“Please. Don’t do this. Don’t go,” I said softly. No, I begged softly. I tried not to beg loudly because that’s unbecoming. But my pleas were in fact begging. Because I knew if he walked out that door that night, I would never see him again. He said he had to go, he had to go think, he needed space, he said he’d call. And he never did. We broke up a week later by email.
I knew the moment he said he had to go, I knew it was over. I wasn’t asking him to spend the night after dinner. I was begging him not to walk out of my life. I wasn’t ready. I thought I had more time with him. He was ready though. And so for the first time in my life, I didn’t beg beg. I let him go.
A friend recently told me how she had a bad night with her husband–they were arguing, and she begged him to give her more time, to stay in the relationship until she could change. She was working on her issues, and she begged him to keep giving her a chance. She said the next morning, she realized she did not like that. She did not like who she was in those moments that night.
See, it was the tone she didn’t like. It was the place of origin from where that tone arose that she didn’t like–the place deep inside her where insecurity and neediness and uncertainty live. The request, the begging, came from a place inside that wants certainty, it’s trying to quell the anxiety of not knowing. She knew that begging for the sake of being in a relationship is not who she wants to be any longer. She knows now the person she wants to be is the person who uses her words to voice her feelings and needs in an appropriate way. She knows she wants to be the person who is comfortable in her own skin. Not a person who begs to stop the anxiety and discomfort for the sake of not losing a relationship.
I know this place inside of her, because I used to live there too. Begging in itself is not bad. I’d likely beg for my life. Beg for my children’s lives. Beg for food if we were homeless. But I won’t beg to be loved. I won’t beg to be in a Couple. I used to. Oh, how I used to.
This summer, I was at a beach with a friend. I had not been to that particular beach in seven years. Sitting on a bench at night, I suddenly remembered the last time I was there, on a bench at night, seven years ago. I was on the phone with my then-boyfriend. Oh, I loved him so. There had always been something electric between us. We’d been through a lot through the years, off and on, mostly off. But when it was on, my God, it was On. And I was on the phone with him that night seven years ago. Something about the conversation, his distant tone, something incited panic in me. I knew that night. I knew it was over. He didn’t actually leave me until months later, but I knew that night it was the beginning of the end. So for months, I begged in not-so-subtle ways. I called. A lot. I was needy. Very needy. I panicked. A lot. I was trying so hard to hold on to him, to the relationship. Until one day, he just stopped calling. I did not like who I was in those months.
I’ve since learned that it’s not the question. It’s not the plea in itself. It’s not the content that matters. But it’s from where the plea arises from that matters. I am no longer the person who frantically claws at the nearest thing when she feels she’s drowning in confusion and uncertainty and pain. I am no longer the person who reaches out to fill her soul. I am no longer the person who feels she needs something outside of her to calm her insecurities. I am no longer the person who depends on external validation and love to be love, to feel love, to give love.
I have since asked people to not go just yet. I have since asked people to come back please. But it has not been begging. Because it comes from a place of being vulnerable and authentic and for a process and the practice instead of an outcome. It’s in these details that make all the difference. It’s in this internal shift that makes all the difference.
The old saying goes Beggars Can’t Be Choosers. Indeed. When I used to beg, I could not choose myself over others, I could not choose loving kindness over desperation. I could not choose self-respect over neediness. I could not choose unconditional love over heavy expectations.
So now I Choose. I choose to use my words. I choose to examine my intent; examining it, turning it over and under and feeling all its nooks and crannies with both of my hands and heart. I choose to do things that are good for me, even if they’re hard decisions, even if there’s pain and loss. When given a choice, Be a Chooser, not a Beggar.