So many, these days, seem to be struggling within their relationships, trying to assess the mess of their co-existence, and more times than not, attempting to gather the courage to leave. Fear is almost always the culprit for staying; fear of the unknown, fear of the “what if’s,” fear that there is nothing better, fear of regret. However, I’ve recently read someone’s response to fear, with regard to staying, and it was quite enlightening. She said, “Fear should be the reason you leave.” How true.

The truth is we do not regret the things we do, but instead the things we didn’t do. Never allowing ourselves to grow, to explore the endless possibilities this world has to offer, never trusting ourselves and our own ability to thrive and live, possibly for the first time, never giving our inner child a chance at a better life than that which was handed to us, and out of our control, in childhood; these potential regrets should spark a fire of fear so hot, we don’t even bother to pack a bag, when we exit.
We are, as a society, programmed to believe we cannot do this life, alone; the truth is we are never alone. Simply because we do not have a romantic interest or significant other does not mean we don’t have family, friends, other humans, existing, quite possibly in the same exact circumstance, around us, at all times. Of course, logically, we know all of this, but the aloneness comes more from within than from any external factor. It is much like being thirsty and without water, while sitting inside a tiny boat, lost at sea, surrounded by water and not a drop to drink. In other words, though we are almost always surrounded by other people, including family and/or friends, we still feel alone, because we do not have ourselves. Our external relationships [including friends and family] often directly reflect the turmoil within us and the relationship with ourselves [the closer the relationship, with regard to intimacy and proximity, the closer the resemblance to that which we feel, think or act about or toward ourselves] so, therefore, the same aloneness we feel within an abusive, negligent or unavailable relationship, we feel when we are left to ourselves, and typically, for the exact same reasons.
In my own life, I experienced many abusive relationships; the last one being the proverbial fork in the road. I had a choice: stay and spiral downward, into an even darker abyss OR chew off my own arm and free myself from a self-applied bear trap. I had to choose my own survival over what felt like my own right arm [that which was very familiar to me and which had become a tool of survival, in a very dysfunctional sense]. It was the most difficult and painful thing I thought I’d ever do, but somewhere, deep down, I knew my spirit and all the life I’d ever known in myself would be snuffed out, if I didn’t free myself. It was freeing, and it was a catalyst that set me running in a different direction; one which stopped me from running, altogether, and helped me to find the courage to stand still and be comfortable to sit with my own pain. The latter, of course, came after years of counseling, which I sought, in an effort to resolve the most abusive relationship of all; my relationship with myself.
Regardless of how it’s achieved, the relationship with the self has to be assessed, confronted and resolved. We cannot change anyone but ourselves, but once we change ourselves, the world around us changes, too; not because there is an issue within us that keeps others from loving or wanting us [that is a lie told to us through abandonment, negligence and/or abuse], but as a result of the fact that when we heal the relationship with ourselves and learn to love and respect ourselves, we will no longer attract, be attracted to or allow those who will do anything less than love and respect us, into our individual worlds.
We all deserve inner peace and happiness, true love and a safe place to continue to grow and live our lives to our greatest potential, but all of these are gifts we must give ourselves, by permitting ourselves to accept them, knowing we deserve them and refusing to accept anything less. The little boy or girl inside us is awaiting a time to be free from all that was involuntarily done to or not done for us, and we are the only people who can give our inner children a better life. I encourage all of you to take a second, today, to sit with yourself and imagine you, as a child, sitting next to you. Whatever comes next is up to you.
Love to all of you…you have my permission to accept it. Permit yourselves.