When People Stay

7 12 2013

Author’s Note:  Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post entitled “When People Walk Out” and in this post, it talks about when people leave you, and do so without looking back, and what our response should be.  I realized that I never assumed the best in people, and described what happens when people don’t walk out, and when they stay.  So this is for that purpose.

Congratulations.  Someone didn’t leave.  They had the opportunity to do so, and they didn’t go.  If you’re in the middle of a conflict or a trying time, I know that you appreciate their commitment to you in a way that you’ve never had it mean to you before.  I know what that’s like.  A few months ago, I was going through a rather difficult time, and I didn’t want to drag the person that I was dating through that mess…and I gave them the opportunity to walk away.  I gave them that freedom and I said, “go, make life less stressful for yourself.”  And they stayed.  And they’re still staying.  This is rather overwhelming to me, because like I said in the earlier post, I’ve been left a lot.  When the hard stuff happens, people are prone to leave.  It’s just easier.  It’s easier to give up and walk away, than to stay, and work through it, fight through it, or support through it.  So yay you!  You were not left.  What now?

When someone chooses not to leave, it is a lesson of love again.  I don’t care how well you think you know what love is.  I don’t care how many times you’ve told someone you love them.  But many times, when someone chooses not to leave, and decides to stay in your life, this is the prime opportunity of your life, for you to learn a little more about love.  I guarantee it.  Like in the scenario in the opening paragraph above, since that person has stuck by me, I’ve learned a little more about what it means to love someone.  It still amazes me sometimes, that someone thought that I was worthy of sticking by when the going got rough.  But love is like that sometimes.  Sometimes, it teaches you that you are worthy of being loved.  Which is overwhelming, in of itself, but more than that, sometimes, the fact that someone loves you enough to stay with you teaching you more about what love truly is, and what it is not.  I am sure that the following is familiar to you:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

 

In all of that, we see that love requires a lot from you.  This list is just the barely beginning.  If I am truly to embody love for someone, then at all times, I am supposed to have all of these emotions towards those that I love.  I will be the first in line to admit that I don’t meet this criteria at all times.  I am selfish sometimes, I sometimes can’t get over things that my loved ones have done in the past, sometimes I am distrustful…but I’m working on that.  I am trying my best to be that loving person in that loving standard, but I will be the first to say that I don’t always do that.  I am working on that.  But the point is, that once you make the decision to stay with someone, or when someone makes that decision to stay with you no matter what…the test of love comes out.  You and that loved one will probably be put through a rough period of trials for awhile, until life decides that you’ve proven your love to each other enough. 

When someone chooses you, this is the time for you to grow.  One of the things that I love the most about those that I love dearly and who have chosen to stick by me through thick and thin, is that they’re not afraid of telling me the truth.  And they tell me the truth and call me out on my stuff.  They hold me accountable, they tell me to quit being an idiot.  They call me out on my stuff.  When I am pushing them away because I’m going through something….they tell me to stop doing so.  When I’m avoiding them because I don’t like their truth that they told me, they hang around me all the more.  They discuss things with me, explore my heart, get to know my thoughts, because they truly care about me.  Suddenly, when someone loves you, they care about your well-being and challenge you to grow.  They do so in a healthy way.  However, a word of caution:  their challenges are only as effective as the positive attitude that you are able to receive that challenge.  If you approach their instruction and correction with a heart full of pride and arrogance, their challenges will be useless and will create havoc in your relationship.    A story:  I knew this couple once.  They’d been together for forever, and the couple once had a relationship where both of them called each other out on their stuff, and they challenged each other, and grew together.  Then something happened, and one of them started to struggle with self-identity and confidence issues, and started taking these challenges as criticisms.  Today, the relationship is not the same, it is unhealthy and damaging to both of them, because they are unable to communicate and are unable to express that love in anything but through two shared negative experiences.  The moral of that relationship is that if you’re unable to receive someone’s honesty, you cannot give it, and you also will receive it in the wrong terms.  And that is not a healthy way to respond.  I have found that in my experience, when I am challenging someone to grow, it takes the pressure off of my own individual total pursuit of perfection, and I just get to focus on one thing at a time, which is majorly helpful.

When someone stays, don’t constantly test their commitment to staying.  At some point, you just gotta know it for a fact.  This is one that I struggle with.  And this is a struggle that is mine and mine alone.  I can’t expect anyone else to fix it, nor can I expect anyone else to tell me how to fix it.  I have just got to learn it with each person that comes into my life and stays.  But, I really struggle sometimes whether worrying if someone is genuine when they say they’re not leaving me.  For some reason, I doubt them once the commitment is made.  I don’t know why.  I’m sure a psychologist would tell me that this comes from a line of people leaving me before, and trust issues that I have.  I don’t really want to by psychoanalyzed here, nor do I really want to go in-depth here.  But the short and sweet fact is that I struggle with knowing that a person is committed to me, and no matter what happens, they’re standing by me.  This person is in my corner from now on.  I don’t feel like I constantly test whether or not someone will leave me or not…but within the space between my ears, a parade of questions comes marching in from somewhere, wondering if the person is leaving me just because I haven’t heard from them in this amount of time, or because they’re distant, or etc.  Constantly worrying about someone’s presence in your life is a very unhealthy way to live.  Doing so has the ability to suffocate the other person.  I have learned this from relationships in the past, and this time, I am doing my best to combat those militant questions with the facts of how that person has not left thus far, and will not leave.  Don’t make the other person prove to you something over and over again, when they’ve proved it to you in the first place.  At some point, it no longer becomes their problem, but your problem for not accepting that.  It’s suddenly your problem for making them prove to you over and over again, that they’re not going anywhere.  I am doing my best to ensure that the people who have chosen to stay in my life do not have to prove to me why they’re with me, and I am doing my best to simply accept the gift of what they are to me and all that they bring to my life simply because they’ve chosen me.  

When people stay, this is when you get to be the most “yourself.”  Let me explain this concept.  Let’s apply this to a friendship.  Say you become friends with someone simply because you both like video games.  Initially, all you two talk about are video games.  Eventually, the conversation will sway to other topics.  And let’s say there’s some divisive issue that the two of you disagree on, but you come to the conclusion that there are plenty of other things that you agree on, and that one issue won’t break your friendship.  As time goes on, and the years pass, you notice that you’ve stopped worrying about what this person will think, because love is acceptance.  You no longer worry about how they’re going to react, or what they’re going to say, they’re simply just going to accept many things about you.  Some things may be a struggle, but at this point, you’re no longer going to be concerned with pulling off a certain type of “image” with them, they get to see you without your makeup, so to speak.  As time passes, they see you at your best, and they see you at your worst.  They see how happy coffee makes you, and they see you when you’re sleep deprived and ill.  You’re no longer trying to be a good person, you’re just yourself.  I love this. I love when I can stop trying to appear cool and they see me for the big nerd I am in reality.  Let them see it all! Go beyond the surface, and talk about the real stuff, the true stuff.  Learn their past, their history, and allow them to study you as well.  This is where a real relationship, a true relationship, a deep relationship….this is where it all begins. 

Because you are a beautiful person, and you are worthy of someone choosing you, and staying despite all of the muck and dirt in life.  Everyone needs somebody that they can count on.  Be that to someone in this world.  It just makes things a lot easier. 

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