It was a gray, rainy day today. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling a little blue tonight. Not down and out depressed, just a twinge of sadness underneath my normal relatively happy self. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I could list those things now, but it wouldn’t make me any less sad.
I’m not even sure “sad” is the right word. What I’m feeling is probably better described as a kind of acceptance of the human condition — you don’t get everything you want. Knowing that doesn’t automatically take away your longing for what you do not have.
And when other people’s actions are involved, there is no guarantee that hard work or effort will give you what you desire. In fact, it’s pretty rare. Pretty much all you can do is state your wishes, make every effort to follow through, and hope for the best. Offer plenty of opportunities, olive branches, and opening. You can’t force a relationship when the other party isn’t willing to meet you halfway. But knowing that doesn’t make it hurt less when it’s someone you care about.
The thing I need to work on is to remember that not every missed phone call or email silence is something I should worry about. Life is going at a fast pace for everyone, and just because someone doesn’t call or email me, or to come visit, doesn’t mean they are upset at me, dislike me, or otherwise aren’t thinking of me as well.
But, at the same time, it’s hard to be the one always reaching out. We make the time for the things or people who are truly important to us, right?
That’s where I feel I am right now, at least in terms of a couple of important-to-me relationships. And I’ve been thinking about what is my best response.
To complicate my inner dialog, I have also been the one to put distance in several friendships over the last year or so. Mainly in response to my ongoing illness and lack of emotional availability for people who seem to need a lot of my energy. In some cases, I know that my actions have put a friend into the same situation that I’m in. In those cases, I had to be strong and make sure I didn’t allow my sympathy turn into guilt. I had to stand by my decisions and just handle the relationships with love and kindness, while still respecting my needs.
Which is what makes me wonder how I should handle it when I’m on the other side? In particular, when it comes to family-type relationships. Family relationships seem to have more expectations. I expect parents to treat their children in a particular way, and it surprises me when they don’t. I expect that people who claim that family bonds are unshakable to actually make the same effort to keep in touch with those who are on the outer limbs of the family tree as well as those on the same branch.
I dunno. This is something that I have struggled with for several years, and I suspect it will continue. At least, I will continue to work for stronger relationships. And I will work to understand that maybe not everyone feels the same way I do. And I will work to remember that not everything is about me.
Maybe that’s the most important part.