One needs standards.
Oh my oh my.
I have a little puppy. If you follow me on Instagram, you would think that ALL I have in life is a little puppy, because those are the only pictures I post now. I did post a pretty skyline the other day, but that was only an attempt to be like, “Look! I’m well-rounded! I’m into nature and stuff! NOT JUST PUPPIES!”
Who am I kidding?
Lately, I am just into puppies.
Well, one in particular.
But that’s not my point–NOW, anyway.
My point is that my little puppy will meet a new, older dog and completely annoy the heck out of him. Luna trots right up to a strange dog’s face and jumps up in it, leaving no personal space at all. She bites their ankles and tries to bite their tails. She even grabbed the leash of an australian shepherd and tried to TAKE IT FOR A WALK the other day. I am not lying.
She has no boundaries, and thus, I have to watch her like a hawk so she doesn’t get hurt. Because, that’s what happens when we don’t have boundaries: we get hurt.
I have friends–single friends (though goodness knows coupled up folks need boundaries, just as much)–who can sometimes act like my puppy Luna. But it’s different. It’s worse, actually. More hurtful, because it’s human-style and grown-up and complicated.
A dear friend I will call Gus just talked with me a while. About a lady named Tara who was cruel to him. I mean, CRUEL.
“So why are you even talking with Tara again?” I ask.
“Well, Tara is not as bad as some of the other girls I have dated recently.”
And, forgive me here, for I am about to be crude. Dear mom, please cover you eyes, because I am about to use some language to make a point.
CAT SHIT COMPARED TO DOG SHIT IS STILL SHIT.
Good is the enemy of great–who said that? Someone who did not settle for Tara, I will tell you that much.
“I need to tell you more,” Gus continues, “Tara invited me to hang out this weekend…and I kind of want to. But why do I want to? It’s a sickness; I feel like an addict. I’d rather be with someone who treats me terribly, than with nobody at all. I know that sounds pathetic.”
“No, Gus,” I say, “It sounds very human. The most painful condition is to be alone, I am pretty sure. We all fear it. The crazy cat lady is notorious because none of us want to end up like her. I mean God–the inventor of the human condition!–first says, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and then he goes and makes a woman for Adam to hang out with. Heck of a statement, there. God doesn’t waste words or actions–and what you feel is that. The whole NOT good for us to be alone thing. We were made for companionship.”
“But why can’t I stop wanting to hang out with Tara when I know she’s not my soulmate and is downright CRUEL to me most of the time?”
“Because, “I say, thinking about it, “You want a distraction from the pain. My sister-in-law makes someone pinch her with their nails–SUPER HARD–while she’s getting blood drawn, cause she would like a different pain to distract her. You’re hurting. You need to get better. You need to deal with that first pain. The one that keeps making you feel like it’s okay to be someone’s punching bag.You need a whole heart–not one that is so incredibly heart-hungry that you’re like the guy who goes to the grocery store on an empty, rumbly tummy and ends up buying 7 packages of twinkies in an effort to just fill the space inside.”
We need boundaries.
Not because hey! Here’s a big old fun-sucker for you! But because life is dangerous. Our hearts are vulnerable. And when a dog growls at Luna, I pull her back; I believe the dog, taking its growling for the red flag it is. We leave, because I don’t want her to get hurt.
When a person treats you like garbage, LEAVE. Don’t keep jumping up in their face, hoping that things will change. They won’t. Believe the growling and get the heck out of dodge.
And guys, I’ve been there. I have been in a very painful, this-person-only-ever-hurts me relationship, and I have been in no relationship. And you know what I realized when I compared the two? The latter is so much better. To wake up in the morning and not feel hurt as the first tide of emotion to prick your heart is a gift. To surround yourself with kind, loving, blowing-the-embers-of-your-heart-into-flames-rather-than-blowing-them-OUT people is the first step to healing that heart hunger.
Go for the stuff that fills you for the long haul, my friends–even if it means skipping the twinkies altogether. Believe me, you are not depriving yourself by turning down garbage. You are making room for the good, soul-filling food that your heart is ACTUALLY hungry for.
And the only thing standing between you and garbage is boundaries.