It's so easy to feel attached and so hard to gauge the right level of that attachment. Whether you're a friend, sister, mother, husband, daughter, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, young or old or somewhere in between, loving is dang tricky to figure out.
Some of the closest relationships we have can feel too close at times, and not close enough at others. Dear friends can seem distant or strange one day, and vying for our attention, needy, clingy and smothering the next.
Teasing out the needs of those we love and our own needs simultaneously is like trying to pull out the off-white grain of rice in the pot full of rice - very difficult and at times really impossible to do.
In my own experience, feeling smothered can cause me to drop a previously delightful friendship or relationship. I get a sense of claustrophobia, of not being able to breathe, think, or be myself somehow. I feel as if everything I do and say is under the lens of a microscope, that I can't make any independent moves for fear of some kind of comment or reaction.
Yet smothering others, particularly my own children, seems to be something genetic within me at times, as if their personal space is my business and it doesn't matter if they're tired and just woke up or in the middle of a phone call.
I'm not saying I don't try. But the overriding need to protect, guide and nurture sometimes goes into manic overdrive and, before I know it, I'm smothering them.
The difficulty comes when you feel passionately and deeply about someone. These feelings can be overwhelming or powerful to the point of irrationality; you feel you can’t “water them down” because they’re just too meaningful to you.
Sometimes, as a person capable of feeling smothered, we just need to take much needed personal space and regroup from our loved ones. Funny enough, when we are on the smothering end of that equation, it is also important to take some personal space, to realize you may be over doing it and pushing the one you love further away from you.
Space is good.