I Believe In Life Before Death.
How many people do you know who are living or rather, dying in unhappy, unhealthy, unsupported relationships?
I’m going to speak most specifically about romantic relationships, but this could apply to any form of relationship that’s bringing you down, rather than building you up… so stay with me.
I’d like to ask the question: Who decided that any one relationship was meant to last forever?
First of all, forever doesn’t exist in this world. Nothing lasts forever.
Second of all, everything, including us, as human beings, is constantly changing.
Who I am today is not who I was last month, let alone last year or five years ago. So when two people come together and make promises, say vows about staying together forever, although it’s a wonderful, beautiful intention (which, don’t get me wrong, I do believe may work out for some people — forever of course being until one dies), it’s pretty far-reaching and ambitious — the stuff that fairy tales and mini-series are made of.
Most people, I daresay, make these promises with a lot of unspoken conditions attached. I’ll love you forever, as long as… until you… providing I… I’m sure you can fill in the blanks, as the possibilities here are endless.
If you go into a partnership but don’t allow each other to, and support each other as you, grow and change, one or both of you will inevitably wind up a year, five years, 10 years down the road waking up to a stranger, or worse (but highly likely) your perceived enemy.
And so, sadly, what’s the point? Well, if you want it and you truly believe from the beginning, when you make the promises, possibly say the vows and agree to be together… If, and that’s a big if, because I fear that many people know early on that this other person they’re spending time with isn’t the one for them… isn’t the one setting their soul or heart on fire.
Many people, very early on, settle into a relationship out of fear, weakness, complacency, a lack of self-worth or understanding… the list goes on.
Yet, if you’re in it, you really must be willing to do the work, right from the beginning. Do the work. Be courageous. Have those difficult yet honest conversations. Take responsibility for your shit. Don’t be lazy. Don’t become complacent. But don’t just stay because society, parents, priests, whoever other than you says you must. That it’s the right thing to do. That’s bullshit. That’s self-imprisonment. That’s not living.
Kids or no kids. This still applies. We’re raising children in homes where parents are walking around either silently brooding and resentful, complacent and broken, loudly yelling and damaging, or somewhere in between… What are our children learning about healthy relationships? How will they ever learn how to be in relationship?
Yes, if something is broken, you try to fix it — this is a powerful lesson for all of us, yet I believe children and all of us need to be raised in a way that is empowering, loving, and in a way that teaches them that they are fully responsible for their own lives, that they deserve to be happy. We all do — so shit or get off the pot.
Do something to create yourself happiness or don’t, but know that it’s your choice. Don’t blame the other person for your discontent. Decide. Are you in or are you out? Live. Believe in life before death.
Don’t spend one more minute in a dead relationship. In an environment that’s energy-sucking. Believe that your children and your partner and you deserve to live in an environment that is life-enhancing. Empowering. In a home (or homes) where they know they are loved and the people around them are respected, valued and treated with kindness. A place where people are allowed to emote. To express. To feel.
All within a safe and supportive environment. If you’re not providing that for yourself or others, than what are you doing?
Holding onto a broken-beyond-repair relationship out of fear or obligation is cowardly.
Letting go of someone and the idea of what you’re relationship should be, so that you may both find yourselves, grow and realize true freedom and happiness, that takes courage. That is bravery. That is real love.
What if we let go of this story that’s been created about how we need to live, what we should do, and instead, allow ourselves and others to live into our fullest selves… whatever that happens to be and with whomever it happens to be, rather than feeling stifled in unhappy, unhealthy relationships where we try to own the other, rather than liberate them?
Is it sometimes best to stay? Absolutely. Is it sometimes possible to agree to live with one another, support one another and really honor each other’s independence, growth and path? 100% Yes. Will it take work? A whole hell of a lot of it. Will it be worth it? If two people are willing to make it happen, I believe the payoff will be immeasurable. Can it happen if both aren’t in full agreement? I dare say No. And this is the deal-breaker, the clincher… it takes two.
It takes honesty. It takes respect. It takes honor. It takes a shit load of patience, humor, communication and willingness to bend, without allowing yourself to break.
Never leave because you think it will be easier. Leave once you’ve taken the time to do the work. To listen to your heart, your gut, your truth, and once you know that they’re all saying that leaving is the right thing to do, leave. It won’t be easy, guaranteed. Most likely it will be really f-in hard. But that’s living, my friend. That’s being alive. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather feel the full spectrum of emotions available to us in this life than nothing at all.
I believe in life before death and I plan on living it, each and every day.
May you be happy; happy with yourself first, and then may you find happiness along the path with all of the others you meet along the way.
Cat O’Connor is a lover of the written word, inspired thinking, speaking and sharing, Saturday nights, Sunday afternoons, and Yoga… oh yes, Yoga. Look for her in used books stores or out-of-the-way coffee shops, on solo or family adventures, and when in doubt, on her Yoga mat. For Cat, writing isn’t an option. It’s therapy. It’s sanity. It’s purpose. She truly and humbly hopes that what she shares here stirs something in your mind, heart and, wouldn’t it be magic if it stirred just a little something in your soul? You can find Cat on Instagram.