Thursday, June 19, 2014

Like Ripping Off a Band-Aid

Day #2: Update an old post

In December, I wrote this post about emotional baggage, and the way it affects your new relationships. At that point, I was spending a lot of time with someone who had gone through a pretty shattering breakup a couple of months before that, and there was definitely a lot of baggage in the way of anything potentially happening. And that was fine - as I wrote in that blog post, I understand (and have) baggage just as much as anyone else. I respect it, and I know that sometimes it can truly be the reason that something doesn't work out.

Here we are, almost 7 months after I initially wrote this blog post, and my perspective on baggage has changed a little bit. I still understand and respect it, and I get that there are things that will never go away...but I also feel that baggage easily becomes a crutch or an excuse for not moving on, in which case, you need to take some responsibility.

They (whoever they are) say that time heals all wounds. And I believe that to be mostly accurate. Time will heal a broken heart, and time will help alleviate the grief of that failed relationship. But time isn't going to eliminate the emotional baggage that you are holding onto. That's your responsibility. Letting go of your fear, your lack of faith, your unwillingness to let someone else in - that's up to you.

At what point are you letting your fear take over? At what point are you guarding your heart so much that you aren't letting anyone else get close enough to you for you to care about them? And when do you acknowledge that as losing the battle? You're not winning because you're alone or because you're in control of your feelings and not letting your heart find someone else. That's not how you find happiness in a life with someone. That's the recipe for being alone. More importantly, that's the recipe for waking up one day and seeing exactly what you missed out on by being scared and closed off, and by letting your baggage control you. Do you want to open your eyes one day, when the person who was with you through all of it is happy with someone else, and realize that what you wanted was staring you in the face all that time and you were too scared, mad, hurt - whatever - to see it?

It's easy to close your heart off. It's easy to say you don't care and that you don't have feelings and that you want to be alone. I've said it, I've felt it. It's easy to let your emotional baggage control you and to let yourself be convinced that it's better to be alone than to be hurt. It's more difficult to open your eyes and see how much you care about someone. It's harder to recognize your jealousy when they talk about other dates they're on or other people they've been seeing. It's harder to admit that you care, even harder to say it out loud. But in the end, nothing that was truly worth it, was ever super easy.

We all have baggage from previous relationships that we will always carry, that friends, therapists, and new relationships will help lighten but will likely always be there. Time will fade the heartache, and will heal the wounds. But it's our own responsibility to make a conscious choice to be open to the next person who could love us. Do you want to miss out? Do you want to blame someone else for what someone else did you to? Do you want to be the one that gets left behind because you were scared to close your eyes and jump?

Time heals all wounds, but you're the one who has to rip off the Band-Aid. What exactly are you waiting for?