Keeping score was a talent I didn’t know I was harbouring. I gave until I was exhausted. I was there for whoever needed me, bending until I broke. But when I looked around when I needed someone, I rarely found those people there for me.
And while I didn’t give with the intention of getting, it became easy to notice that those people weren’t there for me when I needed them. Like a poison filled needle to my heart, I’d feel the stabs of hurt.
Because I was never good at feeling what I felt – hurt – unimportant – used – I would store the pain and over time that poison would leak out into my blood stream – tainting me with bitterness, resentment and anger.
Keeping score. Counting the ways in which I gave and what I did for others. It’s our shadow side. We all have one. The dark sides of our personality. I believe they have the power to teach us the most about ourselves. When we allow ourselves to explore that darkness we can learn a lot about what’s missing, how we feel and why we feel the way we do.
Then we can deal with it. But if we’re too busy pretending we don’t have a dark side, a shadow side and we won’t explore it, we can’t learn from it. It’s like putting a bandaid over a gangrenous wound – it’s not going to help. For a while it might make it look better but eventually it will keep through.
That’s what holding onto bitterness does – eventually it seeps into everything. As I felt the pain of my own closed heart – my own ways of keeping score – my own bitterness and resentment I asked the question: “how do I stay open even when hurt?” It’s human nature to do everything to get away from pain.
We shut down, we put walls up, we hide behind blame, denial, we eat, we check out, we shop – anything to distract us from the pain we feel. But the pain we feel when we expect something from someone else is an indication of something that is missing within our lives.
I didn’t want to forgive people for not being there for me, for always asking for help and me giving it, but them not being there when I needed someone. I was angry for always saying yes and always getting no from those people.
That angry was poison. But I didn’t know how to stop drinking it. I could feel those poisonous needles in my heart, closing off my throat and robbing my power – and I knew the way through it was to open my heart.
But I resisted – it seemed counterintuitive to open my heart and have compassion for those who hurt me repeatedly. Closing myself was protecting myself. Why would I open myself to that?
The questions were spiralling inside of me, creating a storm that was building and releasing all of those old darts of poison in my heart. I could feel the pain, the hurt, the confusion. We can’t live an authentic life with a closed heart, protecting ourselves.
We can’t live a wild souled life with a closed heart; they just don’t go together. The call for the wild was more powerful than the call for safety and protection. As I searched for the question, I got the answer in several unusual ways.
See, I believe that when we are ready for a new level, a new chapter, we will ask questions or begin to work through things that are preventing us from moving to the new level. As we work on it, we will begin to feel worse – darker, brooding, angry – whatever emotions are involved in what we’re working through. We have to allow ourselves to feel it because the answer we are seeking is on the other side of it.
As it swirled about me, I began to have conversations with people that left me with tidbits, pieces as I continued to ask the question – how do I love, be open, have compassion and empathy so I don’t get sucked into this place of bitterness? How do I love, have compassion but see people for where they are? How do I let people go in love and let them be where they are, let go of anything they’ve hurt me with, without holding onto anything?
It was a paradox. A problem. I had learned this behaviour a long time ago. When things hurt, I would just withdraw into a make belief world, where I could pretend everything was better than it was.
Now I didn’t have that make belief world anymore because I was dealing with stuff. This was new but it was important because it was keeping me from fully opening my heart.
Suddenly the puzzle fit together – everything clicked in one moment of realization that I was trying to get something from people who couldn’t give it to me the way I needed it. It’s like asking a mouse to be a jaguar and then being angry when he cannot be.
I was in a position to help people but I also felt they should be there for me. In reality, for whatever reasons, they couldn’t be there. I don’t know why. And it doesn’t matter why. As long as I was trying to get it from people who wouldn’t give it to me, I was missing the people who could give it to me…
It’s like having a first class ticket on a plane but deciding to sit in coach because your friend wouldn’t buy a first class ticket and then getting mad because you decided to stay back there.
Not everyone is on the same vibe, the same path, the same place. Not everyone is going where you are going. Not everyone is on the same path as me. But I’d get on a path and want to take everyone with me because I could see the way – and I thought the way looked amazing.
But what if it wasn’t their path? What if they’re not meant to be on the same bus? And i’m trying to drag them on my bus, but they can’t even see the bus station, never mind get on the bus because it’s not their bus or it’s not their time for the bus.
Most of us go through life trying to make the people around us give us what we need. And when they can’t we think they’re choosing not to, we think it’s about us, we make it mean something about us and we hold onto anger, resentment, bitterness.
We stay behind with them, we miss our own bus, we choose to sit in coach and then get angry at them for a decision only we could make. We feel bad, we want to help, we feel responsible – but those are things inside of us that need to be addressed because it’s never ever about anything outside of us.
If the people in your life can’t give you what you want and need, then you need to get on the right bus and perhaps you’ll sit next to someone who you’ve been craving your whole life. It doesn’t mean the people in your life won’t still be a part of it, but you’ll stop needing them to be somewhere they can’t be, or someone they can’t be.
And that can do wonders for your relationships – when you let people be who and where they are because you’re not trying to get something from them that they can’t give.
The real battles we fight are within. Not everyone is born to be a warrior, to follow the path of the warrior. Not everyone in your life is going to know and understand your path, but if you choose to stay behind out a sense of obligation then know it’s your choice, not theirs.
A mouse can’t be a jaguar. Not everyone can be a warrior. Not everyone is meant to be on the same bus. Get on your own bus and find your own tribe, the ones who get you, who can and will be able to support you. And you can still support those others in your life with no expectations for them to be something they just aren’t.
Nothing you need in this lifetime is outside of you. It’s all inside – that’s why we call it the wild soul – because the war we wage is on the inside – with our shadows, beliefs, needs structures. Face them and you will find yourself your own 1st class ticket to paradise.
If you’re ready to find your own wild soul and reclaim your power and need some help – feel free to contact me 🙂 I’m here to train warriors.