Not so long ago, I had someone that used to be so close to me tell me these words:
Yeah, go ahead and do whatever you like because you’re so good at leaving people.
I would have loved to stick it back to her in a place where the sun don’t shine but guess what, she was so right. As it so happens, in the past six months or so, I’ve had about three to four people tell me the exact thing about myself. Naturally, this led me to some soul searching moments that left me feeling like ‘you know what, I am okay with the person I have become…yeah maybe I could do with some adjustments here and there but really, I kinda love this version of me.’
Now let me tell you why I came to that conclusion lest you consider me obnoxious and other not so cool adjectives…which might not be wrong after all…maybe?? haha.
Three simple words; I. Deserve. Better.
After eight long years of being in a relationship, noticing things in my partner and explaining them away because the idea of confronting the truth was too emotionally demanding than I was prepared to handle, I have finally had enough of sweeping things under the rug or pretending things are cool when they obviously aren’t. Indeed there’s comfort in ignorance but if my experiences are anything to go by, what you choose to deliberately ignore will someday reveal itself to you whether you like it or not. That’s just how a rotating world works.
So far, I have lost relationships that I once considered cardinal to my existence. I have lost lovers and I have lost dear friends simply because I have starred things straight in the face and recognized them for what they really are or were. Whenever someone tells me that I have become too quick at leaving poeple or walking away, I have absolutely no desire to correct them because whether I or they like it or not, it is a fact. Now, it is a whole other issue whether that fact is better judgement on my part or not however, it is also a fact that I bear no regrets for anybody or anything I have ever left behind. I just happen to know exactly who I am and what I expect from myself and those around me.
Had I paid better attention to the signs and the things I saw before walking down the aisle, I would not be a divorcee right now. I explained behaviour away, I deliberately kept myself from questioning certain things and even when the truth hit me straight in the face every now and then, I deliberately chose to look away because I was in-love with the illusion of happiness that so consumed me. The first time I exercised my right to deserving better was when I walked away from a friend that had been so dear to me since my varsity days. I remember my then husband looking at me and saying; you scare me with the way you let go of people in your life. I wonder what you would do to me if I ever cross you.
I could see the fear in his eyes when he said those words and he forced me to check myself; was I being unfair? This was someone I considered a sister. We had been through some stuff together and we knew each other’s secrets, weaknesses, and strengths. Our husbands got along fine and me and the now ex were godparents to her child. Unfortunately, one honest conversation about something she had done that I felt was unfair and I chose to address it in what I presumed was a respectful manner rather than hold a grudge had her writing all sorts of stuff on social media about me and what she perceived to be my ‘weaknesses’ at that time. She left no stones unturned as she went straight to attacking my integrity and that of my marriage.
One simple conversation that was meant to end in each one of us understanding our errors and working things out better in future ended in one of us broadcasting very personal things on social media for the whole world to see. What I walked away from then was not the person I had come to love for a very long time. It was the person I had just discovered she really was that I had chosen to ignore for some time until her actions really hurt me to the core. Could we have done things better? Maybe. Would that have changed hers or my character? Only God knows.
Was it so easy for me to walk away from such a person? Of course NOT. It was the hardest thing for me to do but I needed to do it because if I didn’t, I would have been holding on to a friendship that did not exist in the first place. Now, why did I share this? I know too many people that are holding on to relationships, friendships that are toxic but are having a hard time letting go because those people have become too familiar. they know so much about us and we’ve been through so much together. I can’t just walk away! You know what, am not asking you to! I am simply asking you to not ask yourself a few simple questions:
If it is a friendship; does it have all the major qualities that a friendship ought to have? Is there love, trust, and loyalty?
Say if you were not around, would you trust that friend of yours to defend you against slander by others or would they candidly contribute their own share of slander to the conversation? Would you leave them in a room with your spouse to chat for hours and not worry about what they might say or do? Would you be willing to forgive them if they hurt you in some way and most importantly, can you trust that they would never intentionally hurt you in that way again? Would they do for you the things you’ve done for them or are they more of a taker than giver? Are you okay with that? Why are you okay or not okay with that? Can it be changed? Can they learn and change if you spoke to them about it? And, wouldn’t it be fun if we imagined our friends asking the same questions about us!? What answers do you think they might come up with? What sort of friend are you? What sort of friend am I indeed?
If it’s a relationship; a lover, girlfriend, boyfriend, and the major one, spouse: What do you expect from someone that claims to love you? Are they aware of those expectations and are they delivering? If that love was given to someone else, say your child or a sister or brother and you were looking at it in a front row seat, would you be able to recognize it as love? Most importantly, are you yourself capable of giving the kind of love that you desire? Do you worry about what your partner gets up to when you’re not there or looking? Do you feel the need to constantly check their phone or listen in to their conversations? What makes you do that? Do you feel safe in the relationship? Are you bored and looking for excitement elsewhere? Can the situation be changed…is there hope? Do you think the relationship or you or your spouse are/is beyond redemption?
I’ve heard a lot of people, mostly women say “oh, he’ll never change that one. I am even used to that now…I am only staying for the children.” And yet the same people go out and act like victims to the rest of the world; beating up mistresses, being bitter towards their fellow women and the rest of humanity, I could go on. The truth is, if you are well aware of the issues in your relationship and yet you choose to still stay and expect no change to ever take place, you owe no one else but yourself an apology because you decided that you do not deserve better when there’s a God somewhere that created you in the best form possible and even thought of you as worthy to lay down his life for you. If you’re not a Christian, you can just slide passed the above commentary and think of it this way instead: holding on to something toxic means you value that thing more than you value yourself and if you’re okay with that, we as the rest of humanity will respect that decision of yours provided you do not release or express your frustrations at us. I promise you we will stay out of your business.
Back to why I titled this ‘I Deserve Better,’ I thought it would help give me and others I have had the misfortune of leaving behind some perspective…and possibly others too going through the same situation. Maybe it’s true I have become good at leaving people behind but it’s also true that I have become good at recognizing what’s not good for me. The decisions might appear light to bystanders and those being left behind but if there’s anything I have left in the past year or so, it is that before I can love someone else, I have to love myself first.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I have to be selfish, it simply means I better be ready to dish out the same kind of love I expect to receive from others. For how can I give or expect a love that I know nothing of? Also, if I know my worth and what sort of love am capable of giving, I should be able to identify moments when am being short-changed. How people treat you and how you respond to it informs them about what you think of yourself. So if you’re okay with the message you keep sending out to others, then this message isn’t for you. but if there are some blurred lines in your relationships or how you relate to others, then maybe it’s time for some self-evaluation.
I did mine and I concluded; I deserve better.