“And we are all broken guitar strings, waiting to be fixed by those who can strum us in harmony again—and often that person is you.“ ~ Anonymous
I cling to relationships for dear life, even the wrong ones.
I take pride in knowing I matter to someone. I take pride in knowing I can make a difference in their life.
I wasn’t just born to love, but to teach, to mentor, to embrace the beauty and darkness in every person I meet. I love to a fault, sometimes, beyond what is deserving. I never shy away from another man’s brokenness. In fact, most of my life, I have lost sight of myself loving them through their pain.
My last relationship was a safe harbor after my divorce. He was my life raft. I loved him through his struggles. I craved nothing more than to see and be seen. I saw his pain, fear, and doubt shortly after we met. But I ignored it. Instead, I attempted to soothe him, similar to my marriage. It was never enough to be just a wife or a girlfriend. I need to be the fixer, the savior, and the healer.
I wanted to know all of his demons. I wanted him to create a space for me to help him work through it.
I wanted to know his vulnerability and for him to be willing to go to those sensitive and scary places within himself.
I wanted to know all of his brokenness in order to help him navigate through the darkness. I wanted to teach him the lessons that I learned to get through to the other side.
I wanted his pain to be the element that brought us closer rather than the very thing that tore us apart.
I wanted his imperfections and flaws to be at the surface of who he really is rather than concealed by false pretenses of trying to be the best version of who you might not yet be.
Because maybe the best version of ourselves hasn’t yet come alive. Maybe it gets hidden behind all of our pain. Perhaps our soul requires nourishment, empathy, and compassion from our partner. Perhaps, it does need fixing.
But all these years that I spent trying to fix my prior marriage—and my last relationship—I had not yet learned to fix or love myself. I spent all of these years trying to show up for someone else’s brokenness that I removed the light from my own wounds. And in trying to fix someone else and will them forward, even out of love, they further retreated.
It was here that I learned I cannot take on someone else’s issues and make them my own. I am not responsible for someone else’s pain. I need to understand that I am a separate individual, with my own fear, and my own wounds. And that does not make me broken—rather it makes me brave for having the courage to face them.
I cannot fill the emptiness in someone else’s heart until I’ve learned how to pour all that love into my own empty well first.
I cannot show up and be a savior until I learn how to be my own hero first.
I cannot understand another’s pain, or need for space, without feeling shunned by their lack of love or without my worth and value feeling depreciated.
Because until I learn the lesson that total self-abandonment does not only rob me of self-love, but the love I am unable to reciprocate authentically.
I am not yet capable of weathering the storm with my partner until I have learned how to ride the waves of the high tide solely. Until I’ve learned that loving myself, exactly the way I am in this moment, and learning to embrace all those broken parts of me that need to be healed, then and only can I show up for someone else.
I will not require a man to build me up, piece me together, or complete me because I will have already done the emotional labor on my own.
I need to embrace all the beautiful and broken parts of me. And I am learning every day how to love all of those layers and dimensions of who I am and who I am becoming.
Because surrendering to our own brokenness is the most transformational thing we can do. Life is full of unexpected change, and love is no different. We owe it to ourselves to safely repair our wounds, and as we do, we learn that the things that used to serve us no longer do. We step into a new place with new needs, wants, and desires. And we stop settling for others’ brokenness. We no longer need to fix them. We accept responsibility only for ourselves.
Because the truth is I am incapable of fixing anyone. I must learn how to love myself first. And then, and only then, can I love you in truth, unapologetically, unconditionally, and wholly, which is the only way we all deserve to be loved.