For Better or for Worse
Over the past 40 or so years, I’ve learned that I’m not a terribly good judge of character. I’m too nice, really. It’s one of the reasons that I count myself so very lucky to have found (and had the prudence to marry) my husband. He’s a good man. A kind, loving, gentle, and intelligent man. An honest man. A man with integrity.
He is a good judge of character. He can see through someone’s bullshit in an instant, and when he sees a red flag, he distances himself.
When I see a red flag, I give them the benefit of the doubt. Or, rather, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. No more. Oh no, sir. No more.
This last betrayal has hardened me.
Sure it’s better to avoid poisonous and dangerous people all together, but there are times that we are fooled, taken in. Hindsight is the only true judge. After the dissolution of a relationship, especially an abrupt end, one might be haunted by the unending questions.
Why did it end?
What could I have done differently?
Was it my fault?
If I had only…
Still, there is sure way to tell: are you a better person for having known them?
This exercise can work even if you are still in a relationship, especially if you are questioning it. Look at yourself before the relationship, friendship or romantic, and look at yourself now.
Does this person in your life bring you more joy or pain? Are you more honest or more deceptive? Do you find yourself compromising your morals? Your beliefs? Your very self?
For every smile, are there a thousand tears?
For every moment of joy, are there hours of pain?
For every word of truth, are there pages of lies?
Or is it the opposite? Sure, every relationship will have ups and downs, but we must take care that the joy we bring each other significantly outweighs the pain. Otherwise, we’ll look back at our lives on our death bed and see nothing but pain and tears and lies. Never do I want to be in a position where I regret my entire life. What a waste.
I have a hard time letting go of people who meant a lot to me, whether or not they were good to me or good for me. I loved them just the same, but I had a epiphany. When I’d remember the smiles, the laughter, and the feelings of joy and desire, it was always the same moments over and over again. Because they were just fleeting moments of joy. The bulk of the time was crippling pain. The laughter that filled my soul with hope was drown out by the deluge of tears. And the lies, don’t even get me started.
On the other hand, when I think of the last 12 years with my husband, it’s the opposite. Sure there have been fights and tears and pain and even lies, near the beginning; but the daily joy and love and care greatly outweighs all of that. I know I am a better person for having known my husband, and he is a better person for having known me. We complement each other, care for each other, and support each other. For every tear there has been months of laughter and love and care. That’s the ratio you want in a relationship.
Examine the people in your life. If they are poison, cut them loose.
Without mercy. Cut them loose.
Then begin repairing what they have damaged and find a good person with whom to share your life. They’re out there. I’ve recently found a group of friends that have reminded me what it’s supposed to be like. Mutual respect. Mutual admiration. Mutual inspiration. Mutual support.
Being nice is one thing, but don’t allow someone to feed off your good nature, to drain you until the emptiness engulfs you. Protect yourself. You are so worth it.
Has there been someone in your life that fooled you for a given time? Were there red flags you chose to ignore? Why do you think you ignored them?