One way to see how much you've grown is to examine your past and present reaction to challenges and pain in your life. I had a growth check recently.....when someone I care deeply about hurt me.
In the past I've always reacted to hurt with stubborn indifference and prompt removal from the situation. If I had to leave the person, place or thing that I saw as the cause of my hurt or disappointment I would do it - no matter what.
The rush to removal has cost me . I've left relationships and friendships before there was sufficient cause to do so . Sometimes I've taken proactive measures and found an exit when I perceived a hurt or disappointment approaching.
I learned that pattern long ago and I practiced it every chance I got. My enthusiastic Fuc U approach has garnered many compliments from female friends and relatives. They've often said that they wished they could leave a guy and cut ties the way they'd seen me do so often. They thought it was easy. I even convinced myself it was easy. But it's not easy, it's just what I had gotten used to. It didn't take courage or confidence to jet. Leaving had become my natural reaction to fear of pain, as natural as breathing in and out.
What really takes courage is to learn a new way of reacting. A long time ago I read somewhere that everything that human beings do or don't do is motivated by fear. And if you think about it - its true in many cases. ie. I can't choose that major because it requires too much math and I'm afraid I will fail. I don't drive over the speed limit because I'm afraid of getting a ticket, jail and an insurance payment increase. I go to work on time because I m afraid of losing my job.
So, I had to ask myself what fear motivated my quick disposal of the perceived givers of hurt. The best answer I could come up with is, I was afraid of being further hurt, and having it happen over and over again and not being able to stop it. After thinking long and hard about it I realized I let people into my life who I suspected would hurt me partly because I knew I could play the whole "I don't put up with no shit, get out!" thing. Sick, I know......thank God for therapy.
At the ripe old age of 43 I've made a realization about myself. Somewhere in the last four years I learned a new kind of courage. I saw this shiny new courage in action when I was hurt by a person I love with my entire heart. Don't misunderstand me, I was still hurt. I cried and I felt sick to my stomach for two days. But I didn't revert back to my previous role as the professional Peace Out ! queen. This time I thought it through, I was honest with the person about my feelings and I was open to a solution to the problem and a salve for my hurt feelings.
When it was all over I felt great. I was so proud of myself. Listen, I'm not bragging, I've been there with Me and I know! It has not been an easy ride. I deserve to give my self an atta-girl.
It's great to look back at my progress and marvel.
This metamorphosis didn't happen over night. It took some time and I had to do the work. It all came down to my fear of living the rest of my life in Fear.