“Rejection is a redirection.”
I don’t know who said it first, but I love that quote.
When a breakup happened to me, there was always a sense of relief that came with the pain.
I figure it was because, deep down, I already knew that the person wasn’t right for me. I always knew it, but the emotional, immature part of me couldn’t control herself. She was like an addict, and love was her favourite drug. So she held on. She put me in constant conflict with myself, knowing I was damaging myself by the choices I made to satisfy my short-term desires.
Breakups hurt, but they are freeing.
No more self-conflict. Finally, the drug addict in me had no choice but to surrender and start recovering.
Despite feeling like my heart was ripped apart every second of the day, at least I knew I was safe then. I had done the fundamental right thing. The stress of being with someone who couldn’t make me happy was over.
Sometimes, I even sabotaged myself to the point where there was no chance I could reconcile with an ex (a.k.a. I acted “crazy.”) Part of me knew that was the only way I could move on for my own good. Or, perhaps, my fear of intimacy and commitment got me there.
On the contrary, when I met my fiance, I became rational. I no longer sabotaged myself partly because I had been to therapy, but also because I consciously knew that I wanted to be with him. I observed him over time, and it informed my decision to build a committed relationship with him. This time, my gut told me to hold on, and I did it.
When your gut tells you something, it’s insight.
It comes from knowledge and past experiences. But people don’t always do what they know they should — one reason is that they have not reached the level of maturity they need.
I visualise maturity like this:
When you’re completely immature, you have no insight whatsoever. You haven’t lived and learned much.
When you’re somewhat mature, you have insight but you have no idea what to do about it.
When you’re a bit more mature, you have insight and know what to do, but you can’t follow through with it.
When you’re mature, you have insight, know what to do, and you just do it. Your thoughts and actions align at your command.
If you’re somewhere in the middle of that maturity scale, there are two ways you could become more mature:
1. Ask yourself what your mature self would do and just do it.
You could speed up your learning by imagining you were your fully mature self and acting as if. Do the hard things anyway even if you’re not quite ready — action will lead to character. Then deal with the emotional and mental aftermaths in private and push through.
2. Learn through trial and error.
Or you could simply go ahead and do whatever you do. The outcome will reveal itself to you. If it turns south, you’ll learn through your mistakes.
This is also exactly what you should do if you’re at the beginning of the maturity scale. Through these mistakes, you’ll gain insight and understand what the right course of action is. Next time, even if you still can’t do it, you’ll be even more aware of the consequence of not doing it. It’s like touching a hot kettle many times until you learn you shouldn’t touch it (Actually, in this example, it takes most people just once to learn, hah!)
It’s worth noting that the reason why you’re stuck in the middle of that scale could be because you have psychological issues or mental blocks you need to work through. Take time to reflect and find the help you need along the way.
It goes without saying that it’s okay to make mistakes.
It’s okay to hear your gut but not actually listen to it.
You can come to me and ask me for the right thing to do, but it’s still you who get to experience your journey of growth the way you want it for however long it takes. It’s you who decide your limit and your future.
I took my time in my early twenties to mature up, but when I hit my mid-twenties, I knew it was time for me to set myself straight. I stopped the trial and error and started turning my insight into action and living with intention.
Learning is a lifelong task, and I’m still learning each day even when I’ve achieved many goals I had set for myself, but I don’t put my well-being and happiness on the line anymore. I tell myself I’m a mature adult and, as a mature adult, I do what’s good for me.