Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Full Speed Ahead

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you, my friends, for reading, commenting and sharing your reactions to what I write. I'm really vulnerable and transparent in this little space, and you always make me feel less alone in my struggles. That's such a good feeling. Your kindness is an amazing blessing; thank you.

Since last week, I've been paying closer attention to my interactions with people and the vibe I give off. Men and women. Brad told me recently, "Sometimes you change the rules, and you don't always let people know." That is a very true statement. God bless my man who can lovingly point things out in me that I am unable to see. It took him about 23 years to master this without making me feel defensive (or for me to realize that he was actually being loving and not critical or condescending.)

Anyway, back to changing the rules. I do. All the time. Quick example: I decide that I no longer want to go to the gym because there's a creepy guy there who stalks me--I'm kidding, a little--but I don't tell my gym friend. I just start saying no. All the time. She thinks I'm mad at her, which is completely untrue, but I didn't communicate the rule change.

Another example: I nearly always decline "going out" invitations. But when a bunch of my friends go out and post awesome pictures on Facebook, I would sometimes feel hurt. In the past, I said no, so if I decide now that I'd like to be included, I need to advise my friends of the rule change, instead of whining about being left out.

Evidently feeling left out is a huge trigger for me because on a few occasions, my extended family have done things and not invited me, and I have felt extremely hurt. Granted, I'm a hermit who declines about 97% of invitations, so very few people would ever consider that my feelings would be hurt by not being invited somewhere. Additionally, I am positive that none of my family would intentionally exclude me to be hurtful. Still...trigger.

Once a friend told me when she hears people talking about doing something fun if she wants to do it, she simply invites herself. She's absolutely delightful, so of course everyone would want her to come along, but that was kind of a revelation for me. Oh, hey, just say you want to go. Huh.

Sometimes I get so upset over slights that have mostly occurred in my head that I cut people completely off from my heart so that they are incapable of hurting me again. They generally have no idea why or what they've done. I'm working on the whole "setting healthy boundaries" thing. It's going swimmingly.

Despite the aforementioned neuroses, I am really, really close to a few people. These people know all my secrets. I'm actually very proud of that because up until a year or so ago, I desperately kept those secrets to myself, fearing that the baggage I carried around would alienate even the most loyal person.

But outside of my inner circle, and some wonderful friends whom I adore but try not to drag into my cyclone of crazy, I am better at one-sided relationships. I used to joke that I had enough friends and wasn't auditioning new ones, but it wasn't really a joke. I like to listen to people's stories without having to share anything about myself. This usually works fine since lots of people would rather talk than listen. But I've also pushed people away because after sharing personal things with them, I felt they couldn't be trusted with the information. I often advise girlfriends: People who gossip to you will gossip about you. But, it's always difficult to listen to your own advice.

And as I continue to learn: I can't change anyone else's behavior, but I can control my behavior as well as my reactions and perceptions. I have had to rethink (or overthink) how I present myself to people. It's natural to feel close to someone whom you feel gets you, and I get lots of people. I think God gave me that gift in order to show people kindness and compassion. However, there are people who will misuse and take advantage of gifts.

I really need to exercise discernment more consistently. For me, discernment usually comes in two ways. One: A sick feeling in my stomach that says, "This person is not genuine and does not want you to achieve your highest good." Two: My husband saying, "Babe, you might wanna put the brakes on a little bit with this one."

So it continues, revisiting the Boundaries book that has been collecting dust on my shelf, learning how to be kind and compassionate without becoming enmeshed, and finally back to The Four Agreements, which today sound like this in my head:
  • Be impeccable with your word--don't say mean things about people. Ever.
  • Don't take anything personally--no one thought you would even want to be invited.
  • Don't make assumptions--you have to tell people when you change the rules. No one else lives in your head, lucky for them.
  • Always do your best--don't beat yourself up; just keep trying harder.

2 comments:

  1. I want better bullet points. Can we have stars or little unicorns or little piles of rainbow poo (I am referring to fecal matter, not you - took me YEARS to not want to start a fight when someone used that term, "what the FUCK did you say about my sister?"). Anyway, that.

    Would you like to go with us anywhere that we are going while home?

    I change rules too. New rule: I ger ALL the drugs. All of 'em. Get busy on that.

    Love you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you :) Of course I want to go anywhere with you while you are home!

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