Promises You Shouldn't Keep
Last week we talked about the insanity of reliving all the times you’ve been hurt. However, some of us choose to take an alternative route to fruit loopiness: we get hurt emotionally and/or spiritually and we never talk about it. We shut down, swallow the pain and hide our sadness, or spend every waking moment in a fit of anger and denial. We’re so traumatized that we swear we are never going to indulge in that behavior or that type of experience again.
It’s a good idea to swear off things that cause you and others harm – like drug use, addictions, immoral behavior. Some things it’s natural progression to let go of. Those aren’t the things I’m talking about. I’m talking about the person whose first business failed so they decide they’re never going to open another one. I’m talking about the person whose first marriage went to shit and now they swear they are never getting married again. I’m talking about the person who once prayed for something and didn’t get it, and now gives Spirit the finger. And if you think I’m talking about you – then yeah, I probably am.
Many years ago, my friend Robert was coming out of a grocery store where a woman and her young child were out front panhandling. She asked him for a couple of dollars to help get them something to eat. He happily gave over a few bucks and went on his merry way. Long story short: a week or so later, he’s back at the store and he sees the woman again – except this time she’s inside, sans kid, buying a fifth of vodka.
So Robert’s pissed. He felt betrayed, and taken advantage of, disgusted that his kindness and compassion were used to fuel an alcoholic’s addiction. He stewed on it for days, at one point deciding to never feel that way again. So now, whenever anyone less fortunate than him asks for help he refuses to give it, convinced he’s being taken for a fool. This includes giving to friends/family, charities, walk-a-thons. He turned into one of those assholes who yells “Get a job!” while driving past homeless shelters, who rolls his eyes and tells you what an idiot you are when you give a dollar to a someone on the street.
Now, Rob has a great job in the entertainment industry, but for years he’s dreamed of owning his own business. But he hasn’t been able to raise the capital to get started. Every time he gets a lump of cash saved, a pipe bursts in his bathroom or one of his kids needs braces. He’s tried applying for loans, grants, etc. but no one will give him the time of day, much less thousands of dollars to fulfill his dream.
It doesn’t take a genius to see the correlation here. He adamantly refuses to help others, so no one will help him. He focuses on others lack of kindness instead of his own actions. And the Universe gives him ample opportunity to be charitable, and every time he thumbs his nose at it. He’s so caught up in the memory of past emotions, and the fear of being lied to that he won’t do the work that is needed to move his life forward. By swearing off giving to others, he is intentionally avoiding compassion and trust – the same things he needs in order to accomplish his dreams.
You can’t seal off part of yourself, part of your emotional grid and expect your life to be balanced. You can’t build a dam and then expect water to keep flowing down its natural path. Life is energy, and energy doesn’t work like that. Everything is connected. One broken cog eventually fucks up the whole machine.
Stop letting the sorrows and disappointments of your past determine your future. You can be afraid. But going fetal in the corner or becoming stagnant isn’t going to fix anything. So go ahead and be terrified to trust, to love, to experience. Then put on your big girl pants and do it anyway. Because by swearing off situations and experiences, you’re limiting your options. You’re hindering your happiness in the present, and your growth into a prosperous future. We never know what the Universe has planned for us, or how it’s going to get us there. If have a plan for your life, and are constantly working to get there and can’t figure out why things aren’t moving forward, it’s possible you are blocking the lessons that will lead you to where you want to be.
Here’s you: I never want to go through that again.
Here’s the Universe: But I’m trying to show you something. It might look the same, but it’s totally not, I swear.
You: Nope. I never want to experience that kind of pain again.
Universe: Seriously, just let me teach you how to do this. I know you’re scared, but I’m here to help. I promise, it’s gonna be awesome. And all you have to do is show up.
You: What’d I just say? NO. I’ve been through this before; I know exactly how it turns out. Cuz I’m smart and infallible and I know everything about everything. So fuck you, Universe!
Universe: *sigh*Whatever, dude. Look… we’ll try again tomorrow, okay?
You: Yadda yadda yadda.
See how silly you sound? So stop acting stupid. Yes, I know it hurts – we’ve all been hurt. I know it’s hard. But have a little faith. When you shun what the universe is trying to teach you, you know what happens? NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. Energy stops flowing, seeds you’ve planted towards your success and happiness wither and die. Life becomes boring, stagnant, same shit different day, I-should-have-swallowed-a-mouthful-of-bleach-years-ago fucking dull. Avoiding things because you’re afraid of being hurt again, or afraid of being made uncomfortable, defeats the purpose of being alive.
The point of life is to experience the blessings of love and joy in all of its phases, so that we can in turn bless others. And pain, sadness, and fear are things that can come along with it. That’s just life – its sucks sometimes. Other times it’s downright shitty. But it’s a cyclical system of ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. The universe is trying to lead you to the mountaintop and you’re refusing to walk because you’re still pissed about that desert three miles back.
Just because one person misused your trust doesn’t mean everyone is a liar. And just because you fell in love with an asshole doesn’t mean you swear off love altogether. It means you DO SHIT DIFFERENTLY. Feel the pain, acknowledge your role in it, learn the lesson, and move the fuck on.
Because guess what? The issue isn’t love, or marriage, or whatever other excuse you want to throw into the ring. The issue is you. The issue is whatever the hell was wrong with your ex, and whatever went wrong in that particular relationship. But love and marriage didn’t betray you. That punk who fucked your cousin betrayed you. Money issues betrayed you, incompatibility betrayed you – or whatever the bullshit was that caused the relationship to crumble.
Don’t want it to happen again? Then instead of being a brat about it, once more I’ll say: DO SHIT DIFFERENTLY. Embrace forgiveness. Work on healing your own issues. Pick a partner who is as dedicated and in love with you as you are with them. Be aware and honest about the issues in the relationship and work to fix them. And stop letting that skank cousin of yours hang out with your man.
It’s not easy to let go of trauma, but trust me – you can do this. You already survived the initial situation, now it’s about healing the aftermath. Refusing to open to the possibility of change is nothing more than allowing yourself to be defeated by echoes of pain. Hiding isn’t a solution – because when you hide from the icky parts of life, the good stuff can’t find you either. By limiting your options in the present, you are restricting your opportunities for happiness and wisdom in the future. Because it may not seem like your insistence to never eat spinach again is keeping you from getting that promotion, but it is.
So take an honest look at what your stubbornness is costing you. Are you pushing away love, compassion, kindness, prosperity because things went wrong so long ago? Then stop stamping your feet like a petulant child and be brave. Reclaim your power, and your life. You can’t change the past, but you can stop letting it dictate who you are today. Change your self-imposed rules and embrace all the love and mystery the Universe is offering.