It seems that, no matter how toxic someone is in our lives, we can’t shake the attraction.
Why is that? It seems like we are insatiably attracted to them – like they are utterly irresistible. It’s like we are taunted by threads of hope that it will work out – that they are dangling in front of us, enticing us to keep reaching out. And all of it seems irrational. If we were to watch someone else go through it, we’d insist on them cutting things off altogether. But it’s not someone else — it’s us! And so we keep falling flat on our faces over and over again.
Even when you have already concluded that “it’s over,” when your phone lights up and their name appears, there is a glimmer of hope in our hearts. You would do anything to see them smile or be alone with them. You certainly don’t want to disappoint them by not answering!
But when you do look in their eyes, there is still something wanting. They are just not enough. They don’t “get” you – they don’t cherish who you really are. There seems to be an unfixable disconnect no matter what you do to try to fill it in. Even if they tell you you are beautiful, you don’t want to believe them because those words were used before – so now they are a source of pleasure and pain at the same time. Ugh.
A part of you is so familiar with the pain this person introduces in your life that it seems strange to not have it there. It’s a twisted cycle, you cannot seem to get out of. You know this person is not the best for you – but yet, you still want it to work. Indeed, your head and your heart are at war over this issue. The heart says to the mind, “Maybe it will be different this time.” The mind says, “Yeah, but remember how bad it hurt? Do you want to go through this again?” And so you go back and forth.
The trouble is one of self control. The heart does not actually believe that something good is coming – so it wants to hold on to something mediocre rather than nothing at all. The mind sees what is happening and knows that the heart is “in its own world” so it decides to be quiet. And so we end up in the same bad relationship all over again – the same heart that wanted to give endless chances is wrecked once again.
And so, what is one to do? If we truly value ourselves, we begin to set boundaries that enable healthy relationships. For example, there is a huge difference between someone who treats you as a priority and one that treats you like an option. The real power is in how you see yourself. Are you a priority or an option? We are often treated with the same level of respect we show ourselves.
Settling for less than we deserve is never a good choice. It is another symptom of not valuing who we really are.
Imagine your favorite story or movie of someone seeking a treasure. They ride through rain, risk their life, throw their body in the way of certain death just to protect someone they value. Do we value ourselves that way? If we did, truly, we would not answer the phone when certain people call. We would instantly know what to do — if they want to leave a message they can. And if you decide to call them back, it is when you are ready. All of these decisions help you gain momentum that you are worth something — you are indeed something worth waiting for!
Getting over a past hurt can take quite a bit of time
It’s like having a giant band-aid or cast on. You really can’t disturb the healing process by peeling back or taking a peek. Just like we need to let the would heal on its own schedule, our hearts are the same way. So when that person calls or tries to otherwise contact you and your heart is not fully healed, it’s best to not disturb your healing process by allowing contact.
It all comes down to choices — what we choose to tolerate and what we don’t. In the end, if we treat ourselves well, so with others. So don’t live a second-rate life by being suckered into someone else’s scheme. Stop, think, get a good grip on who you are so that you enable yourself to make better decisions going forward. There may always be a sticky spot with those certain, irresistible individuals. And so we learn to acknowledge our weakness and navigate around it. The captain of a ship knows that the hull cannot withstand a collision – so when she sees a bank of rocks on the horizon, she knows to pilot around them, using the headwinds in her favor. She smartly avoids the collision in order to avert any chance of shipwreck. Why? Because she herself is the ship holding precious cargo — her heart.
So what is your worth? Do you respect yourself at the same level you expect others to respect you? You will now.