I was watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother the other day… Re-watching is actually a more accurate description. It is the episode entitled The Final Page- Part 2. It’s the one in which Barney proposes to Robin on top of the World Wide News Building. Ted encourages Robin to pursue Barney if she is still in love with him even if she thinks the odds of them ending up together are slim. In this particular episode Ted says something incredibly insightful, as only Ted can. “Making an ass of your self for love is underrated.”
I’ve seen this episode countless times but it hit home more this time than ever before… And I realized that making an ass out of myself for love is something that I’ve always embraced. In fact, I consider myself a bit of a Ted, but I like this about myself. I also realized that it took me a long time, lots of tears, and painful realizations before I could embrace the part of my nature that just doesn’t want to let things go.
The first part of this journey was the realization and acceptance of the fact that I am one incredibly nostalgic, not to mention romantic, human being… Kinda like Ted actually. I always see the past as better than it was and there was a time when I would do anything to preserve things exactly as they were. I would focus on all the good memories from the past and try to force things to remain, or go back to, the way they were. This reminds me of something my mom use to always say… She’d tell me that no matter what kind of relationship you are in- romantic, friendship, whatever- that you should always be happy more often than you are sad or the relationship is not worth it. Similarly and equally as wisely stated in one of my favorite, just as quirky as it is heartwarming British films, Hector and the Search for Happiness (more on this film and Hectors adventures later). One of Hector’s newly acquired friends tells him that when evaluating a relationship one should consider “does this person bring me primarily a) up or b) down”. In retrospect this is some of the best advice I have ever received but I know that I seldom took it to heart. Even if I was mostly sad and a person primarily brought me down I never wanted to give up, on the odd chance that this person was my soul mate. I reasoned that not only had I grown comfortable in this relationship but “jerks have to have soul mates too right?” I’ve come to terms with the fact that in the heat of the relationship I would always want to push through or keep fighting for it even if things had gone south a long time ago. Bottom line: I’m incredibly good at the fighting to make things work part of the relationship, but absolutely awful at letting go of the things that are already gone part.
Another thing I had to realize… Possibly the most painful… Was that no one I had ever been with had been willing to make an ass out of themselves for me. So I would go to the ends of the earth, send a message when I knew I shouldn’t, forgive things that shouldn’t be forgiven, and say things that were better left unsaid, all in the hopes that things would mend and fall back in to place. After my first major breakup I spent months in this kind of limbo, waiting for a message, an apology, anything. Then I’d end up sending the text. We’d meet up and get coffee or try to go to some of the places we use to when we were together and I’d only end up feeling twice as empty as I had before. I neglected to realize, something that a wonderful friend told me several months later “it’s okay to grow out of someone”. Meaning, it’s okay to accept that things have changed and basically “please stop forcing this because it’s killing you”. Once again, in retrospect, I’ve realized how many people actually helped me get through something that I felt so alone in dealing with. I have amazing friends and an incredibly family. And what’s more than that, I have friends that have become family and that means more than the world to me. But all of their advice was always along the same lines: “let it go.”
Some of the people with the best insight into my situation, however, had only known me a few minutes. The one who speaks most to my “make an ass of yourself for love” nature was a small man who gave me a neon pink manicure a short time after a breakup. I was a mess, which came as a surprise to no one but everyone tried to cheer me up none the less. My aunt took me to get my nails done, and… as one does… I ended up informing my nail tech of the whole sordid affair. He just listened quietly for a long time and waited so long to speak that I actually wondered if he’d heard me at all. When he did talk he said, “never chase a boy. You have too much to offer and if he can’t see that then he is not worth it.” So simple yet so incredibly true. Later he kindly berated me for my posture saying that a pretty girl should always sit up straight. As I left the nail salon he called after me, “What two things?” and I responded ” Sit up straight and don’t chase!” Something that my aunt still texts me on occasion to remind me. After a long time reflecting on what my nail tech said, living through a few more experiences, and watching a few more cheesy sitcoms and romantic comedies I concluded that chasing isn’t always bad… in fact, it’s part of who I am. People who chase the person they want to be with are not only romantic and nostalgic but they are willing to open themselves up completely and consequently live and love with their whole heart. I also concluded, however, that someone who tries and loves this hard deserves someone who would do the same for them. Basically, making an ass out of yourself for love is a two way street.
So, making an ass of yourself is good, but the other person has to make an ass out of themselves as well. And let’s be sure to clarify being an ass and making an ass out of yourself/ going out of your way to tell someone you love them are two different things. 😉 The excuse that someone is stubborn can only exist for so long before you have to realize that they really aren’t going out of their way at all for you. After certain break-ups I had to realize that I was a piece in a puzzle of convenience to this person and there would never be any changing that. You can’t always be the first one to reach out after a fight, the first to say you’re sorry, and you can’t be willing to forgive anything just to return to normalcy. I promise, if this person is all you’ve ever known chances are you can do better. So I guess it’s kinda like a line from another insightful romantic comedy, He’s Just Not That Into You, “If a guy wants to see you he will make it happen”. Sometimes those of us Teds out there have to realize that while we’ve been busy making an ass out of ourselves he (or maybe she) has not been trying to make it happen. A painful realization that, for me, led to a lot of self destructive thoughts…
Here’s where yoga comes in. Yoga teaches self love in the most honest and sometimes brutal way possible. We have to realize how little we meant to someone, breaking our heart and our ego, before we can actually realize how much we are worth. It’s sounds like kind of a paradox… And sometimes this is something we won’t realize until we take a prescription of equal parts yoga, crying it out, and ice cream with your best friend and/or mom. But the ultimate conclusion is: you are worth it.
Although we are constantly told to stop chasing, and trying, and sacrificing (and there is something to advice of this kind) those things make us who we are. As Ted says “take it from someone who’s an expert at making an ass of themselves” never lose that part of you! Never stop being a romantic, and don’t be afraid to make an ass out of yourself for love, just have enough respect, for yourself, to know where to draw the line. Your love for others should never exceed your love for yourself. Actually, if you can’t fully love yourself then loving another person is messy, painful, and confusing at best. If you’re like me (FELLOW TEDS UNITE!) enjoy the journey of making an ass out of yourself for love and embrace that part of you but don’t forget to hold out for someone who will fight as hard for it as you do. Because, gosh darn it, you deserve it!