On Relationships. (Part One)
What’s a good relationship? What’s not? Is what we want, what we need? What to expect? What to avoid? (…) So many questions we tend to turn ourselves to those we think are in « a better place » in their life to ask, when we shall never forget that everyone keeps a secret garden to their deepest insecurities. And that’s something I’ve learned with age.
We all have a friend who’s super eager to share how amazing their boyfriend is when it comes to plan date nights, pick her gifts, and initiate the sweetest pillow talks (‘cause girls love pillow talks), but when come darker times, they too often swipe the most relevant details of their struggle, mostly out of shame (we’ve all done it once) and that’s why there’s always two sides of a story (…).
Not telling everything is not a bad thing - as some pretend to lean an ear just to watch you struggling from a front row seat (it makes them feel better, less insecure about their own situation and themselves, which is a very human feeling) - it’s also important to keep some things to yourself, to face them correctly and initiate the problem-solving process. Therefore talking out your problem to someone else, know that you already have the solution within - always - whether you want to face it or not, and most importantly, keep in mind that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
« Friends are the family we build for ourselves. »
Growing up as a lonely child, I have always filled my wish for siblings with friends. That going until my late teens. And that was okay for a time, until I started appreciate my loneliness, which came with a little bit of selfishness, as from the moment you decide to take some Me time, your whole spectrum changes : it becomes all and only about you, what you like, what you want, what you need - FIRST - before considering others position, which is not a bad thing as long as it doesn’t reach an extreme.
Even though I believe in BFF’s, I think the type of friends we pick along the way evolves with the sense and turn we want to give to our life.
1/There are friends that become family, that no argument, no distance, and no time can erase the place they have in our life (and heart) whether good, bad, influencing or not, they’re somehow part of our structure (…) 2/ friends part of our daily circle, that reflects and impacts on us now as we’re the sum of those we hang around the most 3/ friends of circumstances, that happen to be on the same path, that you chose to unite with to provide a team effort, at work, at the dance class, or wherever you initially engage alone, 4/ the mutual-benefits friends offering plus-value ; anything that could potentially matter to you (…) they’re always willing to give you a hand as - you too - have something to hand. 5/ There are also the light friendships, that come and go without any trouble and always pick where you left them. Simple, and free of too much expectations, lived and enjoyed in the moment 6/ and last but not least, come those I like to call the good friends : the people who truly speak their mind, give you their honest/brutal opinion, always push you in the right direction no matter you like it or not, make you feel a little uncomfortable (in a good way) and elevate your overall mentality towards life. Those, I like them very much.
Over a year ago, after many deceptions, I decided to distance myself from people I thought where not sanely part of my happiness, my growth, neither worthy of my friendship anymore.
I think more than a lover-relationship, where you mostly discover hidden traits of the person you were involved with once it’s over, right? (Love is blind.), friendships are harder to get over, as you stay in the relationship because you actually (think you) do know the person.
A friend is someone you pick based somehow on common grounds, understandings, and reflection of something you are, or want to be. And when blows a drama that you didn’t see coming - good lord - it’s a world falling appart.
Now it might sounds harsh but when it comes to casual relationships (off-business) I drop people with no warning, no explanation - not because I fear confrontation, but there comes a time I believe we’re all grown enough to know what we do/did wrong. I agree, that’s not always the right thing to do (…) : ending up wondering WHY without even an echo is a terrible position to be in, but again, we do all have the answers to our questions within, somehow.
As opening up to someone is an act of sharing, every relationship is built on exchange, that has to be a fair trade for everyone to feel comfortable. So now I just make sure that who ever wants to or surrounds me brings something positive into my life : it can be laughter, it can be peace, motivation, or construction, whatever goes towards the + sign, and if it benefits myself, my life, my growth, I make sure (or at least do my best) to also give back what I am getting. Balance. Karma. Laws of attraction.
Friendships where you feel trapped, belittled or neglected have to go. As there’s no point in faking but losing time, friendships where you do not invest yourself, nor willing to have to go. Friendships built on blackmail, psychological manipulation (he/she knows too much about me) and other wicked games, must be terminated.
Whatever holds you there, release it yourself : we’ve all did something we’re very ashamed of to/with someone, which won’t be a good look if it comes to light. And it can be hard to face it, but know that whatever you do/did in the shadows, will come out eventually, and it is better for you to control how, than staying in a trap. So handle that, and set yourself free.
Staying in a toxic friendship is hurtful on the long term : it’s unsupportive, draining, unrewarding, stifling, unsatisfying, and often unequal. Blurred with love and affection, it is sometimes hard to face the fact that we actually are in this position. But once you do, take responsibility. Can you picture this person in your entourage who’s always complaining about the same person but never does anything to distance themselves from them? They agree to be in this position because they simply don’t know how to say no ; when someone hurts you once and you didn’t see it coming, blame it on them. When someone hurts you twice, the only person you can blame is yourself.
There’s nothing more powerful than this word. If you’ve always felt a compulsion to meet everyone’s else’s needs before your own, you need to stop. There’s nothing in being a people’s pleaser but losing yourself. Think of all the time you’ve dedicated to do something for others just to please them : well, that time, you’ll never get it back. Now Imagine what you could have done with it if you’d have taken it for yourself?
Saying No doesn’t mean you’re a jerk. It just means you can’t or you don’t want to. And that’s just knowing who you are.
“Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.”
― Stephanie Lahart
Photo : Malick Sidibé