Friendship Lessons

Today is another day. Sometimes when I wake up, I am grateful to be alive. Excited for what will come in the hours ahead. Other times (like this morning), I lie in the gray light and wonder why I feel like I weigh 1,000 pounds.

I’ve made a commitment (to myself) to write honestly about my struggles. As they happen, or near to them. To try to untangle my mind and emotions through writing and while doing so to create some interesting content that might help or touch a reader.

I’m not sure I’m achieving any of these goals. Yet, I’m going to keep doing it. Because I know in my gut that it is required of me.

Somehow, this is serving. Me. You. Someone. Well, definitely me.

Last couple of weeks, one of the painful themes I’ve been diving into (reluctantly, painfully, yet necessarily) is how I am in relationships. Not “Relationships” because I don’t have those, but all my relationships. Friendships, mostly, but also sometimes work/professional relationships. At this point in my life after close to 55 years, I’ve got enough experiences piled up to see patterns and learn from them. If I choose to.

Honestly, though, it feels like I have no choice. I must do this. If I don’t accept this assignment, I will die more and more on the inside because I will continue to not understand why things happen as they do. I have to understand, and probably change because of that understanding. And also, regardless of whether I change or not, I have to accept the results of this internal learning process no matter what they are.

Here are some of my observations of these relationship patterns I’m seeing:

Observation 1: I change in every relationship and context and I try hard to “grok” what/how the other person wants me to be and then be that.

Observation 2: I compare myself to other people and get jealous of them.

Observation 3: I judge other people but never figure out how to process that judgement so it grows and grows inside of me.

Observation 4: I re-live times that I was bullied, abandoned or betrayed and I project those experiences and the feelings I had during them onto the people I am with and situations I am in now.

None of these behaviors is ever sustainable. I tend to get so exhausted, resentful and overwhelmed that I leave. Either for good, or for the day. I CHECK OUT. If I don’t leave, then eventually I usually lash out angrily.

Although it’s starting to be easier for me to spot these patterns, they are so part of who I have become, that it is very hard to see any of this as it happens. And of course, other people have no idea what is happening inside of me, so, they come up with all kinds of reasons, most or all of which are not true, about what the behaviors they see mean.

I suspect that the most common things people think I am are: spoiled (my family especially might think this, leftover from when I was the baby of my family), selfish, angry. That I do not care about them. And often it gets so intense for other people that they get angry at me and sometimes they stop interacting with me completely.

So, I feel like I’ve alienated a lot of people in my life, and burned more bridges than I can count.

Was that what I wanted? Not on your life. Absolutely not. Not at all. No way.

Its all been the cries of a desperate girl, who just wants to be loved and have friends. Who just craves so hard to be important to someone. And in that desperation, I’ve betrayed myself over and over again.

This is no longer an option. I cannot do this anymore. I want to be free of all of it.

Easy to say. How do I do that? I can’t go back and change what happened. It turns out that I can’t just decide to be different and make it so. Because I’ve tried, and no such luck. Just failure and self-loathing ensue.

I can, however, put the light of awareness on these patterns. Pray for change. Allow what is. Release the judgment. Let light in through the cracks in my heart. And through this all, realize more and more that I already am loved and important. Just by being. This is my soul’s journey. Precious, unique and beautiful. Love is here. It doesn’t have to come FROM someone else.

This is my prayer today. Let light in to my broken heart. Know the truth that I am loved.