Image by Nicholas Canup. Creative Commons
This is not what I was going to write about today, but life can change things. Just a few minutes ago I was on the phone talking to a loved one (not an immediate family member) trying to arrange a way to help them with some things they are facing. Admittedly, the person is under a lot of stress and perhaps that is why the conversion took a decided turn south. From there on I was on the receiving end of foolish accusations which basically came down to me not doing enough.
The reality is that I am doing everything that can be reasonably expected and then some. The accusations of never doing enough and always being the “black sheep” (when in fact, I am the only responsible sheep) piled on top of a lifetime of similar complaints was simply wrong and I refuse to bear it. Still, it was very upsetting. When I got off the phone, I was physically shaking.
Rather than details or raw emotion, I would like to focus on some lessons to be learned that may be helpful to someone other than just me.
- Don’t believe the shit people say about you or to you, unless it is true. And their saying it does not make it true. You will have be very objective in your self-talk as you process this stuff. Here’s where talking to a rational friend is a good idea. There are people who think the world revolves around them and you are here to serve them. Don’t try to assume responsibility for someone else’s bad behavior!
- You don’t have to stand there and take it. I hung up. I didn’t want to. It broke my heart. But if you can’t turn something toward a positive or constructive direction, it’s time to hang up or walk away. You are not a punching bag.
- Don’t stop loving the person. With the person in question, my love is steadfast and I will do anything to help them. That remains constant. Your response will need to be measured based on your circumstances. In lesser relationships in which the person keeps attacking you, you would be wise to simply steer clear of him. Just don’t indulge a stupid knee-jerk reaction and hold grudge that you will live to regret. We need to forgive without being gullible.
- Nurture your soul. I have three cardinal principles for life. Love people. Stay focused (on your primary life purpose). Nurture your soul. They are simple, but incredibly hard to consistently pull off. It is so easy for our sense of equilibrium to get out of kilter. The frustrations of life, the hurtful things people say, and our tendency to focus on all of that, can throw our attitude in the crapper in an instant and create a harmful pattern that we keep returning to.
If we can’t maintain our own inner peace, we really won’t be good for anything or anyone. Trying to figure out how to do that may take a while, but it is worth it. So we need to learn how to restore our soul. Then, we need to continue on. Yes, our heart may still be broken or wounded, but we need to go on.
- Stay focused.
- Love people.
- Nurture your soul.
Thank you. Sometimes it is hard to except these truths when you are bombarded by needy loved ones constantly. We have the right and need to recognize our individual needs without feeling guilty for constantly acting as a lifeguard for others.
Anita – Well said! Trying t be a “lifeguard” or fixer never seems to end well. Better to be a friend. When we don’t meet certain people’s expectations, they often do try to make us feel guilty like they own us and our purpose is to fulfill their needs and desires.Sometimes they give us grief we we do things to try to live an emotionally healthy life.That’s not love; it’s slavery.