I keep using the term “emotional independence”. I quite like it – although it’s a tough thing to live up to.
Emotional independence for me means not making my emotional state of mind depend on other people, or constraints I cannot influence. Which is difficult, because we grow up in a world in which everything is usually somebody’s or something’s fault. Everything at least has a reason and therefore an explanation, giving us a culprit and target for our emotions as we go along.
But actually, my emotions are only the result of my own reaction to something. And what I am trying to do is to own and take responsibility for my reactions instead of being a victim of them.
So, using an example which is currently at the top of my mind, “I am cross with Mr D because he seems not to be making an effort” turns into something like “Mr D is not making an effort. That makes me feel disappointed. At the same time, I feel angry that I care so much and I am scared that I have committed but there is not the same kind of commitment back. Why am I feeling this way?” The problem here is not Mr D anymore. The problem is my very own disappointment and feeling of insecurity. Now, before Mr D came along, I was fine. Obviously, I was not disappointed that he wasn’t calling me, but that was because I didn’t know he existed yet, so I wasn’t expecting any calls. Which tells me that on the way, over the last few months, I have lost something. I have lost part of my being well rooted, part of my peace and happiness in just being me.
And that is then what I will try and find again.
Because, quite frankly, if he thinks that not making any day to day effort at all is acceptable, then he is not the right person for me anyway, no matter how I feel about it. The only thing that really matters is to communicate boundaries to people they concern. So in this case, it’s no good just backing off and spending time in nature and playing the piano. I also have to make sure that I let him know what I would like, otherwise he doesn’t have a chance. But that’s it – it’s information, no accusation. It is entirely free of expectations, it is up to him to take the information and do something with it – whatever that may be.
No matter what happens now, I will go and search for that piece of feeling content that I am currently missing.
If he comes back, he will find me either willing to carry on or not. But he won’t find me needing him to come back, or needing him to be anything but himself. He will find a whole human soul wishing to share life with him (or not), not some ragged torn soul which will need to lean on him to stay upright.