“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.”
~ C. JoyBell C.
*Warning: Swear alert. Swears ahead.
I did something quite out of character for me yesterday.
There is someone who has been an important relationship in my life for a long time. You know the kind of relationships you just expect to endure, and to stay strong and connected. This person knew me, loved me, and was proud of me back when I was well and riding the crest of a wave of successes in my personal and business life.
The life I like to think of as my ‘former’ life. The one pre-illness. The one pre-psychic awakening.
The life I live now embarrasses the hell out of this other person. It has made things uncomfortable and awkward between us, without any kind of touchstone where we can easily connect, no matter how hard I try.
But in truth, we’ve been grown apart for a very long time, and so much of my championing and nursing along of the relationship comes from a sense of duty as much as from a place of love.
We speak intermittently. It’s been months now. I do my best to keep them in the loop of my life, so they were aware that I have been unwell. That I’m still unwell. When they called my home yesterday, Ben answered the phone because I was outside with my head in the toilet, violently ill from my lyme meds. He let the person know that I’d be a few minutes. He was politely honest about my situation.
Still, in keeping with the way this relationship has headed, the person did not ask after Ben, or me, or the farm. They talked instead of their latest achievements, and the achievements of others in their family.
When I was finally able to take the phone, this person did not ask after my health, not even in the polite way we all do where we don’t really need to hear the answer but we do want to observe social graces.
They just wanted to know what was happening with my career. Was I published yet? Why was everything taking so long? What was the hold up?
All I could do was stumble around saying that these last two years hadn’t been my finest (for those of you who don’t know, I was dying from unresponsive congestive heart failure, and then received a diagnosis of lyme disease where the treatment is saving my life but in the process making me endure the seven circles of hell) as this person insistently reminded me of who I used to be, and what I used to do. The life I had no choice but to walk away from.
For a moment I felt like one of life’s greatest losers. The shame was overwhelming. I felt so small.
I’ve been raised to be polite. But something happened yesterday. I got angry. And in that space of anger I also felt a need to put a stop to this.
“Fuck off!” I said gruffly. And then I hung up.
I shocked even myself.
But now, with some time and space between me and the big ‘hang up’, I’m feeling better about things. Cleaner.
Truth is, I still love them.
And I see the insecurity in THEM. The need for me, as part of their life, to be someone who others will judge well, and so judge this person well too.
But allowing them to heap shit upon me is not an act of self-love. Perhaps you remember that back at the end of 2013 I ran a retreat where all of us made a sacred vow – to love and treat ourselves well in 2014, to put ourselves and our needs front and centre in our lives rather than always playing second fiddle to everyone else.
I’m living that vow, and it is radically changing my world. In the best of ways.
It really is okay to say NO to conditional love. I hope that in sharing this experience, you can embrace that truth too.
Much love to you, Nicole xx