A friend of mine recently posted an article on Facebook talking about one of the popular memes going around. It is a series of lovely little pictures that say something to the effect of “If you can’t accept me at my worse, you don’t deserve me at my best”. The article goes on to say how this statement gets taken out of context and seems to assume that you can be as crappy a person as you like…and that if people love you, they should accept it. “Deal with it”, some of them say. The article is quite insightful and is titled, “If I can’t accept you at your worst, then maybe you should stop being so horrible.” It’s so true!!!
On the one hand, I agree that everyone has bad things about them and everyone has bad days, etc. If you love someone, you should accept that they have a few bad habits or not so great qualities…provided these are things they at least attempt to work on. The fact is…no amount of my loving you is going to make it ok for you to be a serial killer, rapist, masochist, narcissist, or other incredibly nasty things.
Everyone has flaws…and the people who love them…love them despite those flaws. However, people usually know they have flaws and they at least make some sort of effort to be better. At the very least, they try really hard to make sure that their good outweighs their bad. So that whole “If you can’t accept me at my worst…” thing…comes with a caveat. People should acknowledge this.
Oddly enough…the day before I read this article…I was thinking something very similar and thinking about writing it down. Reading that article nudged me enough to actually get it done.
There’s another popular little meme thing that gets posted on Facebook a lot. It has different variations of text. The most recent one I saw said, “You are allowed to terminate toxic relationships. You are allowed to walk away from people who hurt you. You are allowed to be angry and selfish and unforgiving. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself.”
Now…let’s see…I agree with what the writer was probably thinking…but I think this takes it a bit too far…and I think it misses a golden opportunity to present the other side of the coin as the article mentioned above did.
Yes. You are allowed to terminate toxic relationships. Of course you are. However, you should also be aware of whether or not you are causing any of the toxicity of said relationship and work on not causing it in future relationships.
Yes. You are allowed to walk away from people who hurt you. Just remember that the people you hurt are allowed to walk away from you too. So try and remember to be forgiving of the things about others that you would want them to forgive about you.
Here’s where I think this one hits a curb. “You are allowed to be angry and selfish and unforgiving.” I think that the writer MIGHT have meant…that you are allowed to appear this way from the eyes of the person you are walking away from. Because…in any other situation, would you tell someone it is “ok” to be selfish or unforgiving? Probably not. So yes, I think it’s ok to be viewed by someone else as selfish and unforgiving because they are not looking at themselves and how much they have hurt you. But I don’t think that being hurt by someone is an excuse to actually BE selfish and unforgiving.
The last sentence says “You don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself”. Well…to some degree, this is true. You do not OWE anyone an explanation for taking care of yourself…unless what you are doing to take care of yourself directly affects them. Then…I think a little explanation might be in order. Additionally…if you have to walk away from someone because they have become a toxic relationship for you…make sure they know. It may not help…they may not learn from it…but make sure they know. Chances are, the person who got angry enough to write this…told the person they were walking away from…a thousand times. So no, you do not owe that person anything. You have to do what is best for you and what is best for your health and sanity. However, put these things into context. Make sure to look at yourself when you are boldly proclaiming these statements.
Allowing yourself to let go of toxic people? Make sure you are not one of them.
Allowing yourself to let go of people who cause drama in your life? Make sure you’re not the one creating (or exacerbating) the drama in the first place. There is no such thing as a “Drama Magnet”. If you’re constantly surrounded by drama…look in the mirror…because you might be the dramatic one.
All that being said…please don’t think that I’m saying that every situation is the same or that it’s always your fault too. Relationships are generally about two people…and they are rarely completely one-sided or completely one person’s fault. What I AM saying…is to constantly take a look at what you are adding to the relationship…and while you’re getting rid of those “toxic people”…be aware of your own shortcomings and make sure you’re not one of those toxic people someone else is trying to let go.