Part IV of IV
Risk management: I love it, made a career out of it, I obsess over it. I love the process of weighing the good and the bad, making lists of pros and cons, balancing the amount of risk warranted for any desired result. I love the decisiveness it provides when all the facts and figures are lined up, one clear, right choice always emerges. It makes me feel safe to proceed. The end result isn’t as important to me as the process used to make the decision and the confidence it took to make a move. I believe you can made the right choice, whether the outcome was what you wanted it to be or not, because you used the right process. Ultimately that’s all you have control over: the process, your method and your knowledge – not always the result. This realization can either be completely terrifying or so completely freeing that it makes you braver just thinking about it.
So, what if you want to love big? Seems risky. I mean, really big. Seems really risky. As in all out, open yourself up, throw in everything you’ve got and go for broke kind of love. Abort! Abort! Except… According to my risk calculations here (puts on thick glasses and grey cardigan), there are some of the things I think you should take into consideration. A few things that I especially adore about love and relationships, loss and the amazing gift relationships can be, in no particular order. I’ve still got a lot to learn, practice and this is by no means an all inclusive list, but these are the things that have stood out to me the most in recent years.
The goal: Mitigate your risk to allow yourself to love as big as you freaking can…over and over again.
Boundaries are paramount in a healthy a relationship. What is okay, what isn’t okay, what is allowed, what isn’t allowed. Boundaries aren’t unkind or unloving, they’re healthy..for everyone involved. Telling someone, “I won’t allow you to treat me in this way” should never be seen as being demanding or picky. You’re allowed to be picky; it’s your heart and your life. If someone tells you you can’t be choosy about your life, just be glad they’re not in charge of yours. Choose boundaries with care, prayer and from a place of grace and stick to them. The beauty of boundaries is that once you’re inside of them, you can go freaking nuts. Love like crazy. Love is free, spread that s&%# everywhere and give it all you’ve got. You’ve just made a safer place to do that.
Don’t underestimate the power of loving other people has…on you. Have you ever imagined of a life where everywhere you went, you were surrounded by love? Have you ever considered that if you find a way to show love to everyone you meet and everywhere you are, that’s exactly what you’ve created? Just try it…
Because something fails, it doesn’t make you a failure. Even if you fail, you’re not a failure. Most great things don’t go right the first time… or maybe even the second. If you give up, you’ll never know what it could have been and if you’re so afraid of failing that you never try, that’s the biggest tragedy of all. There are many beautiful Plan B’s that only exist because of failed Plan A’s – find them. Keep failing until you find them. Try hard and fail often. Fail until you succeed.
Know where home is and visit often. Not a location, but where it is that your heart and spirit are home. That thing that you know when you’re doing it, you’re alive. You are the fullness version of yourself and can’t be moved. That could be faith, it would be music, it could be running – “find the best and worthiest thing you love and build your house on top of it, and don’t budge from it.” * If you’ve ever been in those moments where you feel like you’d lost a little bit of yourself or weren’t as whole as you used to be, recall how far you were from home then. Did you live there? Did you even visit? Did you make any room for it? Always know where it is and visit often. We can debate on what’s a worthy home but I think that most people who examine themselves deep down, you probably already know.
Somewhere in the middle of my lesson, God told me, “You worry about loving them, I’ll worry about loving you.” I don’t know where it came from. It wasn’t a voice or something I read, just one day I knew, that wasn’t for me to worry about. I wanted to give as much as I could but there was this notion in my mind saying, “What if I give too much and nothing comes back? What if I become drained and an exhausted and depleted version of myself? What if I can’t endure?” And then I knew: He’ll sustain what I need and will replenish anything I give and more. Just trust it.
The way you love and treat other people is a reflection of who you are, not who they are. No explanation, just a lot of reflection needed.
People ultimately do what they want. You can spend your time trying to convince them that they want something else but ultimately, people choose what they want everyday by their actions. Don’t waste your only, non-renewable and most valuable commodity prolonging the inevitable.
People may make choices that will never make sense to you, and the only way to have peace is to let it go anyway. Odd or not, this was the most difficult lesson I had to learn. I have this condition in that, I need things to make sense. Life, relationships, ups, downs; they all appear as puzzles to me and as soon as I can understand them, I can let them go. It works 100% of the time… 99% of the time. That last 1%, will drive a person like me crazy. But this is what I know: There is no amount of time that can be spent applying my own perspective, values and beliefs onto someone else’s decision, and ensure it comes out as a match 100% of the time…no matter how “on the same page” I think we are. Each person’s perspectives are made up of their own life history and experiences and you’re never going to feel and manage everything in the same way. It’s never going to always be the same. You may not be able to understand why someone chooses what they do… but you have to find peace either way. I’d argue you should try to understand, but it’s possible that no matter how you sort it, you’d never make that choice, feel those feelings or sacrifice what they did, and you have to accept it anyway. Accept that it’s different from you, allow them to have their truth and let it go. It sounds gut wrenching but when you consider that they have to do this with you as well, it makes it a little more bearable… theoretically.
Trust and connection are built and broken in the smallest of gestures. The little things are the big things. In those seemingly small, quiet moments, opportunities to build trust or to betray are born. How you respond when you’re in a hurry but you see someone is hurting. What you do when your friend calls and just needs to get out of the house and wants to know if you’re free for an hour. Sitting together in a silent room, mourning the same loss or making dinner together because each of you are too tired to do it alone. “…People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Those little, seemingly insignificant moments are what bond and break connections. They are the big things.
You can’t unring a bell but hearts can heal. Life only ever moves forward. You don’t get a re-do and you can never go back to how things were before, for better or for worse. Don’t spend time looking backwards, you’re never going to be going that direction. Don’t worry about the bells that have been rung, find more to ring and more people to hear it. The more you love others, your heart will forget to send the memo that it was hurting and eventually, will stop altogether.
Unconditional love never brings regret. No amount of money spent, time invested, miles driven or tears cried, I have never given love away and wished I hadn’t. Never loved someone and wished I didn’t. You don’t get a lot of “always” and “nevers” in this life but if that’s one, that’s a pretty solid guarantee in my book.
Now, get out there and love somebody.
I’ve got some cooking to do. I don’t know about you, but I am starving.
Some inspiration along the way…