I don’t enjoy wake-up calls. But when one happens, I’ve learned it’s worth paying attention to. Mostly, for my sake.
Some time ago, I had a conversation with a friend that made me re-think a feeling I’ve been holding on for years. That feeling was resentment, and it had been growing largely because I had been feeding it.
Taking a closer look at something so personal means having to be vulnerable to the possibility I could be in the wrong.
And I was.
The initial hurt that led to the resentment was legitimate. I was wronged. But the beast it had grown to was entirely my responsibility. I had treated it as a pet.
So I had to take some time to unpack the layers that accumulated over the years. And it was hard, because I kept feeling that hurt all over again.
But in the end, I am glad I did it.
No matter how hard I deny it, slights hurt. Raised eyebrows get to me, and condescension lights a fire that gets my blood boiling. And no matter how hard I swear it doesn’t bother me, rejection stings.
But then again, isn’t this a very human way to be? Aren’t we all susceptible, in some way, to some form of rejection?
The truth is, things get to us because we care about them. So maybe, if we choose to let go of certain things that aren’t necessarily beneficial to our personal growth, then maybe those things won’t have the power to ruin the day for us anymore.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if I am on to something that would make life a wee bit easier when it comes to relationships. Close relationships, in particular.
Like maybe, that person I’ve wanted to be friends with, but who only really acknowledges me when I serve some purpose? Maybe that person shouldn’t be a part of my day anymore.
Or maybe, I should be honest enough to admit I keep some people around because they make me feel good about myself. This makes me a jerk, and unless I work on caring more about them than myself, I will remain a jerk.
And maybe that group of friends I have nothing in common with, but still hang out with because it’s easier than making new friends? Maybe I should do them all a favor and just jump ship and strike out on my own, meeting new people.
Or maybe I should get over myself and listen to what some friends have to say. Maybe a slice of humble pie should be on the menu.
And maybe that long list of “friends” on social media shouldn’t be that long, because after all, a lot of them aren’t really people I would go out with for coffee on any given day. And vice versa. I’m sure some of them don’t even know why I’m in their list.
Or maybe, after careful reflection, I should just try harder to be a better friend to someone.
And maybe it’s about time I empty out that bleacher I filled up with critics, because a lot of those critics really just excel at criticizing and never encouraging.
One other result of such an honest self-evaluation is having to be fair to the one who wronged me. I’ve actually reached a conclusion that has freed me up to forgive and move on, letting that person go.
Funny thing is, I’ve been dragging that person along with me wherever I go, and they probably don’t appreciate it.
Letting go releases both parties. And causes me to grow a bit more mature in the process.
I also came to a realization I thought was worth remembering: we won’t always belong in circles that we stumble into or want to be a part of.
It’s not our fault.
But neither is it theirs.
Maybe we’re just too different.
I don’t know.
But it just isn’t going to happen.
This has assured me there really is no need to change for people. But it also means people don’t have to change for me.
Real lasting change comes after personal discovery reveals the need for it. I shouldn’t change because I want to be liked, or be like, someone. Neither should they.