We are all imperfect people. Some of us are intentional, some of us are self-aware, some of us are not these things. But we are all imperfect. So we hurt each other and sometimes it could be prevented with intentionality, but sometimes it can’t. How can you blame someone for hurting you? I don’t think we can. If we drew lines, thick, black lines that separated right from wrong, love from hate, loyalty from betrayal, and everyone could see those lines, clear as day, maybe it would be easier to place blame. To say, you crossed this line so I’m not letting you back over it again. Boundaries. How do we draw boundaries when we can’t even seem to draw clear lines? How do you know when to walk away for good and when to let someone back in? Maybe the thing we all struggle with more than anything is really taking ownership for our own hurt. But that’s all we can really do, isn’t it? Because at the end of the day, people don’t mean to hurt each other most of the time. But most of the time people don’t really know how to love each other either.
Lately I’ve been saying that my biggest lesson this year has been learning to walk away from people who don’t know how to love me right. The key word is right. Because someone could love you, but if they are hurting you too much in the process, it’s kind of irrelevant isn’t it? But I think unfortunately, it’s never really that easy. See, people all come from different places of love. They learn how to love differently, and different people need to be loved differently. And just because someone doesn’t know how you need to be loved, or they do but they can’t make it happen, doesn’t mean they don’t care. And once you realize someone cares, even if they are hurting you, it’s a hell of a lot harder to walk away.
Sometimes I think I try to convince myself that people who hurt me don’t care about me. Because that’s what’s easy and that’s what makes sense. Why would someone who cares about you, hurt you? There are so many reasons. But I think that more than anything, people need to learn how to love themselves first. Because if you don’t know how to love yourself, how to prevent yourself from hurting, how can you love anyone else without hurting them?
We are all selfish. Just as we are all imperfect. Part of our imperfection is our selfishness. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about selfishness. About the fine line between being selfish and implementing self care. How do you really know where that line begins and where it ends? I used to be really bad at self care. I wouldn’t listen to my body when it needed me to nurture it. I wouldn’t listen to my heart when it needed me to spend time alone. I was too busy trying to keep everyone else happy that I forgot to do that for myself. But when I started prioritizing my happiness, people got mad. People don’t like it when we look out for ourselves because sometimes that means we don’t do what other people need or want us to do. Working with the toddlers in my placement I learned not to ask for apologies. Because sometimes we hurt each other but saying sorry won’t fix it. And when we don’t really mean that we’re sorry, why are we saying it anyway? Children often take each others toys. One child will be playing with something, and when another child wants it but doesn’t have the language to say so, they simply take it. This upsets the first child but when the other child gives it back, they too are upset to forgive. From a young age we have desires. We have needs. And we try to fulfill those needs even if it hurts other people. The Western world is one of excess. Yet, people take from each other all the time. We take from each other physically and metaphorically to fulfill our own wants. How do we learn to care for ourselves without making it more difficult for others to do the same?