The other morning was the funnest ever coffee shop morning! We joyfully welcomed home a friend who had been gone for some weeks. She had us in stitches with tales of her travels. Later, a different friend shared that as she was leaving the shop another woman stopped her and said, “I’m glad you’re leaving.”
I guess we were too happy.
Here’s another one:
Since I launched our Life After Tampons community in February, I have a “friend” who no longer returns my calls. I’ve known this woman for more than twenty years and yet, every time something good happens in my life, she goes away.
Here’s another one:
One of my newer friends is a super-busy-successful entrepreneur, mom, wife, etc. Whenever she shares with a certain group of people close to her about something amazing that is happening in her professional life, they insinuate that the way that she gets so much accomplished is by neglecting her beautiful, extraordinarily well-loved children.
It’s a poor strategy for living to try and bring yourself “up” in the world by lowering those around you. Nevertheless, lots of people live this way, and those of us who aspire to inspire have to find a way to deal with people who want to Pee in our Wheaties instead of just enjoying their own breakfast.
By the way, don’t you love that word “insinuate?” It s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-sounds like a s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-snake.
And snake-like it is. When you “insinuate” something, when you are indirect and manipulative in your conversational style, you s-s-s-s-sneak up on people you are supposed to love/support/encourage and s-s-s-s-strike out in ways that undermine their success/happiness/joy.
And it happens all the time.
Let no one tell you that your success won’t cost you.
It is going to shine a light on everything and everyone who can’t support you in the new life you want to build.
Sometime I allow the insinuators in my life to take me off my game. The threat of the loss of their “love” is too frightening, and I shrink back a bit from my dream.
But when I’m really, really honest in these circumstances, I see that it is already too late for this relationship anyway. Their bitter strike at me – whether overt or covert – leaves a trace of their hate-filled venom that, if unchecked, poisons my joy at our relationship.
And I know it has to stop. Either the strikes, the poison, or the relationship.
Change changes things.
Sometimes, even though I want to change my life, I don’t want anything else to change. It’s like firefighters managing a “controlled burn.” I want a controlled burn of change in my life. I want JUST THE THINGS I WANT TO CHANGE TO CHANGE. I don’t really want collateral damage.
I don’t want my relationships to change. It saddens me. It’s uncomfortable. It slows me down, makes me question and doubt myself.
But doubting myself – in proper proportions – is part of it, Sweet Pea.
If someone reacts negatively to the “newer” you, it is appropriate to take one very small step back and evaluate what has changed. Dig a bit beneath the surface and check out their response. Ask them about it. How much truth is there to what they say?
If you need to make amends then do so.
But if not – if it’s just another case of a person who is threatened by your new joy, then you have to take a different step back. You need to consider if the price of keeping this person happy is worth the price of giving up the change you hope to make in your life.
The people in our lives are mirrors for us. Our reactions to their reactions reflect back to us what we believe about ourselves, about friendship, about success.
This is a gift.
Angry people are a gift. Bitter people are a gift. Unhappy people are a gift.
You don’t want to spend your whole life in the “gift shop,” but you do want to open each instance just a little to see the truth behind it, because that truth will show you how you need to be with this person moving forward. If it is a relationship that you want/need to keep in your life, then YOU get to change.
Why continue to put yourself in a position to be harmed? Simply save your joyful sharing for the people who can support you. Keep the more broken people at arm’s length.
How can we develop the best possible relationship with every person we know? Sometimes the best POSSIBLE relationship is a surface one, sometimes it is a very deep soul communion, and sometimes it’s complete withdrawal.
Stay in touch with beautiful you as you expand yourself into your new life. If you’re really, really honest with yourself, you’ll see what you need to see.
Which may or may not be what you want to see.
Take a look anyway.
Loving you with no strings attached, Jennifer
Photo: Flickr, Pink Sherbet Photography