It has been just over a year since I last saw my now ex-longtime love.
We’ve had periods of time apart before now, but this is by far the longest.
Plus, it is permanent.
Over the last 12 months, I’ve done a lot of pondering. Sorting. Scrutinizing.
When did I become the person he no longer resonated with? When did he become someone I could no longer relate to?
The answers, thus far at least, have surprised me. For starters, I’m not sure I ever actually became a different person over the course of the 15 years we kept company.
Rather, I steadily uncovered more and more of myself, learning as I went along that underneath all the old habits and beliefs and patterns and just….junk….I actually quite like who I am.
This was about the same time I started to realize he didn’t.
And it was about the same time I began to detect a difference between liking who I am and liking where I am. They are really, really different!
He also didn’t seem to like or approve of where I was in my life at the time we parted ways. But I could live with that, especially since I agreed with him.
But not liking who I am – my sensitivity, my empathy, my love of animals (and especially my trio), my addiction to reading as well as writing, my connection to my family – without these qualities, I am not sure I would even know who I am, let alone want to continue on as me.
To that point, the day we ceased communicating was also the day I realized there wouldn’t be any “us” anyway if I attempted to alter my fundamental me-ness.
For the record, I still wake up every day and don’t really like where I am at this point in my life.
I want more financial security, more emotional stability, more progress towards my creative dreams, more inside-out health and wellness than what I have in my life at this moment.
Sometimes I also still get my dislike of where I sit on my own personal progress meter confused with who I am – the person trying to make the progress. When this happens, it turns ever so dark inside my world.
But so long as I can keep the two separate, I can even handle the strong words of my negativity-biased inner critic without bowing to the pressure and crumbling into my core.
I just couldn’t do it in constant close company with someone who didn’t like either aspect of me – who I am and how I am. That takes a kind of strength I have never had (and frankly don’t aspire to).
This just reminds me yet again of how important it is to choose mentors wisely. We may not think of someone as a mentor – maybe they don’t look the part or act it and maybe they are not even our same species. But anyone we let get close enough to influence us on any level is essentially a mentor. Otherwise, why would we let them in in the first place?
There has been a lot of loss, a lot of letting go in my personal world over the past few years as I have recognized negative mentoring in several close longtime relationships and made the choice to move forward without those people in my life. This one was the hardest yet…and I hope the last.
I may never like where I am in my life. I realize this is one of many possibilities that awaits a future-me. But I finally like who I am after a decades-long battle to get there and I’m not giving that up for anything.
With great respect and love,