In life you will fall out with people that you never thought you would.
Get betrayed by people you trusted with all of your heart.
And get used by people you would do anything for.
An acquaintance of mine calls certain inspirational sayings “toxic positivity” and I like that term, even though I am fond of positive memes and post them several times a day on Facebook.com/AHealingSpirit (– so if you like them, too, come. on over and ‘like” that page).
But I am also fond of of memes that reflect reality, like the one I posted above. I am sometimes guilty of Pollyanna-ish thinking, as in “if only they could see that I…” or more often, “why DON’T they see me…”
Here’s why: because too often we don’t take each other in. Not really. We take in only ourselves. Only. And that’s how people are the problem. The people problem.
I realized recently that I’ve lived some of my life in denial of reality. I might have been living in a fantasy land where people do see us for who we are. I mean, why wouldn’t I? My current (and last) husband came back 26 years after he left me. So, eventually, people CAN see. Oh, I agree, 26 years is a long time to wait.
Patience is not my virtue
Oh, it wasn’t like I was waiting around for him. I didn’t expect his return, so I made my own very happy life without him.
But I do think about patience in another way — how patient I have been with people in my life and how little of it I have left at this age. I will be 70 this year and while I do not look or act that age (whatever that means), I think that entitles me to finally facing the reality of people. And that is that people are imperfect. Boundaries must be set.
It is absolutely true that most of us will at one time fall out with people we never thought we would. It’s happened to me and while sometimes those relationships revive, most of the time they do not. Gone for good.
The truth is it’s hardly ever about you
This is not a bad thing and this is why: when someone decides they no longer want to speak to you it is so rarely about you. Unless of course you support trump or his ridiculous ideas or say things like “all lives matter.” I will not enjoy having you in my life. Then, it’s about you. But most of the time, it’s about the other person. (I normally do not jettison people from my life, but if they are racist or just really, really tone deaf, I will.)
The liberating thing about being almost 70 is that I no longer agonize over these departures. I send them love and move on. I rarely even think about them. There’s so much else going on in my life with friends who are much more centered and interesting.
Betrayal is a big word but I’m familiar with it because I have often been trusting with my heart, which opens me to betrayal. Not all betrayals are alike. There’s big betrayal, in that someone runs off with your spouse, but that’s not the one most of us face.
It’s those little betrayals. Talking trash about you behind your back. Wishing you ill. Being repeatedly discourteous. Failing to provide support at one of your most vulnerable times. Or even being tone deaf to what you need emotionally at any given time. This kind of betrayal happens mostly because those people are completely self-involved…. it’s all about them. Betrayals will happen to us all at least once in our lives.
Sure, if someone ran off with my spouse I would definitely jettison them from my white list. But these other betrayals? Again, they say so much about the other person and their insecurities and self-focus. With clear vision, I see what these people are about and then I simply reset my expectations. And my involvement. Often I decide against letting them in to my vulnerability ever again.
We can do that, you know. We don’t need to let anyone in to our most sensitive stuff. There is a place for superficial relationships.
Users and abusers
Finally, this “get used by” thing. I have known people proficient at leveraging what other people have to benefit themselves. I have seen them ingratiate themselves with complete strangers who who hold some kind of power or something else they want so as to get something for themselves. Years ago one person I know wrangled an invitation to an all-expenses paid trip to an entertainment city hours after first meeting the person putting this group of friends-only together. I don’t have that skill. Or the desire to get something from a complete stranger with whom I have little in common. But I do know people who have honed this using of others to a level of definite proficiency. (if you think I might be referring to you, I might or might not, but, just the fact that you think I might be, means that you might want to check yourself. If you ask me about it I’ll deny it as a matter of policy.)
At that time I also had access to things that person wanted and was glad to share with them. And then one day, they walked away from this very close friendship because they didn’t like a life decision I’d made. That was the purported reason, and crazy enough, but I believe the real reason was their life had been reduced to doing this kind of manipulation full time. MY life, based on making my own way, was a reproach. I didn’t have to say a word, just exist. So I had to cease to exist for them.
Here’s the thing: My life wasn’t any worse for their departure.
I shake my head at my younger self now, when I think of these situations and how hard I tried to accept situations that I didn’t need to accept. And try, try, try without success to maintain a real relationship with people who could not reciprocate. It was not unusual for me to tolerate so much more than I will now. Today, I have far less patience with the bullshit of others. I can forgive them, but they don’t have a place in my life. I don’t care what they think, either. They are just not that important.
There’s another level of friendship, too: superficial. I do have friends whose company I enjoy from time to time, who amuse me in creative ways. But I would never trust them with the deepest part of me. They wouldn’t know what to do with it. It would not end well. With those friends, superficial works.
And that IS friendship. It might not be BEST friendship, like the one I have with bestie in San Francisco or my dear friend who left this plane too soon for me. But it is a form of friendship, however limited. Sometimes, you just want to sit with someone for lunch and talk about things that aren’t that personal.
People have.a right to be how they are. I just don’t have to participate in it. That’s what setting boundaries is all about. And levels of “friendship.” Not everyone has to be our bosom buddy.
This is definitely the wisdom of age speaking today. I might have saved myself a whole lot of pain if I’d gotten here sooner. But then, we’re here on earth to learn. That’s why they call it Soul School. An ex-husband used to say to me, “Carol, you are a very good student.” At the time, I didn’t understand what he meant.
But these days I get it.
Let me know if. you’d like to explore some of what your subconscious wants you to learn, via a regression or other spiritual service. Because that can happen.