Monday, 21 December 2009
Friendships Are Better Than Normal Ships
...is the caption on the front of a card I received today from friends and neighbours, Peter and Alison. The card, together with the words they'd written inside warmed my heart and made me smile.
Sometimes it's the smallest of things that create the biggest differences - as I'm learning so well this year.
I've had an interesting couple of challenges (tests?) recently, which have helped me measure how I've grown. Both from people who one would 'expect' to be supportive and understanding. "But why didn't you tell me how bad things were?" come their pleas, when I express my frustration at their clear lack of understanding. In the olden days (just a few short weeks ago) I would simply have kept quite. I would automatically have looked to understand what was going on for them, and put my own feelings to one side.
But no more. As I said in an email to Matt (who, together with his lovely family, continue to support me and stick by me through thick and thin) it's no more Miss Nice-Girl. No more will I seek to understand other people's issues at the expense of my own feelings. Yes, it's true, I still hold 100% with my belief that I will seek to understand before being understood. But the shift now is that I'll seek to understand and support MYSELF first and foremost, so that I can then be truly authentic in my comprehension of others.
There's no bravery or brownie badges to be won in allowing others to walk all over me, or treat me in a way that is worse than I would treat others. But as I now realise, the hard fact is that it's been me (and no one else) who has been responsible for letting this happen on so many occasions throughout my life. And it's me, therefore, who has the power to change it right here, right now. I had always held on to the belief that I must be 'good' and, therefore, allow others their foibles. And on many levels that still sticks. With the proviso, now, that I know I'm already 'good enough' and that if someone is treating me with any less respect than I expect, then I will find a way to let them know. For THAT is how we are good - for if we don't respect ourselves, how on earth can we expect others to do the same?
Big lesson. Small shift. Major changes as a result.
So, last night, when I confronted one of these people, I was amazed and delighted that the person immediately telephoned to 'apologize unreservedly' for their unacceptable behaviour. And, at last, they wanted to know - to really understand - what was happening for me and for Dylan. Some might say well it's a little too late - but I disagree. It doesn't matter when it happens - just so long as it happens.
And with all the dear and caring friends around me, people who send me cards and messages, those who drop off bags of fruit and vegetables on my kitchen table, people who just 'pop in' unannounced to come and have a coffee with me - these are the friendships that continue to strengthen my resolve and renews my faith in a force that is bigger than me.
Yes, friendships are better than normal ships - and these friendships indeed serve to lift me up and carry me through troubled waters. And I feel blessed and guided, and am finding the courage to continue making the deep inner shifts that will indeed lead me over the horizon to the promised land that has always been there waiting for me.
Now I'm ready to claim it - for I AM good enough. I always have been.