Friday, February 11, 2011

"Control is not Love"

I don't know if you've seen that poster in the hallways, but it's always been the butt of jokes at OHS. It's advertising help for people in controlling relationships. When you think about it, it's a very serious poster, and not something to joke about.

Control is not Love. It's a fact. It's not a fact that everybody may understand, and it isn't one that anyone wants to think about. As humans, we feel that we control the world. We try to control everything. We control where certain animals live. We control where other humans live. We control what goes into our bodies, and we control (most times) what comes out. We control business, politics, nations, waters, and wars. What we don't control, is each other, and the choices others make.

We didn't control when we were born. We didn't control where we grew up. We didn't control our parents actions when they left us, or loved us. I didn't control my father when he left. I didn't control my mother when she disowned me. Robyn didn't control her sister's decision to not pay for her study abroad. Rachel didn't control me when I decided I'd had enough and "unfriended" her. Nathan didn't control his mother when she decided to leave their family in pieces. There are things that happen to us that we cannot control. The only thing we truly control are our own actions.

There are times in life when it feels like the world is spinning out of control entirely. Sometimes it feels like the everyone on the planet is only making life harder. It feels like everyone is pushing away from you. It feels like there is nothing you can control, so you try to control things you can't.

I've been there, I know how it is. The whole world is just full of people who cannot be contained or controlled. People around you make decisions that leave you in a wake of confusion and pain. You come to realize that the one thing you can control is yourself. When you realize it, you begin to hope that by controlling yourself, others will do things to stop hurting you. The most common way for people to control themselves is to hurt themselves.

Often times, girls become anorexic because it's the one thing they can control. They can't control their friends who seem to live life without them, but they can control what enters their bodies (or doesn't). That's the only control they feel they have.

They starve themselves until their ribs threaten to rip the skin. Their faces become dark, and empty. Little living skeletons, they become fragile both physically and emotionally. Controlling themselves this way only makes matters worse. They begin to lose control again as their bodies shut down and people don't know how to handle it. Even the simplest displays of affection become twisted and damaged in their eyes. Someone who holds them close is seen as someone trying to trap them.

More and more, they long to be free. They long to be free of people who try to control them. They long for chance to fly, to feel okay again, to live. Their bodies become their trap, their cage, their leash. The desire to control themselves becomes a drug. They can't stop, they don't want to stop. They want to feel like they have power over at least one thing.

Over time, it wears them down. They become lost. They become hurt.

As they tear themselves down, they're building themselves up. They feel powerful. They feel the anger rushing through their sick veins. They've finally gained control over something.

Dozens of emotions run through their frail bodies. Anger, hate, power, loss, hope, sadness, confusion. But there is one thing they don't feel, they cannot feel. Love.

There is a belief of love in their minds. "I do this because I love myself, and I want to look my best." But all they feel is an empty little hole that should be love. They don't love themselves.

To love someone is to accept them for who they are. People have faults, but to love them means to work past those faults, and encourage the person to make those faults into strengths. To love someone is to let them make decisions, and to stand by them through the consequences. That's how marriages work (so I'm told).

If relationships between two people means acceptance and trust, then the same goes for a relationship with yourself. To truly love yourself is the greatest feeling in the world. When your parents love you, they take care of you. They provide you with the things you need. When a boyfriend/girlfriend loves you, they stand by you and try to make your days sunny (even when all you want to do is be upset). When you love you, you take care of yourself, you accept yourself as you are, you smile at your own accomplishments. When you love you, you gain a whole new power that cannot be compared to anything else.

You don't tear yourself down when you love yourself. You wouldn't tear down your best friend, would you?

When you love yourself, you allow yourself to smile. When you love yourself, it's hard for everyone around you to not love you. The more you prize yourself, the more others treasure you. Life cannot be controlled.

Control is not love.  Stop controlling, start living.

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