There is a song that I have heard countless times on the radio. I have sung the lyrics, reciting line for line as the melody waves and crests over me. It is a natural habit, once I recognize the first few seconds of the song beginning, to sing along. I have been doing so since the first time I heard it.
The song is called Scars, by the band Papa Roach. Their style of music is not something I typically listen to, but I have always enjoyed this particular song, because I have always liked the message I thought it portrayed.
Have you ever listened to a song, even sung the words into the air, and realized you didn’t really know what it meant at all?
There is a particular verse in this song.
“I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut. My weakness is that I care too much. The scars remind us, that the past is real. I tear my heart open, just to feel.”
In this short line, the band illustrates the struggle of someone like myself.
Someone who feels so deeply, and often because of how passionately we love, finds themselves being hurt.
After all, when you carry the weight of the world, attempting to solve problems that are not yours because of how strongly you care for others, it’s impossible to not feel an enormous weight when you realize that you cannot make everyone happy.
For a majority of my adult life, I have struggled with my self worth, questioning my presence as a whole and feeling as if my value was measured not by how I felt about myself, but by how others viewed me. Circumstances within my past forced me to feel as if I did not deserve love in comparison to others, and to feel as if no one values you enough to remain within your life is an extremely lonely feeling.
For this reason, I believe I compensated, feeling as if I had to solve the problems of those I loved, because I knew what it felt like to be lonely, and I did not want others to feel the pain I had become accustomed too. When I grew close to someone, I cared for and even loved some of these individuals so fiercely, but I found that in doing so, I was often left feeling disappointed.
In my attempt to make others feel happy, I was sacrificing my own joy.
As the song said, my weakness was that I cared too much.
I will find myself, when reading status updates of others on social networks that have a concerning nature to them, immediately wanting to message the person who posted them, wanting to make things right. If I can make everyone happy, then things will be better.
But they won’t.
I have come to the realization that there are times when the best thing to do for someone, including myself, is to give someone or a situation space.
I am a faithful person and I truly believe that He has a plan for our lives, an outline by which our story unfolds. This is not to say that we lack self choice. We can certainly make decisions as to what will make us happy, but ultimately, I think our lives will be determined by the plan God has for us.
And sometimes, the only way that we can make another person happy is by leaving them to determine their own happiness. We can care; of course we are not abandoning them. But we cannot make others happy who do not want to feel happiness in that moment, or even in a particular season of their lives.
As one of the characters in my son’s favorite movie states, “we cannot make someone feel anything.”
I will continue to be the person I have grown to be, shaped by my faith and by my circumstances. I will continue to love intensely and feel deeply, the scars of my past an armor against the potential hurts of my future.
I will feel, but I will not do so at the expense of my happiness. I will support, but I will give space.
As the song states,
The scars remind us that the past is real.
I look forward to the joys of the future.