Previously I have posted about perspective and how we can change it. I have often commented in casual conversation with friends that the human mind is amazing in its ability to see and hear what it wants to see and hear….. however if this is the case why should we need to change our perspective at all?
I am not sure if it is because people like myself (pessimists! Lol) are naturally always drawn to the negative conclusion while I imagine optimists are drawn to the positive conclusion, or if we are all realists at heart and talk ourselves into or out of whatever it is we don’t want to accept.
I have also posted about reflections and how all of us want to see a positive reflection of ourselves in our friends. This makes sense; we all have an ego and an image to maintain. I have to question though, how this fits in with accountability. If the only reflections we ever see are the positive aspects of ourselves how will we ever change, grow, learn and expand into better people?
The overwhelming thoughts that compelled me to start this blog were simple. I noticed a few patterns in my own history which led me to believe that I was the common denominator in the failed friendships equation and therefore I needed to change. When I explored this thought further I realized I have a few unhealthy patterns in friendship. Not spending enough time really getting to know a person before I thought of them as a friend. Getting lost in an intense bonding phase too quickly and wearing rose coloured glasses, which prevent me from seeing red flags. (Meaning I see what I want to see.) Lastly having impossibly high expectations of my friends; then feeling let down when they fail to meet these expectations, and internalizing reasons which have nothing at all to do with me.
And so I have practised being less needy of friends’ time and attention and spending time on my own. I have exercised the ability to challenge my perspective when I am internalizing some perceived slight against me by a friend, which actually hasn’t got anything to do with me. I have sat and looked at the uncomfortable ugly parts of me when my friends hold me accountable for my misgivings, and pondered how to be better, both for them and for myself. I have tried to always see my friends’ positive intention towards me because I know deep down people are good. Most of us don’t walk around wondering how we can hurt each other.
I have tried to understand rather than forgive. I have tried to overlook poor behavior and cast it off as human nature. I have tried to see the good in my friends; even at times blindly. And I have tried to write this blog to help other women do the same!
While I do stand by that and everything I have written here, I have to say that sometimes it takes 2! As much as I can learn and grow and be flexible and understanding, we all still have to have boundaries and know what we will and wont tolerate. It is a part of self respect, and sometimes happiness lies in knowing when enough is enough and things have gone too far.
Constantly changing my perspective to continue to allow people to treat me badly and cross those boundaries which make me uncomfortable is unhealthy. I walk away from people and situations that are no longer positive. I cannot and will not continually validate other people’s feelings at the expense of my own, or consistently show them a positive reflection of themselves if it is not what I see. I can’t take accountability if it means accepting full responsibility for problems that were co-created.
Here is one of my boundaries. If I come to a friend with my feelings I deserve to be heard and validated and treated with love and respect. Nobody deserves to be told their feelings are silly or be made to feel small. That is not a part of friendship. I don’t appreciate having my romantic intent questioned because I dared to have expectations and needs, or share that I felt let down by a friend’s actions. So many of my friends have said to me “This is not a relationship.” This is a way to tell me that I don’t get to have needs or expectations, and especially not feelings in relation to friendships?! Alas, I do have them and I am not sorry. I knew it wasn’t a romantic relationship, and yet I catered to their needs anyway. Whether you like it or not, friendships are relationships! They can and do break up. If we end them silently or with a goodbye, we do end them. There is sadness when they end. I am proud to say I feel sad when they end. I am so tired of being told it is silly. It isn’t.
The people in my past didn't make it to my future for a reason. I played my part and I have explored that, but often the reason we failed is because they couldn’t do the same. Mostly, it isn’t about me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve consideration and respect or for my feelings to be invalidated. Neither do you. Nobody does.
Yet, I AM changing my perspective! I have standards, and values that I won’t compromise on. If they are different from yours that doesn’t make me right, but it does make us incompatible. I don’t have an unhealthy pattern of leaving healthy friendships behind. I have a healthy pattern of standing for what I believe in even if it means standing alone. And I encourage all of you to do the same.
Your Best Friend ForNever