kind to yourself.

A day after Christmas, I was in a creative art meeting with some really talented people. I got caught up in a conversation, a woman wanted some relationship advice, why she would trust the judgement of a bunch of ladies she knew nothing about besides a common love for a hobby is beyond me. I for one am clearly not the picture of someone that has it altogether relationship-wise. Either way, I listened. She asked some rather pointy questions about men’s behaviours; the confusion of dealing with someone that goes AWOL too often, then shows up when you least expect him to, showers you with attention and gifts then vanishes again, leaving you wondering if you’ll ever figure out his moods. The one thing that came to mind was ‘He’s not that into you’.

Funny that I should feel that about her situation, as I have had to deal with such situations myself. But I didn’t tell her. I didn’t feel it was my place to. Heck, she knew this person better than the rest of us and should be able to answer her question more than any of us could. I did think though, how common a situation that is - finding oneself enamoured with someone that isn’t that into you.

For example, a lot of people (especially men) seem to think I am independent, because I pull my own weight. I have never had to depend on a man to support me financially. Now that isn’t because I don’t want it. Heck, it’s part of our (women’s) DNA to want to be taken care of and protected. However, if all you’ve experienced of men are takers, you learn early on to pull your own weight, and somewhere along the line it becomes such a habit that you can’t break it even when the opportunity to, presents itself.

Now fast forward to shady relationships I’ve found myself in, where the guy continually reminds me of how independent I am as though it was a noble achievement. I am thankful for having had learned early on to be self efficient, but heck, I do get tired every now and then and sincerely want to find a refuge where I can hide and rest. But I cannot sincerely blame the men I attract. My self sufficiency has always been my first foot forward. I believe it is because subconsciously, I want the man in question to know right away that what I am looking for isn’t material. But hey, let's skip the pigeonholing and encourage more self-reflection and personal responsibility.

The truth is, I have been good at projecting what I am NOT looking for, but I haven‘t quite been clear on what I wanted, so can I really blame the men for taking and not giving? I mean, heck! It’s human nature to want to find something or someone to exploit, and if one finds a person that doesn’t care for their money, what’s to stop them from exploiting you? And if we make room for vagueness because we want to give them a free rein to choose and decide, can we sincerely claim the right to feel offended if their choice of treatment towards us is hurtful? If you are looking for a certain kind of commitment, do yourself the courtesy of being clear (to yourself first) about WHAT you want, as long as you are clear on that, you will be able to judge early on if you are getting it from the person you are investing yourself on.

It is NOT wrong to have specific wants; it saves you the trouble of being bitter with someone for not living up to your expectations, and if they choose to walk away, when what you want is made clear, then that tells you, you are with the wrong person. Someone (you included) that doesn't have the courtesy and kindness to be upfront and be clear, instead of being vague in their communications, just shows a lack of respect and decency.

Back to this woman’s question, WHY does her man do the AWOL and Make up too often? Simple, you (not necessarily her) are that needed boost to his ego. He loves you yes, but it’s more like, he loves the way you make him feel about himself. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with loving you for who you are. He has a life and has priorities and you aren’t one of them. But he needs you, because, like everyone else, he gets in a funk every now and then, and that’s when you become useful.

That’s when he comes back after the AWOL with an explanation for his absence - he was working on an intense project; his boss/partners were on him for a project that needed to be concluded urgently; he had to deal with some unexpected personal tragedy; he went to a retreat somewhere, where there was no telephone signals; he was out of town (when indeed he was probably sitting at home watching cartoons, or spending time with the person that really matters him); he was ill….the list is endless. The shit of it is that they are all legit and believable, and heck, even acceptable explanations.

But let’s be honest here, when you want something (or someone) and you want them badly enough, you will MAKE a way to be available ALL THE TIME, at worse anticipate you unavailability no matter what. You may say, yes but he emails when he can, he sends text messages, he is very sweet when he finally surfaces, that has to count for something? See, he isn’t exactly an idiot, so he comes with the right attitude - missing you and showering you with whatever makes you tick, because he knows that with the right tweaking, he gets you caressing his big fat ego with your adoration of him…..He will go AWOL as soon as he is satisfied.

Now here is a home truth. Most of the time, these takers tell you from the onset that they are not that into you, but it is often times so sugar coated that we ignore it. We are responsible for being kind to ourselves. Be specific to yourself what you want in any relationship. If an FSA (f**k service agreement) is what you are after, be clear about that. If you want a relationship with a certain level of commitment and accountability, be clear about that too. Do not be coy about sharing your opinion on the matter with the other person either. What is most important is to pay attention to what the other person is saying to you, especially when your expectations has been made clear. It will save you the trouble of making excuses for their bad behaviour.

Trust me, there isn’t a pain as painful as longing for someone that is not that into you. It is sad for you to like somebody that doesn't like you the same way, and that's tough enough. But there's nothing like the torture of waiting and hoping and longing and making excuses and dragging it out. If you take away all of the waiting and hoping and longing, all you're left with - at worst -is, 'I like him. He doesn't like me.' And you‘re done. You can move on.

Now, you have two choices, the next time he disappears again, let him go, and go get a life yourself, or wait for the next make up visit, because it will come as soon as he finds himself in a funk again. A taker (man or woman) will do anything to get what they want from whoever is available. Be kind to yourself this year, Define what you expect and go for it. It’s out there waiting for you, you just need to recognize it. Happy New Year!.

©Naan Pocen