All my life I have been in and out of relationships that have truly sucked the life out of me and disappointed me at every turn. I stayed, for really no other reason than I was afraid. Afraid of being alone and unloved. I missed out on so much of life because I didn’t want to, or in some relationships couldn’t, go by myself to special events/occasions. Over the years I have managed to overcome this and though I still hate doing things alone, I do, and I usually enjoy myself immensely.
My last relationship was a complete and utter failure and disappointment slapped me in the face pretty much every day. In the three and a half years together, he never attended one of my son’s football games with me, nor his high school graduation. He didn’t attend my daughter’s graduation, nor did he attend any other formal events or gatherings with me. Not even to my aunt’s for holiday dinners. In my past, I would have missed much of these things as well because of the sick tapes I played in my head:
- He’ll be mad at me if I go.
- I’m worried about what he’ll do if I’m gone.
- He’ll leave me if I go because he doesn’t want me to.
- Whatever foolish reason I provided myself out of fear.
When I finally decided that I need to do these thing whether he participated or not, I started enjoying life more. I was still sad because I really wanted him to do them with me but I was not going to let that stop me from being a part of my children’s/friend’s/ family’s lives.
These days, when disappointment rears its ugly head in my life, I try to handle it differently. The initial reaction inside of me is all that old baggage starts to unpack itself. I want to respond with manipulative sarcasm like, “That’s ok, I’m use to it”, but I don’t. I wait a few minutes, until I can take the emotion out of it and not lump it into every disappointment handed to me by others, and reply, “That’s ok”. Because it is. Life happens and plans change. I cannot hold someone accountable for the actions of others in my past, nor will I allow myself to project their failings onto anyone else’s situation. I see how easily I could and I refuse to.
I try to use disappointment as a challenge to keep myself in check and remind myself that I am the only person who is responsible for my happiness. I do not have to allow life to pass me by while I wait for others to join me. I can and will live it to the fullest whether others join me or not. It truly is alright and pretty simple; I don’t need to make it difficult…and yes, “I” am the one who does it. When I am disappointed and choose to continue to participate in life, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about what others feel or want, it means that I love and value myself enough to do what will make me happy. I am able to put myself first and that has been a long time coming.