I wanted to share some great advice my husband gave me the other day but you’ll have to wait until the end of this post to read it!
A longstanding friendship of mine has slowly been unraveling. Many years ago, we engaged in a particularly harsh but deeply honest email exchange. If you can envision watching a singles tennis match with one player at the net hitting overhead smashes and the other who’s at the service line returning those shots with soft lobs, this is pretty much how we were enteracting with each other. I was the player returning lobs by the way.
Every accusation or grievance I received, I responded with an I’m really sorry you felt that way, I’ll respect your space or an I’m always here if you need me. What about my needs? My hurt feelings? What about the fact that friendships are a two-way street so why was the demise of our friendship all my fault?? I had grown up with parents who blamed me for most misunderstandings I had with them. According to my mother, I had ‘perception problems’, was ‘too sensitive’ or was ‘looking for a fight’ so that eventually I believed that I had the tendency to blow everything out of proportion so much so that I became estranged from my own feelings. There’s too much to write about on that subject so I won’t in this post!
Back to this friendship…As time went on, this friendship seemed to be naturally sorting itself out but let’s be honest, it was because I had decided that being friends was more important than being true to my own hurt feelings. I disempowered myself for the sake of salvaging what I thought was a close friendship. This is a complicated situation and I am admittedly attempting to be transparent and opaque at the same time!
I had recently crossed paths with the aforementioned friend and while seeing her, a couple of things transpired that ruffled my feathers but I didn’t say anything because I thought maybe I was misinterpreting the situation; my husband felt otherwise. I still really care about this friend and decided to jot down something to eventually read aloud to her the next time we spoke or saw each other in person but before doing so, I forwarded my ‘speech’ to my husband. You’ll have to extrapolate what I wrote or please apply it to yourself if you’re struggling with a friendship.
This was husband’s response and I wanted to share it because I thought it was so wise; “It’s a super thoughtful and honest message. You must feel the need to say something. But frankly, I see it differently. If it were me I wouldn’t say a thing; she’s somehow provoking you to react, no? You are always so kind and thoughtful- but my view is that you should be less tolerant.”
Being less tolerant doesn’t mean becoming confrontational. It means being true to your hurt feelings and not discounting them. It’s not important to air every disagreement you have with someone but it is really important to be faithful to yourself and your feelings.
Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfilment from inside out.” ~ Alan Cohen