Letting go is so hard. It’s instinct for so many of us (not all) to hold on to things, even if they are broken or harmful to us. We know, we just KNOW, we can fix it! We can make it better!
This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in the past year, that some things can’t be fixed. Some things just have to be let go. I don’t just mean my marriage, although it started with that. I also mean friendships that have changed, and not for the better. You find out a lot about people when you’re in an emotional crisis; those you can count on and those that bow out. Meeting new people who at first seem so exciting and new but, deep down, aren’t the type of people who are going to enhance your life. They end up muddying the waters, waters you’re still trying to clear up.
These are the people to let go of. Stop wasting time and effort on those who don’t or won’t support you, in the way you need. It’s all fine and dandy if they THINK they’re supporting you, but if it’s not really support to YOU and/or helping you, what’s the point? Stop bothering with people who don’t want to make an effort to be a part of your life or let you be a part of theirs. There are people out there who WANT to be in it, who WANT to support you and who are WILLING to try to understand you and what you’re going through in your life. Those are the people you need to be around. They are the ones who will be standing next to you when things get rough, ready to hold out their hand and say “I’m here”. The ones that say “nope, sorry, don’t want to get involved” are the ones that will leave you drowning, only paying attention to what they feel and what they want…not to what you need. When you’re in the shallows, they may be willing to wade out to you, but not when it’s deeper (I love my metaphors).
Now of course, the old adage holds true: to be the type of friend you want to have (paraphrasing here). You need to be willing to reach out when someone needs help. I fully admit to being rather self-absorbed the past months and really internally focused on my inner pain and troubles. I’ve missed out on dinners and plans with people due to depression and illness (which is part of all of it). I’m truly lucky in that the true friends I have understood and gave me my space, but were there when I’ve needed them. I cannot begin to thank the people who have been there for me through these months and even now. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude.
But I’ve also still had friends call, when they needed someone to talk to, knowing I’d listen to them, be there for them. It went both ways, with them being friends I could count on as well. That’s what true friendship is, what you should want/require in a friendship.
A lot of people nowadays say “You shouldn’t have expectations of people in relationships.” And they’re entitled to their opinion. I call bullshit on that. It’s only by having expectations put on them that people rise to meet their potential. That includes within the bounds of friendship. You don’t get a trophy by just showing up (ok, well, nowadays you do but not when I was a kid and it shouldn’t be that way…but that’s another blog); you get the award by meeting or exceeding expectations. Why should a friendship be any different? The award is a meaningful relationship with someone that continues to grow even deeper and stronger! So it may be those people who don’t want any expectations on them should be the ones to go first…to make room for the ones who have no problem being what a friend is supposed to be…there.