Notes on the Journey

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Gift of Loving Relationship

I'm exceptionally patient and understanding with people...until I snap.  And, once I snap, it's like a switch gets flipped, and I'm done.  I don't blow up or get confrontational, I'm just done.

Throughout my life, I've allowed those around me to get away with some very unacceptable behavior.  My tendency has been, and still is somewhat, to react to someone's potential.  I'm able to perceive who they're capable of being, even if they're not actually achieving that potential.  I'm also able to perceive the issues and limitations that keep them from that potential, which, in the past, has often meant that I've excused certain behavior because I'm able to see where it comes from.  But, no more.  I no longer feel a need to excuse anyone's behavior for any reason.  They can do whatever and be whomever they want, but I can choose to not be around them.

Age is an amazing thing.  As one gets older, one loses patience in a lot of ways with things that previously would have been accepted or overlooked.  I've stayed in relationships way longer than was necessary because I've made excuses for people and thought they would change.  But, it was me who needed to change.  Why did I want to be around unkind, mean-spirited and disrespectful behavior?  Why was I disrespecting myself by allowing such behavior to be okay?  Why was I concerned about hurting someone's feelings who'd just hurt mine?  Why was it so hard for me to speak up or walk away?

Someone I considered to be a friend said something inappropriate and unkind to me today.  It was said in an off-hand and casual manner.  When I spoke up about it, the person said they were joking, but they weren't.  And, even if they were, an unkind and inappropriate joke, at the expense of someone else's feelings, is still unkind and inappropriate.  No excuses.  Zero tolerance.  If they'd apologized and owned the unkind and inappropriate nature of what had been said, then we could have moved forward.  But, because it was side-stepped and the excuse was made of it being a joke, then we had no where to go.  It first made me angry and then, after the anger had passed, I felt sad.

It's not always easy to accept people for who they are.  It often means we have to move on when moving on wasn't what we had in mind.  But, being kind and respectful to myself is more important to me now than feeling I need to be patient with someone else, hoping they will change.  I've never been the most confident and secure person to start with.  I've worked very hard to achieve the confidence in myself that I have at this point in my life.  And, I now realize that it's too personally destructive to remain in relationship with anyone who would chip away at me due to their own issues.

It's important to treat each other with care.  We're all fragile in certain ways.  We all have triggers that can be set off by unthinking, unkind, and disrespectful remarks.  Our words have the ability to cut very deeply and, once said, are impossible to take back.  Once damage is done, it's done.  An apology helps if it's forthcoming, but we're wary after someone has hurt us.  Our walls start to go up and we step back.

Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.  But, kindness and respect often go by the wayside in familiar and comfortable relationships.  We're at our most vulnerable when we love someone and are in close friendship with them because we let down our guard around them, which opens us up to be hurt if the other person isn't careful.  We're especially vulnerable in close relationship because the other person knows our weak points, and if they choose to exploit them at our expense, it leaves us feeling hurt and betrayed.  Relationships are sacred and need to be valued and protected.  We must hold each others feelings and vulnerabilities very gently, and honor the trust it takes to reveal ourselves in the first place.

Loving relationships are supportive and nurturing.  They strengthen and increase us.  They help us see our own value, because we are valued within them.  They honor the sacred trust of personal revelation as the precious thing that it is.  May we all realize the gift of loving relationship and treasure it when we're blessed to have it.  May we all treat each other with kindness and respect.  May we lift each other up at every opportunity.  May we build bridges between each other instead of tearing them down.  And, may we take responsibility for our mistakes and transgressions, learn from them and strive to treat each other better.

3 comments:

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  2. Ah, Trudy. Such an incredible (and timely) post. First, I love your way with words which is all just complete honesty--a true rarity today. It's been a year since I spoke at all with my sister--a person who has had a lifelong track record of feeling "familiar" with me and taking advantage with utter rudeness and disrespect. And I have wondered why for so many years, despite the track record and red flags, I tried to "win her over". Who really wins? The abuser, that's who. Your message is so true and is a continual lesson to many of us who have a tendency toward co-dependency and low self-worth. I believe it is the greatest lesson of life--for when you finally truly love yourself, you won't allow the bulls#*t of bullsh#*ters!

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  3. We all want to be loved and accepted. It's not easy to walk away from anyone. But, as you say, when we're finally able to love ourselves enough, through shear self-preservation alone, walking away becomes the best option.

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