In and Out
I was reading a story about resolutions today where the author was naming resolutions that they would never make again. The author wrote something about never again resolving to make more friends or spend more time with the ones that they had. They went on to explain that they were happier in their life because they had chosen to get more people out of their life rather than bring more in. This seems so odd to me. I keep seeing stuff like this lately too. Memes about letting people go, getting people out of our lives, purging all of the bad friends. I don’t get it.
I don’t think that we really have much control of whether or not anyone is in our lives. The universe is in charge of that. It’s not like we can control who our relatives are. I don’t have anyone in my life that I think I would benefit from pushing away. I don’t have destructive relationship with anyone that I know. I think that people who would be bad for me to have in my life would be so annoyed by my personality that I would never really have them in my life anyways. I think that maybe when we find ourselves having multiple negative relationships in our lives, quite possibly the problem is us not them.
Isn’t it reasonable for us to believe that it is our behavior causing these unhappy relationships? For instance, I keep hearing that it is important to stop being a people pleaser and giving away so much to our friends when we get nothing in return. Well, I have a couple of problems with that idea. For one, basically giving to others is supposed to make us feel good, and for the other, we really aren’t supposed to expect anything in return form our friends. I understand that these situations can arise, and I have observed many one sided relationships, but I think that rather than choosing to dismiss people from the royal greatness of our own super-special existence, maybe we should look at how we are behaving, and what we can do to change the relationships.
Are we people pleasers because we are desperately seeking the approval of others, rather than being filled up by our own self-love? Is this need for acceptance encouraging us to be dishonest for the purpose of coddling our adult friends? I have always had trouble lying for instance. Therefore, I have never been the go-to “Do these pants make me look fat?” friend. I don’t lie to people to make them feel better about themselves, so I am not kept around merely for the purpose of buttering my friends up with false confidence when they call on me. I am also honest with them about my availability or my state of mind when they seek out my help or comfort. When I am busy or tired, I say so.
I have had a lot of people in my life for a very long time that I have observed becoming better and better people. Some of them, yes, I will admit, have been in bad places at times in the past and during those times we have not been as close or spent as much time together. I didn’t just throw them out and tell them to stay away from me forever. People do grow up, we all do, and today I can confidently say that in several cases it would have been a real damn shame if I had dismissed friends from my life. People do grow and they do change, and I have had some friends become really close to me over the past few years, who years ago, were too busy with their own issues to be able to be the greatest of friends. They can now though, and I don’t believe that it is right to abandon anyone.
It is my behavior that matters. It is what I choose to give of myself willingly, and what I do not expect to receive in return. It is also about setting a good example for our own friends. That is the reason that I say any friend not worth having would be so put off by my positive attitude that they wouldn’t bother with me in the first place. I was explaining to a dear friend of mine the other day how weird I was over the phone, and she was trying to defend me and tell me that I am not weird at all. She loves me and she thinks that I should be insulted by the term because she would be, but I’m not insulted, I’m just weird. I really truly appreciate her standing up for me though.
Maybe that has something to do with it too. Just like remembering to be grateful, maybe we get so busy and so flustered sometimes that we forget to appreciate just how very precious our friends are to us, and how much they enrich our lives. So I would offer, as an idea for a different sort of resolution, to resolve to appreciate the people in my life more. To resolve to appreciate them for whom they are as beautiful individuals. I don’t need to change anything about the relationships in my life. The key is to be true to myself, and to love my friends for who they are.