The problem is, I keep getting hurt. I make a lot of allowances for what in retrospect is usually simply bad behaviour. I make excuses, pour oil on troubled waters and shield the perpetrator from the feedback (aka criticisms) of my friends. I've done my time in counselling and remain at a loss as to why I keep doing this. But I think it's because I want to believe the best of people, that deep down we are all decent and honest. That everyone is redeemable and a lifetime of bad decisions does not a bas**rd make.
Its hard to find a middle ground, because I also don't want to be one of those ''you can't mess with me or I'll crush ya'' kind of girls. You know, the ones who have that brittle exterior that is supposed to show toughness, but actually suggests they'll break without too much provocation. They trust no-one and take that into their relationships.
It would be easy for this blog to turn into a place for horror stories, for notes of dire warning and a home for sob stories. But in order to protect the probably-not-that-innocent after all I am doing my best to avoid it. That said, I have had the dubious pleasure of crossing paths with way too many players, users, and frankly dangerous men over my life which tells me there just might be a place for it! Of course, I would also say that the players, users and danger-men were all basically good guys that just had a few things they needed to sort through - that although it is not my job to rescue or redeem them, it is also not fair of me to judge them on their shortcomings. Goodness knows I have enough of my own after all...
But if there's a life lesson here, I guess it's about boundaries. This year I want to stay (well, try and stay) true to my goal of setting and maintaining good ones. Deciding what things I think are okay and what aren't. Figuring out what is human frailty and what is deliberate pain infliction. Remembering that those same broken people, men or women, can be as broken as they like, but I don't have to welcome them in and allow them to practice that on me.
I still believe in believing in people. I still hope to meet that magic combination of energy, kindness and integrity.
But in the words of a wise friend: it's a matter of learning how to balance a willingness to trust with a self-protecting cynicism.