The people we let into our lives

Before I move on to this post, I want to share the beautiful moment that just happened to me. I was walking home from the train while listening to the podcast Invisibilia. In the episode “Thoughts” there is a story about a bright young man that falls ill and becomes essentially a vegetable. His organs keep going, but he is unresponsive in every other part of life. His family, for 12 painful years, takes care of his body thinking he is completely brain dead. But he is not. He is actually very much aware and through a miracle – and lots of hard work, determination and love – he begins to regain movement of his body. He gets a job. He fixes a computer. He communicates through a computer. And, eventually, he falls in love with a woman. Before I reach the part about his wife, I thought of something someone told me – someone people are not meant for relationships. I assumed that, given this man’s condition, he would likely never marry. What a shallow mind I have. As I listened to the man’s wife talk about how hard she fell for this man, I looked up at the sky, dropping large snow flakes, and felt a huge sigh come from the universe. Maybe some people do not want a life-long relationship, and that’s OK, but most of us want love. We tend to think we can’t have that big grand love because something is wrong with us or there is no one who will love us or most people want something we can’t give them. That’s bullshit. If you want love, it is there for you. Because we live in a vain and conditional world, you may have to search for it, but it exists. Do not let your limiting beliefs and fears stop you. You deserve it. OK, all done. Love to you.

I once went on a few dates with a man who I was unsure about it. He wasn’t a particularly warm individual and didn’t go out of his way to get to know me, but he was a someone. We talked through text message nearly every day and all day, but one day it just stopped. I didn’t see much of a future with this man, but I wanted a companion and became anxious in his lack of communication. I reached out to a friend about this who said, “If he likes you, he will show you. But you have to let him show you.” She knows me well.

Even after years of living on African time, I am still not a super patient person. I would rather poke and prod to discover something than wait for it to be shown to me. This idea works in some situations, but when it comes to people and their relationships with us, we have to trust what is given to us.

In my current project of self-love, I’ve become more aware about the people I chose to put into my life and the idea that a person has to earn his or her way into it. We should be vulnerable, as Brene Brown says, but only with people who have earned our trust. That may seem egotistical, but we do ourselves no good by keeping crappy company. To be good people, we have to be around good people.

What I have learned in the short amount of time on this journey is that people will show you what you mean to them. They will ask you about you and what matters to you. They will be willing to go through scenarios and calm your anxieties. They will be there to support and encourage you. And these are words or empty promises; they are actions. These connections aren’t always pretty but they are built to withstand the ugly.

There is also the other side. The people who say they want to be in your life but do not act that way. They talk about themselves and care little about your feelings or even who you are. We can’t beg or wish them to be more; they are what they are. We have to accept that and move on and believe in the notion that those that truly love us will make it known.

It’s not easy to examine each connection this way, because letting go is hard, but I understand it’s how I can show up for the people I love. We can be thankful for all the people in our lives, but let us move forward with only the ones that lift us up so we can lift them.


Published by The Running Therapist

A runner, writer, and therapist in training.

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