Sometimes I really think that the ultimate goal in human life is balance.
We are naturally hypocritical creatures made up of conflicting qualities, aiming to achieve perfection when our circumstances scream "impossible" at every turn. We avoid being what society deems to be unacceptable, and embrace the qualities we feel will be approved of by loved ones and strangers alike. Some claim to not care what people think, yet dress to conform and find themselves in the limelight of popularity amongst their peers. Others openly admit to caring too much what people think, yet secretly embrace what makes them different.
Our characters are a conundrum to ourselves, and yet we seek understanding from foreigners to our every thought. We want to belong yet we aren't at home in our own mind. We want the world to accept us, yet we live our daily lives in denial about the parts of ourselves we want to hide. We practice loving others, but it is without substance. We expect acceptance, but we do not treat ourselves like the delicate creatures we want others to embrace us as.
One of the biggest keys to balance, bliss, and almost-perfection, is the most illogical one out there. It is only when we truly embrace the things we hate, that we learn to love ourselves and all that is around us. It is only through acceptance that we make change - and yet we have been taught a much more stubborn and more seemingly logical way for so long, that this sort of thing becomes difficult to accept - leave alone practice.
Being a typical Piscean, I struggle with internal conflict a lot more than most (hello bipolar!), and tend to dive in to everything head-first. "Extreme" could be my middle name, and I have been told by every person I have been intimate with, that I can be "too intense". The quest for balance is something I consciously have to fight for every day, with depression and mania following me like a shadow, watching my every move while waiting for a weak moment. The moment I fall, I allow myself to be taken over by a swarm of weakness, and it's as though I allow myself to drown in the very same qualities that allow me to soar when I am in a more balanced state.
The downward spiraling dragon is a beast I battle constantly, and the hardest part is that the more I struggle - the more it takes over. When I go against every human instinct and stop struggling, it's almost like the acceptance and love I give myself soothes the shadow within. I often compare it to the idea of a bully. Everyone knows that bullies only bully because they need love - and yet we forget that the parts of our characters we allow to take us over, are simply the equivalent of a lost child who may simply need something as simple as a hug.
One thing I've found a lot of difficulty with is the balance I have with friends.
The truest friends are the ones who lovingly accept you for who you are - but who also strike a balance by nurturing the parts that need tending to. There is a fine line between nurturing and forcing, and so yet again we see the theme of balance being necessary if we want positive results. However, once we hit that sweet spot of understanding between ourselves and others, the rewards far outweigh the struggle of the journey. It is through the journey, after all, that we learn our most important lessons.
My difficulty lies with the fact that I do not know when to let go. Call it anxious attachment or simply a fear of being abandoned; I can be overly needy for love but then often confuse mere presence for actual care. This means that I keep a lot of deadweight around, as I'm sure we all are prone to do in our 20s. We've been taught that "abandoning" friends is wrong, and to stick it out with unconditional love. We deny the fact that we feel angry at certain people for not being there, and feel wrong for feeling hurt when our care is not reciprocated.
This is where we need to learn balance. I wholly agree with the idea of unconditional love, whereby one gives out of care and expects nothing in return. However, I also believe that this should be done only when both parties are aware of this understanding, and instinctively know that emotional energy needs to be recycled in order for a bond to grow and prosper. This is where the major problem lies; how many people do you know who you can openly talk to about where you stand with them on an emotional level? How many of our friends can we really connect with in a manner that is almost akin to having our souls connect?
I have learned to embrace the fact that I love more openly and freely than anyone I know, and tend to give more of myself than I actually have. I recently learned this about myself, when someone I truly care about said that I have the uncanny ability to love anybody. I realised that I had gone into relationships and friendships all my life, with the willingness to love unconditionally (as well as commit through any hardship) - but without ever asking myself if that person fitted me. I have been known to say that I would stay with someone who cheated on me, and I realise now that I gave the gift of my care unconditionally without ever bothering to test the person to see if they somehow deserved my love and care. Even saying the word "deserved" makes me shudder, as I have never felt like I have the right to deny anybody my care and love. I guess that shows a lot about how little I "test" people while getting to know them.
We all test people, whether it is consciously or subconsciously. Most people are like onions, and only show their inner layers once the other person has passed our personal test. We do this in every way, from physical love to simply sharing a secret. I somehow never learned this, and therefore have always given away all I have within an instant. I trust that people are inherently good people, and according to my illogical form of logic, that therefore means all people deserve my love. Often called the "bleeding heart of the world", I find something to love in the most unlovable of people. I know that this is a strength, but due to my lack of balance I tend to end up opening up my deepest layers to people with jagged claws, and then wonder why I'm not feeling so nice. ;)
The people on the opposite end of the spectrum tend to keep their guard up so much, that they miss out on the beauty and simplicity of life's daily miracles. They see the negative side of everything and may enjoy things less if they aren't up to their standards - but are therefore much more practical than I could ever be. Again, the key is balance (insert broken record here). Regardless of what section of the "open" spectrum we are on however, we still all struggle with the dilemma of when to let go of people. When we decide to let go, how do we know we aren't simply being users? If we decide to stay, is this because we are being good friends, or simply love martyrs?
I came to realise recently that if someone is not making you feel fulfilled, uplifted, or inspired at least 60% of the time you spend with them (or thinking about them), then they are not worth your time (My percentage number is probably lower than most, I am fully aware of what this says about me haha!). If someone doesn't respect and embrace you the majority of the duration of your friendship, then you need to ask yourself whether they deserve your love. If they "nurture" (or try to change) the parts that need accepting, and accept the parts that need nurturing - let go. You have only one life, and you cannot afford to spend it on people that do not grow with you, but stand in opposition of everything you are. If you do decide to stay, then you cannot complain about how miserably they are treating you, when you are the person allowing this lack of balance.
You are the average of your closest friends. Choose them wisely.
Images all taken from Google.
Poem "The Lilly" by William Blake.