Letting go of the treadmill last night brought up some old memories of my ex that have been lingering with me today. Tonight as I drove home I had another revelation – I needed that relationship to prove to myself that I could stand up in the face of criticism and differing viewpoints.
He and I had drastically different ways of looking at the world. To put it bluntly – I believe in the light, he believed in the dark. While we were together we both spent some time studying magic – I was looking for ways to channel energy and bring greater light into my life; he was trying to conjure demons. Literally.
Because I believe that the thoughts I think and the words I speak create my experience, I am very careful about how I say what I say. When he heard me doing this, he would taunt, “Just because you say it doesn’t mean it’s going to come true.”
The kind of mocking that characterized those interactions created the same feelings in me that I had with my dad. But with my dad I curled up and let myself be run over. With my ex I didn’t. At some point I stopped trying to have a meaningful conversation about our differences, but I didn’t completely stop being me either.
I didn’t pass the test perfectly – there were definitely places where I curbed my impulses in order to not create waves with him. But I did a heck of a lot better than I did as a teenager and young woman.
Tonight I realized what an important experience that was – not always pleasant, but definitely important.
I don’t have to roll over and play dead when a bully enters my world. I can choose how to use my energy. Sometimes that means responding, sometimes it means not responding. What it doesn’t mean is altering who I am in my thoughts and behaviors in order to make myself okay for someone else.