From time to time, I’ll get emails from readers younger and less-versed in the ways of relationships than I. In these correspondents, they’ll sometimes ask for advice or encouragement in dealing with their current romantic situations. And often times, I am blessed (cursed?) enough to have experienced what they’re going through and can offer a bit of solace to their worried mind.
But the other day, I received an email from a young lady and she had a problem I hadn’t yet encountered in my life. She had been disrespected, emotionally abused, and downright treated like a pile of boo-boo in her relationships and yet, her current boyfriend was the exact opposite of what she had experienced prior. He was kind and considerate. He worried for her and did things without being asked. He liked her and loved her simultaneously (those two are not synonymous just so we’re clear). From what this young lady wrote, her relationship was beautiful and lovely and all the things we hope to have out of a romantic partnership. And yet, she found herself lost.
She wrote that because of her past dealings with less-than-cordial men, she found herself reluctant to accept the goodness that had come into her life; she found herself hesitant to fully commit herself to their romance because she had been broken and bruised so desperately in the past. So though this new man in her life was everything she wanted and needed in the relational sense, she found herself leery of him and their relationship. And though I couldn’t necessarily relate to this particular issue, I found myself being concerned for this young lady and the man she was with.
It’s not a secret that relationships have the means to mess us up. Depending on what all goes down during the course of the courtship, it can leave us scarred and sometimes broken. The image we have of ourselves can become warped; our feeling of self-worth can become damaged (sometimes beyond repair, sadly); and we can be left with a void in our heart where love should reside but instead, all we feel is the pain of our past.
So what happens when something good and real finally comes along, even though we may feel like we don’t deserve it? We fight the inherent feelings housed in our bones to bristle at this unknown goodness and we do our best to accept it, to return the love we’ve been rewarded.
Often times, our past will wreck us. It will leave us barren and lacking any remote possibility of being happy. But we are better than our past would allow us to believe. We deserve to have the happiness and fulfillment we crave. We deserve love.
And though our past heartaches and emotional scars may hinder us at first, it’s on us to fully recognize what wonderful goodness has been provided to us and to accept it into our lives. The process isn’t always easy or quick, but it is worth the effort it takes.
The hurts of your past don’t get to dictate the goodness of your future. That’s solely up to you.