It amazes me sometimes just how wrong about a person you can be. You could spend days, weeks, months, years even, lying to yourself; telling your heart and your soul that they’re the one for you, that they’re the best friend you’ve ever had, that their flaws are insignificant.
I started writing this article months ago when I was having a falling out with a very close friend of mine who I’ve had on and off strong feelings for since we were in high school. In the back of my mind, I’ve been nagging myself to revisit this and see if my perceptions have changed. Much to my surprise, whilst we are okay now, the things he said to me are still painfully true.
This boy, who I thought I knew like the back of my hand, who knows me inside and out and who’s been there for me and experienced the best and the worst sides of me (there’s many), made me see him in a completely different light and made me feel vulnerable as if there was a whole other side to him I had no idea about.
In a fight to have him realize that his actions affected people other then himself, he was adamant in his belief that relationships are based on perception instead of treatment. He warned me to be less concerned with his physical actions and instead be more concerned with what I really thought about him and the person he is.
It took me weeks to really understand what he meant. For hours I cried to my friends wishing he would just realize that I needed to be validated and to have him tell me he cared about me and that he was sorry for the way he treated me.
Eventually, my brain clicked. It was like I finally understood that maths question I’d spent hours pulling my hair out over.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself in a very short period of time. More importantly, I’ve learnt a lot about my relationships with others.
When you think about it, every moment of every relationship you have: with your mum, dad, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend – anyone, is spent evaluating the other persons character. Every interaction with them that you have either challenges or affirms what you already think of them.
Maybe you take note that your Mum gets upset when you don’t call. You remind yourself that she is caring in a sometimes smothering way and that your love for her outweighs the anger and frustration you feel when she’s constantly nagging or checking up on you.
Maybe you take note of the way your boyfriend squeezes your hand when you walk through a busy mall. You remind yourself that you love him because he’s protective. When you fight, you’ll ask yourself: Do I feel more anger and resentment now then the love and happiness I feel towards him outside of this argument?
Essentially, the big question here is: What happens when one thing makes you question every single thought about someone you’ve ever had?
In the course of life there’s a place for love, for peace, for friendship and for family. What’s worse, there’s a place for breakdowns, for heartache, for misery and for grief. There’s a place for relationships to blossom and there’s a dark, dark place for them to end.
It’s so important to me, as it should be to you, that I am in charge of the way I feel about someone. I’ve realized the hard way that I cannot live my life with a constant and debilitating need for validation from others. We are all selfish beings and no one should be more important to you, then you.
So, when you’re feeling like you’re questioning yourself, or question someone else, consider this:
1. It’s okay to feel like you don’t have control over your relationships.
Because, at the end of the day, you don’t. You only have control over how you feel and what you think of somebody.
2. Don’t make excuses for someone else’s behavior.
Ever. If you are constantly being told by others that they’ve heard this before, or you’re too lenient – listen to them!
3. It’s okay to feel like your initial judgement of someone was wrong
People change and things go wrong, and that is absolutely okay. I’ve learnt over the years that there’s nothing wrong with losing a friend, no matter how close you two were. People mature and their needs and wants change and its okay that you no longer meet each others needs anymore.
4.Don’t be angry at yourself for the way others treat you
Start by not letting them treat you poorly and stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
5. Realise what you deserve
This is so, so important. Actually take the time to think long and hard about what’s important to you and what you need from a relationship. And remember – not all your needs can be met by one single person.
6. Be open to second chances, but don’t become a pushover
Look after yourself but don’t be too stubborn. People make mistakes and I’m sure you’d be upset if you hurt someone and they weren’t willing to give you another chance. In saying so, know when enough is enough and always put yourself first.