Originally on 5 Things I Learned – February 13, 2011 (seemed timely to re-post as I just finished Season 7 the other week)
As I was doing my normal thinking routine, I came across a couple of quotes from the fictional character: Meredith Grey from the US show Grey’s Anatomy. I love Grey’s Anatomy especially the first few seasons. Now, I’m not such an addict but I still try to keep up with the series. I know the show is a whole lot of drama and is an exaggeration of the universal human experience but well… that’s TV for you.
So here’s 5 things I learned about relationships from Meredith Grey
1. “At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So, you can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them. But there are some lines… that are way too dangerous to cross.”
We are all afraid of being hurt, of disappointment, of being stupid…we do our best to guard our hearts, to be conservative in the risks we take in beginning to love someone and loving them some more. If we are willing, we let them in a little and then if all goes well we let them in a lot. But so many of us never really honestly lets the other person in-there is that line we are too conscious of- too afraid of crossing…the last line of defense that signals if I let you in you could destroy me…I would be at your mercy.
I don’t know how to figure out which lines are worth crossing and which ones aren’t. That’s a circumstance we each have to face and we respond to differently. But I think it is imperative that we face it and we make a decision – to avoid it, to exist in ambiguity is the greater torture.
2. “I wish there were a rulebook for intimacy. Some kind of guide to tell you when you’ve crossed the line. It would be nice if you could see it coming, and I don’t know how you fit it on a map. You take it where you can get it, and keep it as long as you can. And as for rules, maybe there are none. Maybe the rules of intimacy are something you have to define for yourself.”
Unwelcome advances are easy to spot – even without any physical contact you can already feel uncomfortable by just the intention of the other person. But when you genuinely like the other person, his/her advances are welcomed…then we have to figure out whether it’s healthy or unhealthy – whether it’s good for us or not. What’s even more tricky is realizing that you want it but it’s not good for you!
3. “Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. And when the dam bursts, all you can do is swim. The world of pretend is a cage, not a cocoon. We can only lie to ourselves for so long. We are tired, we are scared, denying it doesn’t change the truth. Sooner or later we have to put aside our denial and face the world. Head on, guns blazing. De Nile. It’s not just a river in Egypt, it’s a freakin’ ocean. So how do you keep from drowning in it?”
There are so many intelligent women that are denial junkies when it comes to matters of the heart. (Full disclosure: I am one of them). We know better but still we choose something unhealthy for us. We rationalize and try to fool ourselves into thinking that things will go our way even though we know it’s never going to happen. Whether it’s unrequited love, an abusive and selfish partner, an obsession with someone unattainable… the pattern is the same.
We wait till we’re at rock bottom, feeling like shit before we actually do something about it. Then we bash ourselves for being stupid when we should have been smarter than that.
4. “Maybe we’re not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we’re thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we’re thankful for the things we’ll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.“
Life is a series of ups and downs. To hope for perpetual happiness and to expect never-ending difficulties is the surest way to a life of misery. It is through celebrating the big and the small that joy is created and maintained. To acknowledge the difficulty and our resilience and love ourselves for it would be the greatest self-gift.
5. “At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing, where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other, is usually a load of bull. So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we’ve chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt them, the people that are still with you at the end of the day – those are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need.”
No one wants to be alone. We all want to belong and feel connected to each other. If we only recognize that fact then maybe we can be grateful for the relationships we do have and work to make them better.
Well I hope your Valentine’s is better than mine! xoxo