3 Relational Toxins
This powerful blog was originally posted by Lexie Smith on her personal website on May 8, 2015, and is shared today with the same authenticity.
This post is for my fellow single peeps hoping to find that special someone and avoid the wrong ones.
There are 3 things that will destroy any relationship you get into loneliness, baggage, dependency. All three of these things have one thing in common: lack of self-wholeness. And sadly, most individuals walk into a relationship with all three. It does not mean that the relationship will not work if either of you struggles with any of these things, you are not human if you do not. The relationship will just leave you dissatisfied because you are placing expectations on someone to fill a void you can resolve only within yourself.
1) LONELINESS is something that everyone faces because we were made as relational beings, but does not have to control you. A romantic relationship is not the answer either, genuine friendship is. Dating someone will not give you the intimacy you long for. Sure snuggling with someone might make you feel better, in that moment.
What if I told you that you could feel that fulfilled and content all the time, not just when you are with someone of romantic interest. That is the kind of feeling we all long for: to feel complete.
This last year I have seen how irreplaceable solid friendships are. The kind that is there for you in the hard times, but refuses to leave you there. Friends who you can send stupid emoji stories to and also get a good kick in the butt from. People that make you better and challenge you to be the person that you want to be.
Instead of dating someone for romantic interests, date your friends, so to speak. Be spontaneous, do not wait to travel, and stay up all night talking. What we are really wanting is for someone to know and accept every single part of us, but for whatever reason, we tend to feel like we cannot do that in a friendship because it will strain it. That is what friends are for! To help each other out with the burdens of life and be that safe place to let it all out. Start by becoming transparent, the right friends will reciprocate and the bond will be inseparable. Suddenly your “need” for a significant other, will become less significant.
2) BAGGAGE is something we all have to a degree, but the problem lies in how much it influences you. Everyone has been banged up along the way and bears scars, but that baggage is not meant for anyone else to carry other than Christ. No human being was meant to deal with the various levels of pain, trauma, and confusion that we all face, accept Jesus Christ. That literally was his purpose, to bear the sins of men as an atonement for our salvation.
Salvation is life without all of those things, so if you are walking with baggage you are not walking in your salvation and freedom. It is no one’s job to make you feel better, that is between you and God. It is a process that has to happen within your heart. Giving up all of the past, hurt, and pain to the one who wants to replace all of that with joy, love, peace, and true freedom in a life reclaimed.
The healthier we become as individuals, the healthier a romantic relationship will be. Sure relationships are meant to bear the burdens of life, but those burdens are current affairs. Pile on yesterday’s stuff with today’s and both will drown in the sea of tomorrow. You cannot put your hope in one person, no one was meant to be a savior other than Jesus. Check your baggage in with Him and your relational travels will be much easier.
3) DEPENDENCY is different than trust and support. Those who are dependent on another are not independent on their own. These people have not explored themselves enough to know what their passions are, and that is huge. A passionless person is a purposeless person and we were made with a hole only filled by purpose. This looks completely different for everyone and can shift throughout life, but it is essential for you to feel happy, whole, and complete. Without a purpose, we feel restless, and that will quickly frustrate any relationship. On the other side of the spectrum, the thing with your purpose is that once you figure it out, you are locked in. People who jump around from dream to dream, have not found it yet, or have a deep level of internal discontentment that they are trying to compensate for.
Restlessness translates to discontentment and when you are in love with someone it can drive you mad. If you feel like you cannot live without a special someone, because you literally do not know how to live and work without your identity wrapped up in another person, you might be in trouble. Not that you would want to live without your significant other, but I think you get the picture. I have seen this unfold in marriages even as the unfulfilled spouse is on a wild goose chase so it seems. One idea or “dream” after another.
Another symptom of dependency is that you conform to another person's likes and dislikes when in a relationship. If football is an interest, well you become a fanatic of their favorite team. If they do not like your style of music, you start listening to theirs to accommodate your tastes in hopes to be more attractive. You are enough as you are. If someone does not see that, then that person is not the right one for you.
There are plenty of relationships with one or all three of these things, I have witnessed a few. From what I have seen those relationships aren’t terrible necessarily, they just have quite a few rifts and can become easily frustrated. The couples who I have seen, and even experienced relationships with these things, they struggle more than they should or end up failing. The internal collateral from a failed relationship with these issues can be detrimental because identity development is at the core.
You never stop growing, but you have to at least know who you are before you get into a romantic relationship otherwise that development shapes around someone who may or may not stick. Find relationships that will help you explore and discover all God has for you while protecting your heart, it is the only one you have.
Lexie is a graduate and guest trainer of Elevate. She received a BA in Psychology from Lee University and currently resides in Nashville, TN as an active member of The Belonging Co. Church and Marketing Coordinator at Dave Ramsey Solutions.