For those of you who are not aware, I work as a legal assistant to a District Attorney and have for just over a year.
I don’t think I was as easily affected by people and their behavior, by the frailties of relationship, before this job. I think perhaps I didn’t expect as much from the people in my life before I worked, in a sense, within the Court system. Now, I think that I anticipate that the Real People – those chosen to be in my life and my circle – will make up for the Criminal People – those inserted into my life through job. I wonder, if by having my eyes opened to just how dark people can be, I have begun placing an undue burden upon my relationships outside of work. Am I setting people up to fail? Are my expectations too high?
I’ve been asking myself these same questions for several weeks. As I find myself disappointed by people and their actions; as my stung emotions dismiss anyone but the most authentic, I wonder if I am demanding too much.
I have come to believe that the answer is ‘no’.
I don’t have a long history of demanding a particular kind of behavior in my relationships. In fact, I have a past of allowing ridiculous people treat me in ridiculous ways. I never thought enough of myself to assert my actual rights inside of a relationship – the right to be respected, valued, loved. I would allow my friends and partners to treat me as they saw fit, as long as they didn’t leave me alone. Alone was a much worse fate than all others, to my mind then. Break your promises, say what you will, treat me as you like, just please don’t leave me alone.
Now that I am healing, changing, growing, is it normal to demand a certain level of authenticity in my relationships; to believe that if you say you are my friend, you behave as though it is true? Am I being too demanding or am I breaking old and bad habits? Is the guilt I feel when I assert my rights or my boundaries actually just the last cries of an old identity who has no place anymore?
Most importantly, as relationships from an era that is no more begin to wilt and fade, am I willing to face the consequences of what this new view of myself and my worth might be?
I don’t have all the answers, but I do have one:
I’m not afraid to be alone anymore.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”