Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Important Conclusion

Quick preface: Can I just say...I've never journaled before. But after just these few blog posts, I see why people do it. It is an amazing release to be able to just put your thoughts down on paper (or type them on a screen).  

Starting a blog entry is always a little bit odd. How do I address an audience that I'm blind to? I have no idea who I am writing to on here! So, whoever you are, thanks for stopping by. Now, if you know me, you'll know that I have not been single for more than a few weeks at a time in the last eight years. For the first seven of those years, it was one relationship. While I heard a bit of grief and was sometimes judged for that decision, I did not really start feeling pressure until that relationship ended and I began seeing other people. All of a sudden, I was a needy girl that had to be in a relationship to be happy (not my thinking - what was being pushed on me).

First, I had a fairly short lived (but still very important) relationship that taught me a huge lesson: relationships are between two people. Yes, you can share with others when you're happy or when things are a little rough, but have some control over what you disclose. You don't need to tell anyone everything that your significant other says - good or bad. In fact, you shouldn't. Not even your best friend. This isn't fair to you, your partner, or your friends. You're not giving yourself enough credit to be able to work through situations on your own, you're not giving your partner any sort of confidentiality, and you're dragging your friends into a situation where they will likely be biased and not make sound decisions. Well, I learned that one the hard way.

My next relationship lasted a bit longer - 7 months. This one taught me more lessons that I even realized I needed to learn. And quite frankly, some of which I would have preferred not to learn. To maintain some confidentiality about the details, and out of respect for this person, I am just going to use a quote to sum up the main lesson I learned here:
"Relationships, of all kinds, are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost." 
Despite the fact that I was the sand being held too tightly, the end of this relationship brought incredible hurt. But the end of this relationship is also what gave me the kick in the butt to really look at myself and see what I liked, and what maybe wasn't working. It was then that I decided that the two things I really needed to be working on were patience and giving up control. But we'll get into that in a later post.

Once I decided that I needed to let go of that pain, a new person came into my life, totally catching me by surprise. One thing that was missing in my previous relationship was stimulating conversation. Well, within our first 3 'dates,' this new person and I logged probably 10 hours of (amazing, intelligent, revealing, honest, fulfilling....) conversation. Wow. Again, out of respect for this person, I'm going to stay pretty vague - especially because I will most likely end up in his novel/memoir some day! ;-) What I will say, is that the end of this relationship gave me the courage to really reach the conclusion that I am about to share with you. And not just to reach it, but to accept it.

So here it is: I am a relationship person. And proud. Do I need to be in a relationship to feel fulfilled? Yes. But am I needy? No. Do I prefer to have a companion to share my hopes, dreams, fears, and just general day to day feelings with? Yes.

Some people may still see this as needy. But I don't, at all. My personality is such that I prefer to have someone to have an intimate relationship with, to have someone to take care of, and to have someone that will inspire personal growth. I believe this means I am an extrovert - I get my energy from other people. 

I don't go into relationships with a lot of "me" centered thoughts -  obviously I will benefit from the relationship (hopefully), but the way that I receive the fulfillment is by nurturing someone else. I am caring, almost to a fault. I want to devote my time to making someone else happy. In the still very few relationships that I have had, this has yielded mixed results. I've experienced a good balance of give and take, I've also given until it hurt, and in the relationship that was being held too tightly - I stopped giving all together.

So what does this mean for my Happiness Project? Well...I haven't figured that out quite yet! I want my Happiness Project to be for me, not for anyone else. But I also fully believe that in making others happy, I become happier.

I'll leave you with a song that I happen to love: