A few weeks ago I had a disturbing dream that led me to question my behaviour. It featured an ex-flame toying with my emotions. I had strong feelings for him but was hesitant to share them for fear of humiliation so I turned my attention to satisfying his every whim, hoping that he would notice me doing all these nice things for him and be moved to acknowledge my ‘love’. He was fully aware of how I felt but instead of responding as I wanted, he took advantage of my soft spot for him making all sorts of requests of me while fawning on other women in my presence. But did I stop hoping? Did I stop allowing myself to be used? Of course not. Like a fool, I kept hanging on, convinced that he would soon see the light. I was his safe bet. The one who would always be there, who would condone anything and forgive everything if it meant that he would return even a quarter of the feelings I had for him.
It was heartbreaking watching myself behave this way in my dream especially because it did not accord with the image I have of myself as a strong person. I woke up feeling very upset and I spent some time that morning reflecting on what it all meant. Though I am not currently in this situation it didn’t take me long to work out how it relates to my life. I realised that what bothered me most about the dream was my inability to just ask for what I wanted. I was content to accept shoddy treatment to avoid facing the possibility that things might not work out the way I would like. Yet I wasn’t better off for it and I only had myself to blame.
I can find a similar unwillingness in non-romantic aspects of my life. I hesitate even when it comes to something as simple as revealing to friends that I’d prefer to go somewhere else for lunch. I’d rather drop hints and hope that someone else picks up on what I’m trying to convey then feel ignored if they don’t.
I suppose I hadn’t recognised how pervasive this tendency of mine is which is why I was so shaken by the dream. One of the things I’m focusing on this year is dealing with fear; using it to spur me on instead of being inhibited by it. Asking for what I want feeds very well into this. I don’t want to live a life of regret. I don’t want to be a person that remains unsatisfied because I didn’t have the courage to articulate clearly what I wanted out of a particular situation. I may not always get it but I think I’m better off knowing that and moving on than waiting forever for an outcome that may never materialise.