Clear Head > Lonely Heart

Love and hope are powerful emotions, as is a fear of being alone. Have you ever been in this type of situation? You know, the kind where your heart aches to be with someone, so you just choose the closest person without even stopping to think why this person deserves to be in your life. There is a strong temptation to allow for more heartache by entering the wrong relationship simply because the heart is crying out. The truth is, though, you’re smarter than your loneliness. If you are finding yourself in a situation like this, it’s time to tell your heart to “shut up” and let you think. Thinking is going to allow you to analyze what is right and wrong, and hopefully act in the best manner.

This post is dedicated to one of my best friends, we will call her Saki, who is going through a similar situation. She broke up with her boyfriend of five years a few months ago and she’s questioning her position in life now. There are days when she wants to give up and go back to her ex, and then there are days where she’s willing to move on and goes out on dates. She’s confused. She has heart ache. She doesn’t know what is the right path for her.

Saki and I had a conversation about this topic recently and it brought me back to a few relationships I had put myself into in the past. I think we’ve all been there — those relationships where we know deep down that something isn’t right but we continue with the facade simply because 1. It is what we know, 2. It is what’s most convenient, or 3. It is what is preventing us from being completely on our own.

A few months ago, I went through the whole dating thing. (Most of you know this, and most of you know I’ve pretty much decided to quit looking, focus on work, and let the future happen when it’s meant to happen..) However, during the spring and beginning of summer, I found myself in a few different dating relationships. And as each new person entered my life, my ideals of love and a blossoming relationship seemed to dwindle every day. The dating game is difficult. You begin building this relationship with someone and it breaks, so you begin with someone new and it breaks too. With each new stumble your heart grows a little bit tighter. Trust becomes harder to earn, the will for commitment decreases, and love becomes a distant dream. Everyone needs someone sometimes. However, when you go through a number of someones trying to find the right one, sometimes the appeal gets lost and you JUST. WANT. TO. BE. DONE.

As this appeal is lost, the heart grows lonelier. With each new failure it almost seems as if the heart beats faster and louder. There are so many other factors that magnify the cry of your heart also.

One big factor is the media, such as seeing your friends post cute little statuses about how in love they are and engagement announcements and baby photos and etc… I mean, really? I’ve heard multiple people in my life ask, “Why is my love life nonexistent when that girl from high school is already happily married?! What’s wrong with me?”

Another factor is reputation. Dating numerous people makes others talk. Go on too many first dates, you’re too picky. Meet people in a bar or club, you’re a floozy. Date a number of people at once, you’re a player. It doesn’t matter if everything you do on your dates is innocent, people always think the worst. No one wants to be thought of critically, so clinging to the first person you begin dating who isn’t a psycho might seem ideal.

Personally, I don’t like the dating life. I’m all for meeting new people and socializing, but I like commitment. I like having one person to always be able to confide in, and spend time with, and just enjoy knowing they’re mine. I like being in a relationship, and I miss that component in my life. That ache in my heart ended up hindering me more, though. I began dating someone who was emotionally unavailable. Not only did I enter into such a relation, but I allowed that person to drag me along for three months with no commitment plans. That’s not what I wanted in my life! I didn’t want to go week by week wondering if the guy was back with his ex-girlfriend, or feeling ridiculous because I hadn’t heard from him in days. I wanted someone who wanted me. Wanted me for me. Yet I clung to the first person I saw a glimmer of hope in and wasted the beginning of my summer!

As for Saki and her ex, she’s gone the entire summer bouncing back and forth with him. She knows he’s not good for her, and that they’re not meant to be, but it’s what she knows. She is questioning whether it is better to be with someone wrong for her rather than be by herself for awhile. Is trying to force love better than being lonely? This is a question she asks herself daily.

Yes, being lonely sucks.

But being lonely takes too much time to deal with too.

I finally figured this out when my “summer fling” broke up (I say that loosely because he never wanted to commit so I don’t really classify it as breaking up) with me for the fourth time for no reason at all. That is when I stopped listening to my lonely heart and began thinking with a clear mind.

Yes, I was lonely, but did spending time with this person actually end that loneliness? No. Actually in all honesty, he made me feel lonelier. I knew what I wanted in a relationship and I knew I wasn’t going to have that commitment from this person, but I still chose to hold on. Knowing this caused me to be annoyed and cast blame on myself. I singled myself out; I isolated myself in my own mind. I don’t know if I’ve ever been lonelier.

So I started thinking with my head, rather than my heart. And guess what? I’m pretty smart. I realized the type of potential I have for a relationship. I rediscovered how caring and loving and patient and pleasing I wanted to be to someone else, and how I wanted those things in return. I concluded I deserved more.

We all deserve to be in a relationship with someone who prioritizes our needs and desires amongst their own. Relationships are meant to be a partnering of two people. You give and you take. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s those relationships where the couple can work through disagreements and come out on top that actually work.

You know what you want in a relationship. If you don’t, figure it out before you try to enter into one. The heart can be a great judge sometimes, but it’s not always the most rational — especially when it comes to a lonely heart. Look at the healthy relationships around you and pinpoint what makes them successful. Look at your past, and decide what worked for you and what didn’t. This is something I’ve been doing for awhile now and I’m truly happy with my life at the moment. I’ve quieted my lonely heart by focusing on the positive friendships and family relations in my life, I’m continuing to bring my all to both my jobs, and I’m not worrying where my “soul mate” is or what he’s doing or why he’s not presently in my life.

So that’s my advice, guys: Think with your mind for awhile and make a clear approach to the type of successful love life you want to have. And most importantly, don’t settle for anything less.

Calling Out Toxic Relationships

Certain behaviors are incompatible with a healthy relationship, be it a friendship or romantic. Relationships that are the most debilitating and unhealthy give you the feeling that you’re not being taken care of spiritually, mentally, or physically. At least, not in the ways you should.

I think we’ve probably all been in those relationships where we just don’t feel like ourselves. It’s almost like your authentic self is withering away while you try to appease the other person with a faux version of you. We give away our power to other people sometimes, and becoming someone another person wants us to be rather than the person we are is giving them ALL the power.

The word “toxic” means something drains the life and energy from someone. When you’re in a toxic relationship, you grow weaker and more feeble as you subject yourself to the whim of the person you’ve given your power. That desire to be agreeable is actually suffocating the real you!

All relationships can open our eyes to new perspectives and expand our awareness of society, but some relationships simply shut you in and hinder your development. Certain people are not assets in your life; some are liabilities. Your intuition tells you this, but we don’t always listen, do we? Sometimes the voice inside our head saying change and growth is good can be stifled by self-judgment and fear instilled by those in our lives. It is when you realize this voice is a good thing, however, that you also recognize that you cannot develop healthy relationships before first cutting off these unhealthy ones.

Now there are a few signs to decide whether or not your relationship with another person is toxic. The obvious signs are physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, cheating, lying, and stealing. However, a toxic relationship is any one which causes you to feel isolated, sad, trapped, criticized, or afraid.

Sometimes this means that you feel you can never do anything right. Your friend or partner constantly put you down as not good enough. This sort of treatment might even lead you to begin acting the judging person and acting in ways not true to your character. Or you may simply go into a shell and try to hide the personality traits being mocked and become only part of the person you truly are.

Another sign is when you feel uncomfortable simply being yourself around the other person. You can’t speak your mind, you can’t participate in the things you love, you can’t go to the places you love, you can’t chew the type of gum you like, etc. When you have to put on a different face just to be accepted by this person, then something in the relationship is wrong.

The biggest sign to me is when everything is about the other person, and never about you. Have you ever heard the song “I Wanna Talk About Me” by Toby Keith? Yeah, it’s great to talk about other people and learn what’s going on in their lives, but you have feelings too! Listen to the conversations you have with this person. If the conversation is completely one-sided — meaning your opinions are not being heard, considered, or respected — then the other person does not care about your side. If they don’t inquire about you and your life, then why keep caring about theirs? This behavior just leaves you feeling isolated.

The reason a toxic relationship is not ideal for anyone is because it does not allow you to grow or change. Is the other person encouraging and supporting your efforts to grow and improve yourself? Evaluate the relationship and be honest — what is the worth of this relationship to you?

Embrace the answers that come from your intuition. Your own conscience is going to want what’s best for you, unlike the friend or partner of your toxic relationship. Don’t sit in an uncomfortable or unsettling relationship until the effects of isolation and sadness push you into a depression. Take deliberate action according to your gut feeling.  You won’t be sorry.

Beating of the Drum

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

I experienced something new and exciting today — my first community Bible study. As a girl who attended a Lutheran day school from preschool to senior year in high school, this might not seem like something that should be so exciting. For me, though, this is a new opportunity to become closer to my God, and help me rediscover (or perhaps even discover for the first time) aspects of my life which I have been missing.

The study I enrolled in captured my interest right away. It is called Restless and will be discussing the story of Joseph and the mystery of one’s role in this world. I have been questioning my position in life for some time now, so it’s no wonder I was drawn to such a topic. And after my first group study today, I believe I will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome of these next eight weeks.

Looking at Hebrews 12:1 made me wonder if I have been running the race God has marked out for me. I began to question many things: who am I? What does God want me to become? Why does God have a plan for me?

As I question these things I feel a sense of discontentment and guilt. Discontentment because I am unsure the answers to these questions. Guilt because I am unsure whether I should be asking my Holy Savior such things. I mean, He has and has always had a plan for me, right? He knows how my life will progress and who I will one day become. Should I then worry about my future? I feel so restless and impatient. It’s like there’s a beating of a drum somewhere in the distance and I’m not sure if I should stop to listen, begin searching for it, or start dancing. There are too many choices!

In my study, an interesting story was told that stuck with me: a woman is running an uncompetitive race where there are multiple routes, numerous distractions, no time limits, and one finish line. As the woman decides to go on a dusty trail, she sees some people on the sideline taking a break. Feeling tired herself, she decides to join them and rest for a bit. When she meets the others on the side, she quickly becomes friends. The others are funny and entertaining and witty. They share numerous laughs, mostly at the expense of continuing racers who run by them. However, after some time the woman begins to notice that those on the sideline have no expectation to continue their racing any time soon. As she feels her muscles tightening back up and the adrenalin of the race’s start fading, she becomes restless. She realizes she needs to get back in the game. Raising to her feet and ignoring the questioning looks of her new friends she pads back onto the track. Slipping into a slight jog, she rediscovers her steps and eases back into a comfortable pace, never looking back.

The meaning of this story is so impacting! I think all of us go through stages where we experience people or situations who don’t really want the best for us. Maybe its a fun friend who is a horrible influence, or perhaps a job that isn’t moving you forward. Whatever the case, becoming stuck on the sidelines is not something God wants for us. Instead, he wants us to keep running the race He’s planned out for us. You might fall a few times, you might even have a serious injury that detriments your skills, but guess what? He will always be there as a crutch so you can continue stumbling along your path. Ultimately, your perseverence will allow you to bring Him the glory He justly deserves — and what He desires.

The challenge I’ve set for myself during the next eight weeks of this Bible Study is to become more aware of the areas I stumble or slow down in my own race. I want to figure out what causes these falterings in my running. In the end, my anticipation is that I will come to a finish line that allows me to be honestly and full-heartedly thankful for everything in my life (both good and bad) because I’ll understand and know that God is there to always lead me towards a better future.

Positivity in Real Life

I apologize for my lack of postage, fellow blog-worldlings. My free time where I used to blog has been entrapped by the Sy-Fy phenomenon that is the show Haven. However, I’ve broken the trance by finishing all four seasons in a matter of a week, so I’m back! And do I have a gem of a story to share with you!!

As you know from my past post Broad Perspectives & Positive Living, I value a positive lifestyle. Nothing makes me happier than being surrounded by people who have a bright outlook on life. Yesterday I met and spent time with one wonderful lady who truly made me appreciate optimism and its influence in the world.

This lady’s name is Tiffany. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned, but I work in the wedding industry at a cozy little venue called the Shadowland Ballroom which is located right on the shore of Lake Michigan. We are relatively busy at Shadowland and tend to have at least two weddings a weekend. Tiffany was our Saturday, September 13, 2014 bride.

I had never met this bride before as my responsibilities as event manager are relatively new. My role in this particular wedding was to manage the event; meaning, assist in any way to help the couple, and supervise the evening so it might run as smoothly as possible. Now Tiffany impressed me right off the bat when she came into the ballroom early Saturday morning to begin decorating the space herself. Instead of spending the numerous amounts of cash typically spent by our brides, Tiffany decided to design her own decorations. These came in the forms of painted mason jars, custom floral arrangements, and — my personal favorite — a hand-sown burlap ruffle cake table cover. She had me crying with laughter as she made witty snips about the costs of decorations online compared to her own creations, and it was apparent she had as much fun making the decor as she was having doing the actual decorating.

Later that evening, after Tiffany and her fiance-turned-husband Jason said their vows on the beach, the couple came back to the ballroom to celebrate with their guests. As is popular, the couple chose to spend a few quality moments together before their grand entrance. However, the moments together were actually spent in the back office with me, and what had been planned to be a few minutes turned into an hour and a half. The three of us shared quite a bit of laughter and even joined in a toast together. It was so amazing to see how in love the couple was, and Tiffany simply glowed. With a few hugs from Tiff and a hand shake from Jason, the couple finally walked into the ballroom to greet their guests right before dinner was served. As event manager, I had the pleasure of working throughout the entire reception.

As the night progressed, I heard a lot of mentions that the couple was going through a rough patch in their lives. The night was unbelievably lively, fun,and entertaining, but there was this feeling in the air that something was missing. I can’t explain the way it made me feel. However, I realized my gut was right when the maid of honor’s speech occurred and multiple people in attendance, including the bride and groom, dabbed their eyes due to her apology that a certain someone could not be in the audience. No one was directly stated, so I decided to bait my curiosity and ask my manager.

I discovered that Tiffany’s mother was not able to attend her only daughter’s wedding because she was at a hospital in a coma. The mother, who my manager had met and of whom spoke very highly, had only been in such a state for the past three weeks. She had contracted a staph infection and bacterial infection in her brain due to hysterectomy surgery. With all this chaos in her life, it was amazing enough that the couple was able to pull themselves together enough for a wedding. However, this fact amazed me even more when I found out that Tiffany is a middle school teacher who had begun her school year only two weeks prior to the wedding. Talk about a super woman! (On a whole separate note, Tiffany had had her nose broken the Wednesday before the wedding by her dog. So she also was managing that pain and stress right before her wedding celebration. Wow!)

With this knowledge, I looked back at the woman with whom I had spent a large part of the day. The woman who was witty and funny and obviously in love. How did she hide such a strong and paralyzing part of her life? Anyone who had met Tiffany on the morning of her wedding would never suspect the horror behind her life and the sadness she was facing.

Tiffany and Jason stopped by my office this morning to thank me and wish me a good rest of the wedding season. Hugging her, I congratulated her and told her I’d keep her in my prayers. Knowing what I meant, she gave me another hug and thanked me, replying that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what the reason is at the moment. I was blown away. Here was a woman going through hell, and she still had the nerve to find the positive things in life. She is a role model of mine; I want to become more like Tiffany.