I’m good at a lot of things and have achieved many accomplishments in my life. I’m proud of each one. Just this weekend I reached a huge milestone in my weight loss and fitness regime, exceeding my 50lb goal. I’ve lost four dress sizes in just six short months. I’m more energetic, mobile, and happier with myself and my body. Much of my successes, like this recent weight loss, often become a reality through hard struggles and a lot of perseverance. The confidence I have to tackle major obstacles in this and other areas is astounding. Yet before you go and think I have everything together, there is one area of my life I’m very weak …building, maintaining and keeping relationships.
There are a lot of hurting people in this world. I know I’m not the only one who has gone through something hard or tragic, or face difficulty with issues of trust. Because we all have individual experiences, personal traumas, and unique circumstances, there is often a lot of miscommunication. While I’m a great debater, operate in an excellent and professional manner in business dealings, I misunderstand and struggle when it comes to clear communication in relationships. I know why - I operate out of fear instead of confidence. But knowing something and having the strength to change it in my life are two different things.
I’ve recently been told I’m pessimistic and hold my friends to impossible standards. I’ve had very close friends tell me they fear making mistakes and therefore losing my support and friendship. I’ve had other friends tell me I’m judgmental and tolerate nothing less than perfection.
This hurt to hear. For days I’ve thought of almost nothing else. I literally curled in a ball all day yesterday thinking back over my recent relationships and hate some of the choices and actions I’ve taken. I don’t agree with this assessment, but knowing how I fail at communication in the area of relationships, I can see how my friends have come to these conclusions. It really breaks my heart to hear these things, because in MY mind and heart, I have only hope, love and positive inspiration toward them all. I love them greatly. I admire them so much. I draw strength from them. They inspire me, push me, make me feel loved and appreciated. I thought I did the same for them.
In my mind, I push for excellence, not to hold them to impossible standards, but to see them step into the possible and reach their dreams. I don’t judge their choices when I disagree with them, but only desire to warn them against things I fear will hurt them, that have hurt me. I don’t expect them to be perfect and never make mistakes; we all fall. But, I do expect them to never give up. I tend to focus on areas that pose the most potential damage and danger, so I can see now how that would make me seem pessimistic. But, I have such great hope and optimistic expectations.
But, there is one area I suppose makes me a hypocrite - when someone hurts me, I run away from that relationship. That’s my way of protecting me. I couldn’t walk away from the pain when I was a child, so I learned to run as an adult. I don’t run from these relationships because THEY have let me down, but most often because I feel I have let them down, failed them, and failed to protect me. I suppose from the outside, it looks like I don’t care and can easily turn away from those I claimed to care about most, when it’s the opposite. I run because it hurts too much and care about them deeply.
But how do I effectively communicate that truth? My actions can tell a different story, appear to have a different motive and continue to cause fear and confusion. I want my friends to trust me as much as I want to trust them. Just as I’m working on my health, to adjust bad eating habits, introduce healthy dietary and physical habits into my life, I’m also working on bad emotional habits. I just hope I don’t lose all my friends before I learn how to effectively communicate how much I love them.
I agree with all of Audrey’s assessments above. I too believe in pink, laughing is the best calorie burner, in kissing, in being strong, happiness is beautiful, tomorrow is another day full of hope and I too believe in miracles… the miracle of good friends. I’m sorry to all my friends who I’ve ever made to feel they’ve let me down or couldn’t live up to my standards, and especially to those from whom I’ve walked away.
Till next time,