dimanche, décembre 18, 2011

Set him/her free

Stop clinging.
Open your hands wide.
Let someone move away from you if she or he wants to walk.

This isn't an easy lesson to learn.
It really is a relational paradox.
But it is proved accurate, at least in my life, again and again.
If someone doesn't feel free to leave, then he or she isn't really at liberty to stay.

The more emotion we use, whether it be with a child or with a lover, to engage them and keep them standing in one place, the more they really want to scram.

As we grow up, we sometimes find that dependency appears to pay dividends -- it makes people worry that we won't be o.k. if they need some distance, or maybe even need to take a break from a relationship.

"He or she won't be able to cope if I leave." How many times have you heard that?

Then there are the folks who continue to battle with their ex-spouses or girlfriends long after the relationship is really over.

It's a way of staying connected, but it means they are never truly free to move forward with another person.

It's even harder when you do care about someone.

Parents and children find striking the right balance very tough. I know that I have, with my daughter. For years I took her frustration personally, and as a reflection of my failure as a parent.

Now, though I'm not a model of balance, I try to step back and not simply react -- to leave space for her to feel her own emotions, instead of feeling mine.

When it comes to romance, I have also learned not to cling. This may be easier for me than others, because I crave and relish independence. It's actually harder for me to reach out than it is to be alone, which is why I need to keep working on connecting.

But at least I know, when I sense myself becoming vulnerable to someone, whether it be a friend or a potential "more" to back off, and allow them to make their own choices.

They aren't honest ones if you make them for someone else.

Sooner or later, he or she is going to wake up and realize they've been manipulated.

And you'll be alone -- because he or she needs to have reasons to stay that are wholly their own.

Which leaves you free to become the guy or the woman you want to be -- one capable of meeting them in-between, adult-to-adult, with a sparkle in your eye, mischief in your smile, and the excitement of moving forward, and not sideways.

Of course, there are also those who can't commit...but that's another blog post...

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