The Right Ones Always Stay

I’ve never done well with good-byes. I resist, holding on to the dream of what could be, never wanting to let go.

No matter how much we weren’t on the same page, no matter how much the writing was so clearly on the wall, somehow, someway, I could never accept that this could be how it ends.

I wanted them to be the ones for me. I wanted them to be the ones who would turn around and come back to me. I wanted so badly for them to see what I could see.

It began in 5th grade when my best friend had to choose between the most popular girl in school and me.

She didn’t choose me.

If I could have seen it like I do now, I would have seen that it was only me trying to be like her, trying to be the cool girl like her, and that she had simply found a better match for herself.

Someone who didn’t have to try.

Someone who was simply being herself.

They were a much better match for each other than we could ever have been.

The same was true later in my life with the men I chose.

I wanted the ones who could never have become what I wanted them to be. The ones with so much potential, so much possibility — if they could only have seen this for themselves.

Instead, they chose to be who they were. They chose to live the lives of their own choosing.

And in the end, they didn’t choose me.

Time and time again I blamed myself, berated myself for not being more of what they wanted me to be.

But it wasn’t about them. It was about me.

They didn’t want me to be anything but who I really was. It was me who wanted to be something other than me!

It was me who longed to be the cool girl, to be the one who everyone wanted, to be the one who could be as insensitive and uncaring to what anyone thought of me as they could be.

I wanted what they had. I didn’t want to be me.

For all my life I believed I was too much.

Too sensitive.

Too caring.

Too deep.

I longed to be able to shake off the depth of the feelings I felt about everything, and so, unbeknownst to me, this was exactly why I kept attracting them.

The ones who could walk away. The ones who didn’t need anyone but themselves. The ones who didn’t feel — couldn’t feel. They were the ones I wanted to be like.

How much easier it would be, I thought.

And so I kept finding them over and over again, with a script, a story I carried around, telling me if I could only be more like them, if the attitude they carried could somehow rub off on me, I would somehow finally be free.

Until I suffered the last loss I ever wanted to go through again.

It was the day I finally said “enough”.

I peeled away the layers of my defenses until I discovered the story I had unknowingly made my own. I stopped following the same script.

Little by little l I finally embraced the real me. With all my flaws, all my shortcomings, everything I thought was so wrong with me.

I stopped fighting myself and started accepting myself instead. No more loathing, no more self-hate, no more shaming and blaming myself for what I couldn’t see.

It was then the “a-ha” moment came to me.

It had never been about there being anything wrong with me. It was only about the right people for me, and the wrong ones who I kept trying to make into the right ones I so wanted them to be.

Like a ton of bricks, it hit me. My role wasn’t to make someone love me. My role wasn’t to make the wrong ones right.

It was to recognize the ones who could never be what the real me needed them to be, and let them go.

And in the space that was created by letting them pass on by, the ones who were the right ones for me could find their place.

Let them go if they don’t want to be there if you have to try to make them stay, if you only want them, so you don’t have to do your own work. They’re not the ones who are meant to stay.

You’ll always know the right ones; they’re the ones who stay.

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Jane Garapick

Jane Garapick is a dating and relationship coach, and the founder of Getting to True Love, LLC.

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