Bruce Appleford shared this with me on my Facebook Timeline this morning and I liked it so much I had to share it here. It matters what we focus on. It matters what we surround ourselves with.
It took a life-shaking experience for me to really look at the wall of my life and realize how many of the bricks in it were there for the wrong reasons. Our lives should be about the things we love, the things we are, the things we choose. Instead, the wall of our lives is made up of bricks given to us by others – their beliefs, their rules, their hate. We absorb what our parents tell us. As children, we lack the ability to logically question or to look at things and decide if they are right for us. We absorb the feelings, emotions and beliefs of the people we hang around with, even when we are not aware we are doing it. All groups require some agreed to “beliefs” to operate and then, within the group dynamic, the other “beliefs” from the dominant members begin to arise and be practiced. Quietly but firmly, they soon govern the lives of all the members. Even among friends, if someone dislikes another person, it is often expected that the friend do likewise.
There is so much that sucks life out of us, requiring us to surrender bits and pieces of who we really are, and therefore . . . our happiness. It is hard to equate finding happiness with being willing to spend time alone and with fewer friends. But for many of us, that long list of names on our social media pages, are just names of people we used to know, or more likely, those who were busy collecting names one day and they added ours. We, like sheep, clicked yes without any real thought.
I have a few “friends.” I have accepted that good friends come and go with the circumstances of our lives, meaning we really connected, had something great, and when someone moved or got a new job, we no longer were able to have the same kind of contact. There is no tragedy in that. It does not mean we are no longer friends, or that what we had meant nothing, it is simply life and the feelings are still there but there is no active, current, meaningful exchange. I refuse to buy into the drama of gaining and “losing” friends. I don’t have a lot of friends because I know I do not have the time to put into a lot of friends. I have some lovely acquaintances that I see once in a while at certain events and we thoroughly enjoy our time together. We don’t play at being friends. We could be, but we are not. So, when a need arises, and I need help, I don’t have a huge list to go through, I have my friends that I know will be there.
I used to have long lists of people who I counted on as friends. I was there for them in many ways and knew they would be there for me when and if the time came. It came and they weren’t. The fault was not theirs in letting me down. The fault was mine in assigning them roles they were never prepared to play. I needed something in my life, and I cast them in the roles. I wasted a lot of time and caused myself way more pain than was necessary by carrying on the charade. I felt safe with that huge net around me, except it was just an illusion and it kept me from finding my own strengths and maybe from even identifying the one or two people who would have actually been there for me.
Now I often recognize the need to step back from the chatter of the crowd when my life starts to become dark and negative. Again, the blame is not on them . . . or even on me in this instance. I just know, that if I don’t remove myself, I start to think and act in the same dark way. I know my limits. I protect me because, I learned, before I can be a friend to anyone else, I have to be a friend to myself.