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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Buyer

#58: Re-Learning to Ride a Bike (and other Cheesy Analogies

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

When a romantic relationship ends, I know that it’s important to process feelings. Unlucky for me, “feeling my feelings” is not my strength. By the time a relationship ends, I’ve spent so much time arriving at the unfortunate conclusion that I’d rather make new memories than to talk about the past. I can truly say that I have the highest level of respect for the people that I’ve had long-term romantic relationships with and that we are on good terms. In the short term, it’s tougher to move forward when it would be so comfortable to send a text and forget anything ever happened.

It would be much easier to use anger and negative feelings as fuel to move forward, but that doesn't solve anything. Especially not long-term. Not much time has passed, but I’m surprised at my level of emotional maturity. Coming from a girl who still throws an occasional temper tantrum, cries at her desk, and eats one specific type of chocolate as a method of stress-procrastination, any kind of emotional maturity is new for me.

Actually, I surprised myself recently. I feel like I talk about my accomplishments all the time, but I share with others to (1) convince myself and (2) validate the magnitude of the accomplishment. I value others’ reactions more than the accomplishment itself. That’s unhealthy. It’s important to independently recognize the value of the both learning process and the accomplishment separately, and for what they are. That’s the only sustainable way to find fulfillment.

There were several instances recently when it would’ve been normal, or even expected, to compare myself to others. Instead, I found myself adamantly against comparison. I don’t even want to think about comparing myself to the other person/people in this situation. I know myself and my value well enough to know that their actions aren’t relevant to me. I reached a level of security and self-confidence (in relationships at least) that nobody, other than actions of the participants in the relationship matter. Given my age, I’m the best version of myself that I can be. I have plenty of room to grow, as we all do, but I’m satisfied with what I am. I’m finally mature (and busy) enough to know that tearing any other person down, even in my own head, won’t change facts.

I can explain it this way: You’re consolidating inputs from various people for an important presentation. One of the inputs looks off, so you go back to the owner. They confirm it's correct. When you give the presentation, a superior tries to trip you up. You did everything you were responsible for and more by going back for confirmation. You don't want to blame someone else, but you noticed there may have been a mistake and gave the owner a chance to correct it. If there is a mistake, there’s no way you’re taking the fall for it. I’m the person consolidating inputs. My “presentation” isn’t perfect, but I’m doing everything in my power to get it right. I can’t be upset with myself as long as I know I’m doing everything I can, even if it’s not perfect.

I’m grateful that I always have support from friends, family, managers and mentors, so I’m never completely alone. Even still, I have to admit that I may have undervalued myself because I’m scared to be on my own. Another cheesy analogy: Learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Someone gently held the seat of my bike for a long time. Without realizing, I learned to balance and pick up speed on my own. I thought it was only possible because someone was there to hold the seat, but it was for comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated everything. I love sharing accountability with someone, or being able to look over and just share a smile. I’m balancing on my own now. It sucks that I won’t have someone next to me to share a look and a smile, but it forces me to recognize that I’m capable. It’s challenging, and not always fun.

As my Dad taught my sister and I growing up, you can’t ride a scooter before you can ride a bike, or you’ll never learn to ride the bike. Technically, I spent the last few years learning to ride a bike with training wheels, so I didn’t totally disregard the sentiment… But, as many adults do when they grow up, I listening to my parents now. (The part about the bike/scooter is true, but I came to my own conclusion to be alone.) I wouldn’t let myself sacrifice a great opportunity for happiness if it came up, but until then, I’m learning to ride the bike on my own. Once I can do that, I’m on the lookout for the person I share the scooter with for a very long time.

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