What's Love Got to do With it? | Week 38 | Confidence Revolution
Meet Elizabeth. She and I have been friends since the 3rd grade and the entirety of our friendship has been built on love and laughter. It’s one of those rare friendships that has survived over multiple life seasons. We have made it through moving cities, attending different universities, different professions, marriage, children and now we live in different states – and still (thankfully) we remain.
The only time we somewhat parted ways was during our college years. In my mind’s eye, she was always on the straight and narrow. She always seemed “good,” – minding her parents, playing college sports – living in the light. I tended to push the envelope and although I didn’t think of myself as a “bad” girl – I definitely stayed out late, dated guys I wasn’t supposed to, wore skimpy clothes and gave my parents headaches.
The more time Elizabeth and I spent away from each other, the more I made her out to be “good” and me out to be “bad.” And so, I pulled away from her. I knew the standards I had for my life, were lower than the ones she had for hers, I was making decisions I wasn’t proud of and quite frankly – I didn’t want to face it. I knew that if I stood in her light, I’d have to acknowledge my decision making and maybe even have to change – and since I wasn’t ready to do that – I stayed away.
One fall day in 2007, I remember a light going off in my head and realizing WHY I had pushed her away. And so I sat down and wrote her a note on this new thing people called, Facebook. I admitted to being embarrassed and even ashamed at times of my behavior and decision making – and she met me with 100% love. (She may not even remember, but it was a big day for me.)
She didn’t tell me how I had gone astray, she offered me no advice -- she told me she was glad I had written and that she loved me. And that was that. We were back on.
And after years of sitting with her kindness, I unpacked what happened.
When I sent her a message in 2007, perhaps I was ready to start making some changes, start the process of healing (which by the way – takes TIME…so be easy on yourself….you’ll get there), and her unwavering love made me feel like I deserved to heal, like I deserved to want better for myself.
And so – even though I wasn’t sure what was happening – I started in on the hard but fulfilling work of healing from the inside out.
It’s easy (and frustrating) to try to force people to change, because we think we know what's best. It turns out that when we push someone, when we force them into making decisions they're not ready for -- they either end up resentful or our relationship ends up strained -- if one remains at all.
We can try to force people into changing (dieting, quitting smoking, drugs, cheating, etc.) and we may get what we want fairly quickly, but it's very likely to unravel and backfire.
Have you ever been shamed into better decision making? Me neither. I have only been LOVED into better decision making.
I only made changes in my life when I knew and felt in my bones that I deserved better.
The magic sauce is loving people so much that they believe they deserve better. It's a slow process but it builds and unshakable foundation - and don't we want that for those we so dearly love?
love and grace, catia