Thursday, September 24, 2009

The thing about your story...

Dear Brooke,

My question to you is regarding how much honesty is too much honesty when it comes to relationships and one's past.

You see, I went through a difficult relationship during college (emotionally/mentally abusive, unfortunately) and the healing period to get past it included some even more unfortunate behaviors--namely, a short stint (approximately one month) of being a "party girl", during which I hooked up randomly a few times (literally only a few). It didn't take me very long to realize that behaving that way felt like crap, nor was it "me"; it actually served as a wake up call to look inward and deal with my issues.

I can gladly say that was years ago and today I am a happy, normal individual--with the exception of a few occasional flashbacks of "the things that I've done". Six months ago I met my soul mate, and though it may sound crazy to say that after such a short time--I actually knew he was the one after our first date. At the very beginning of the relationship I divulged vague details about my dirty past, i.e. the fact that I had one. I did this because I wanted to be honest about what I had been through, but I only gave enough details to paint a picture. No guy loves to hear that stuff, but it was accepted and we moved past.

I believe I will end up marrying this guy, and as such something has been plaguing me: How much honesty is too much honesty? What if he asks me things? What answer do I give? Does he need to know names, dates, and positions? I don't think that information would be helpful to anyone. In a world where people are getting married in their late 20's and 30's, we all have some kind of past life before we meet our husbands and wives. How are we meant to deal with honesty about our past? Is there a rule of thumb regarding what we should tell? I hate to lie ever, but what is the harm when the information serves no benefit to anyone?

I look forward to your response.

Greater Good

Dear Greater Good,

No warming up. No small talk. Let’s unpack this baby right frikin’ now.

Your if-it-didn’t-happen-exactly-the-way-it-did-or-you-wouldn’t-be-as-fabulous-as-you-are story… journey…process…was just described by you, little miss good-or-bust as “unfortunate” and “dirty”. OK…could anyone judge themselves more right now? I don’t think so. You need the biggest hug ever, and at the same time… a major ah-ha moment. So, let’s have it.

Seriously my love, who is really judging your past… your man? Nope…It’s you. You are judging your past so much that you are assuming that others will too. You were emotionally abused and coped with it in a way that many humans did the best you could with what you had, and I’m proud of you. Yes, really. But now, you are emotionally abusing yourself. The truth is, once you accept, honor, and respect your past and your journey, so will everyone else.

I know you’re looking for answers…for me to tell you what to do. This actually isn’t about lying or telling the truth or the details or whatever… this is about something that goes way deeper than that. It seems to me that the reason you’re troubled by what to tell and what not to tell is you’re looking for some validation of your story. You want someone to say, “It’s OK, I love you regardless of what you did”. The truth is, my darling, you don’t love you regardless of what you did. You don’t love your past; you don’t respect the choices you made. You are justifying yourself all over the place… “approximately one month” “literally only a few” and right now, in this moment I want you to pause. Take a breath. And listen carefully…

One of the reasons you were able to realize how special this man is, and allow yourself to fall in love is because of your story, because of all the things you did and went through...simple and complicated. If you didn’t do things that felt wrong, how the heck would you know what feels right? It’s time to thank your story. It’s time to celebrate your past. It’s time to love yourself not only regardless of your past, but because of it. Yes, really.

The thing about your story is that it’s well, yours...and it’s important to treat it with care, and big time love. You get to decide what to do with it, where to put it, where not to put it. Your story is a precious gem, a true gift that this life has given you to become your best self. Your story is about a woman who has journeyed through crap relationships and come out alive…a woman who has made decisions that seemed perfect at the time, and learned from all of them…a woman who has a juicy rich beautiful past that made her one strong and capable cookie…a story that is only hers to judge.

I invite you to be proud of your story... especially the parts that you aren’t proud of. Once you embrace this, you’ll know exactly who to tell and how much to share.

Love love love LOVE,

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