December 13, 2017

A Heartfelt Letter to those of you who Give too much in Relationships.

We often end up giving too much in a relationship, so that when it ends, we inevitably end up losing a part of ourselves.

Dear nurturing soul,

You don’t love casually.

When you love, it is fierce, with your soul ripped open and raw.

I do feel your pain. It’s a strange feeling—as if we’re existing in a vacuum, disconnected from reality, from friends, colleagues, and the like. The pain does not pierce the soul as it used to, the tears no longer warm the back of your eyelids, and the un-shed tears no longer choke the throat. It almost feels like an out-of-body experience, where you can objectively view the anger, longing, and hurt, but no longer feel it.

In your head, you are screaming, but externally, you appear calm. What you actually want to do is open up your wound, stick your hand inside, and cleave out the core that is holding the pain.

All of us have been in relationships—and most of us have loved, been betrayed, felt disillusioned, and suffered wrenching heartbreak(s). While each one of us has a coping mechanism in place to help us keep ourselves together, learn from past mistakes, and move on in life, for some of us, it becomes increasingly difficult to reconnect with our true self—with each failed relationship.

It is a continuous struggle for nurturing souls like us to remain the way we were—to continue to remain as nurturing and giving as we were before each heartbreak, to not withhold our emotions because of the fear of hurting. The excruciating pain makes us want to protect ourselves and withdraw into a shell, away from the heartbreaks, and never open up to anybody ever again.

But that is not us, dear nurturing soul, and no heartbreak or man or woman is worth changing ourselves. Most of us do not even realize why we are affected so much.

It took me a decade and three failed relationships to finally understand this.

Too blinded by love?

In love with an emotionally unavailable person, we wonder if we were so desperate to be in love, so emotionally invested in the relationship, that we missed the tell-tale signs. They might want or even love us but they aren’t sure if we are good enough for them to commit. Or they are scared of their emotions and are so afraid of love that they abandon us, leaving us alone to deal with our own intense, crippling emotions.

Relationships require hard work and can be complicated at times. And when someone is unwilling to commit, they may discard you without much thought. Your friends and family will advise you to let go and move on. Although it is absolutely necessary that we take responsibility for the role we play in our relationships, matters of the heart are more complicated.

After all, the heart wants what it wants, without understanding the “whys” and the “hows.”

You wonder—why me? Why do I feel this chasm in my heart now?

You have lost so much of yourself with each relationship, without anchoring yourself back to your core, that all you feel now is a strange emptiness. And if you are a highly sensitive person (HSP), this only adds to the chaos. Often called shy and reserved, sensitivity is often mislabeled. Many sensitive people are introverts, but about 30 percent are extroverts.

As an HSP and an introvert, you tend to see beyond the surface and are affected by the energies around you. That is not to say that others don’t feel the raw burn of emotions, but you feel things on a deeper level than most people, and you don’t open up to just anyone—which is, perhaps, why you hurt so much. Your nurturing soul can feel and sense the inner turmoil of the other person, even the person who’s causing you heartbreak, making it all the more difficult for you to detach from them and begin the healing process.

I used to dislike being sensitive, as I thought it made me weak and gullible.

But take away that single trait and you take away my compassion, my ability to understand others, my intuition, and my ability to empathize and feel other people’s pain—you take away my entire being, my essence.

I know this has left you confused and lost—are you losing your sanity? Or has this heartbreak finally punctured through your fragile soul, leaving behind fragments that are present, but no longer accessible to you? Parts of you that no longer form a whole?

When we have given too much of ourselves away, the caverns in our soul ache with the loss and crave to feel what life has to offer. We struggle to rebuild our broken spirit, to let the flourishing heart feel again, but do not have the courage to expose our heart and soul to another one. Not surprisingly, for us, healing is a long process.

Always believing in the philosophy of soulmates and twin flames, you are not able to fathom what lessons you were to learn from this experience.

You cannot help but ask yourself:

How could I allow someone to do this to me, yet again? How could I let someone abuse my compassion and love?

The rage is crippling, and sometimes more powerful than the love or pain. Hold that rage there, my dear! Hold it. Embrace it along with the pain.

We may continue to ponder and second-guess what we did to be cut loose so callously—maybe they did not hold us or the relationship in high regard. What could we have done differently? Maybe nothing at all. To change a person’s core is to peel off layers of a person’s intrinsic being. To change your core, you will have to systemically change your beliefs, compassion, or the free-flowing love—which is essentially who you are. And trust me, you are beautiful as you are.

A little selfishness: the survival mantra.

A Turkish proverb says, “Good people are like candles; they burn themselves up to give others light.” Giving too much in any relationship is unhealthy. Taking a dispassionate stance, it may feel as if “giving light” to brighten up someone else’s “darkness” is self-destructive. There may be moments when you feel tired and broken, overwhelmed by the pain of unrequited love.

Stand still—remember, you were alone before this. Your heart has withstood the ravages to your soul before. This too shall pass.

So what can you do to ensure that you do not end up with your own identity and self-worth wrapped up in the other?

While you should not change your nurturing nature, you cannot allow people to take you for granted either.

Love yourself—love who you are and be kind to yourself. I could sit here and write, “You’re worth it,” over and over again, but that wouldn’t solve anything. Self-worth doesn’t come from others telling you how special you are; it comes from the personal realization of your own worth.

Go on a date, alone! Spend time with yourself, focus and cherish yourself. Read a book, paint, or watch Netflix at home with a bowl of popcorn—do anything that you love. Learning to be alone is the healthiest thing that you can do for yourself so that your time does not get sucked up into the other person.

Be generous, but not over-generous; Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love has written about her own over-generous nature. She wrote, “I was a dream-facilitator, an obstacle-banisher, a life-transformer!”

You need to temper your all-giving and nurturing tendencies with logic, reasoning, and intelligence. Exercise restraint and set limits, because by giving too much, you are creating an imbalance in the relationship.

Do not forget your friends and family—stay connected and cherish your bonds. Be with people who keep you grounded.

Lastly, remember that while we wish to receive love and affection in a relationship, we must give the other person an opportunity to give that to you, in equal proportion.

Another nurturing soul.


Author: Swati Singh
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lew

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