What constitutes friendship? How do you define and filter people in your life? Close friends, good friends, friends, acquaintance, pain in the ass but with a good heart? Who are the people in your life who inspire you, or are aspiring to you? Longevity wise, how far back does your oldest friend go?
I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship the past few days. I’ve been thinking about how I haven’t felt “loved” as much as I used to, so I started to examine my friendships, what has changed? Some are just enmeshed in their own lives, location can also be a factor, you just can’t pick up the phone and say “Hey, frozen custard?” Or show up, unshowered, in your crap clothes wanting to connect with someone. Life can be insanely busy. I remember Jim’s Nana saying something one day, probably 15 years ago now, that “You young people don’t ever sit, you are always on the go, far too busy to just sit in quiet and enjoy your surroundings”. Or something close to that.
Age, maturity has taught me the difference between consciously sitting by oneself, quiet, taking in all that surrounds me, and laying on the couch, one sock on, one sock off, hair up in a ponytail affixed to the couch like a cushion. I call the first “participating, being conscious”, I call the second relaxation, but as with anything, the pendulum swings both ways, the flip side of that becomes laziness, self loathing.
Have you ever thought about something you really like about a person? Perhaps that they are fun, carefree, enjoyable to be with because of this? I’d much prefer to hang with people like this than a human jack-in-the-box waiting to spring out of its skin. Okay, let’s look at the black or white, the left or right of the pendulum…. Fun, carefree…. the extreme becomes irresponsibility, non committal. We know that the art of life is to find balance. Balance with our characteristics, our behavior, our relationships, our time….and so much more. I have very good balance with some things in my life, and are severely off balance in others. Add to that, sometimes what I am severely off balance in today was balanced for years, decades. Ying, Yang.
As a child, discipline teaches us right from wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. The temper tantrums that I see children having in stores today, the parents who are “bargaining” with them to behave always amaze me. There is NO WAY I would have acted that way in a store, not without consequences. This is not to imply I think the earlier are poor parents. I have never had children, I only married them, so who am I to say what is right or wrong, but I can surely appreciate the difference.
Acceptance, for me, is the key to serenity, to happiness, to peace. If I am not peaceful, frolicking around in dissention, depression, sadness, then something in my life is out of balance. This almost always proves, for me, to be something in my life that I have yet to accept. As stated earlier, these can change, without our knowledge, unconscious things that have triggered something, something that instills negative. Some things I have accepted years ago comes back around to chew a hole, deflate my peace. Does this mean I really never accepted it in the first place? Who knows, I don’t think so, and most importantly who cares? I have spent so much time reverting to my past. I believe that history repeats itself if you don’t recognize it. I also know that I have lost valuable precious time living in the past.
Grief, grief sucks. We are told that “time heals all wounds”. I don’t really believe that. I believe that time teaches us how to coexist with our wounds, our losses, but it doesn’t heal. If healing is true with others, I think that is awesome, tell me how you accomplished this? Tell me how much time it took to heal your broken heart? Clearly my acceptance, my reaction to the loss of my kid sister is much more balanced now, years later, than when it first happened. I share a lot about loss, because that is a weight I carry daily. I have had a lot of loss. I am trying to lighten the load, to cast the weights into the lagoon of the past and fly over the hills and trees of this difficult place, this vortex, and get beyond, to new, to acceptance.
I want to go back to my not feeling “loved” as much as I used to. Ironically, after much deliberation, I realize, it has nothing to do with my family, friends (close, good, friends, et all) but how I feel about myself. I am not happy with myself. What is it I am not happy with? Well, there is a list, not a very long list, but a list of things that I am upset with myself about, one or two which actually promote self loathing. This can throw a wet blanket over my self worth, self esteem, self confidence. I can pick up any self help book, I can go to therapy, but unless I am doing the work, it’s lost time. Perhaps pieces of what I am learning today will help me a year or two down the road, but if I am not doing the work, if I am not consciously trying to correct, to find balance to whatever it is in my life that is causing me imbalance then I will never experience long term self worth, love, peace.
I tend to be a black or white thinker, to my detriment. If I owe a bill that I cannot pay, I don’t pay it unless I have it all. Um, this doesn’t work! Or, unless I can achieve and correct whatever it is bothering me, quickly, then, I accept and roll in crap, a couple times, to reassure myself that this part of my life sucks and will always suck. But that is an example of my thinking, my thinking that I am trying very hard to change. As stated above, if there is something in my life that I having accepted, there will be no peace.
Throughout my life I tried to find happiness in many places. Laughing as I think about Garth Brooks “I have friends in low places” even though that isn’t what I am referring to. If I was feeling low, not liking myself, the attention of the opposite sex could and would make me feel better. I’m not talking about sex, I’m talking about approval, kudos from others. This escalating when I was in a marriage with an emotionally unavailable husband…shopping, spending… then this stopped working. Thankfully as we age we mature, we learn and have learned, we have the knowledge to make better decisions, make better choices for ourselves. Unfortunately this also comes with loss of bladder control, ability to read a newspaper unless you have on 2.75 readers, and a memory that resides in a colander!
Bottom line, through all of this. I have to be happy with myself. If I am looking to others for approval, if I am looking outside of myself for the answer, for acceptance, for happiness, it will only be a temporary fix. The only way to happiness is to choose it.
I am grateful that this evening I am feeling much better about myself than I was this morning. I gifted myself with a visit to a friend who has inspired me, encouraged me. Someone I consider to be a good friend.
I feel like this blog has been all over the place, with little correlation or flow, though I hope not. Remembering the words of my father the second time I went in-patient for depression. “You just have to pull yourself up by your boot straps”. I cried, and cried. Why didn’t he understand that I was doing my best? Did he think I haven’t tried? Today I think about the extreme, the black of the white, the right or left of the pendulum “I care, I don’t know how to help you, I can’t do this for you, I’m frustrated, please get better, I love you!”
We are designed to be perfectly imperfect. My parents generation you didn’t “air your dirty laundry in public”, you just “keep going”. The extreme of this is self preservation, perseverance.
Is there someone you are reacting negatively to what they are saying? Is it possible to look at the extreme, to see if there is perhaps a message there that the person is not able to convey via words? And not to leave this for last purposely, because it exists in my every day life, breathing, exhaling, movement, thoughts…. my spirituality. I just cannot live a full life or happy existence without God leading my way. I cannot live a full life or happy existence if I am not accepting myself as I am today. I don’t have to “like” something to accept it.
Acceptance, for me, is the key to serenity, to happiness, to peace. If I am not peaceful, frolicking around in dissention, depression, sadness, then something in my life is out of balance.
The past few days as I rolled around in my crap, I was shown what it was I need to change about myself. It will not be done overnight, it will be achieved by stepping in that direction, the direction in which happiness lies for me, a little amount, a bit everyday. Some days will be sprints forward, others a step or two backwards, but I don’t have to look at it as negative, I can look at it that it is just giving me a running start…