Monthly Archives: November 2015

Everything changes

They say that the best friendships are the ones where you don’t find yourself fretting about the other person – whether you’ve seen them that week or what they think of your recent decision to change career. You know you love them, and they in turn love you, so what’s to worry about?

Well, the thing is that things change. People change. Life moves on and sometimes the friendships we formed when we were younger and which seemed so unbreakable get tested as we grow into adults and begin to go our separate ways. It’s only natural that this should happen, and it certainly isn’t a bad thing. And yet, we so often find ourselves trying to resist this change. To turn back the clocks and make everything OK by continuing to meet for a glass of wine every Friday night, even though it isn’t all that convenient anymore and our priorities have moved on. It isn’t that we don’t care. It isn’t that we don’t love the other person, or that we wouldn’t be there for them if they needed a shoulder to cry on. It’s just that we’ve changed and repeating the same old patterns of behaviour is starting to stifle us. In short, we’re ready to move on.

So, the key question is this: how do you move on from a friendship without feeling like a really bad person? I mean, what if the feeling isn’t reciprocated and the friend is heartbroken? What if they say things about you to your mutual friends out of anger? Even if you choose not to tell them directly, and opt for a more subtle approach of occasionally making other plans and phasing out your Friday night drinks dates, the friend may still react badly.

The truth is that friendships can be as complicated as romantic relationships. We can find ourselves feeling just as hurt, let down and confused.

I have witnessed friendships fall apart because one side has moved on and the other person can’t find a way to accept or forgive. I have also witnessed the effects of clinging on to friendships for the sake of politeness and not rocking the cradle, even though it’s obvious that things need to change.

Are you with me? I hope you’re following and that some of this chimes with your own life experiences. If not, I promise to make more sense next time!

Whatever your reason is for wishing to move on, you have every right to do so. This is your life, and you have every right to live it exactly how you want to. Would your friends advise you to stay in an unhealthy romantic relationship? No, they wouldn’t. So why should it be any different when it comes to friendships? There is just something so inherently unacceptable about ‘splitting up’ with a friend that we end up feeling like pond scum for having even considered it. We may even try to find a way out by waiting for them to do something really bad so that we can say: “Oh well, it was their fault for behaving badly. I had no choice in the matter”.

Splitting up with or phasing out a friend may cause you to feel that someone has indeed got a problem with you. And to be honest they probably have! This is something we have to face up to and live with if we wish to live as adults and free spirits, and if we wish to grow emotionally and spiritually, rather than surrounding ourselves with what feels ‘safe’ and ‘normal’.

You are OK. I am OK. The friend you don’t enjoy the company of anymore is OK. But we can’t always please others with our life choices and decisions. Let’s dare to be true to ourselves, and worry less what others think. Whenever I have been brave enough to do this in my own life, inner joy and happiness always seem to follow.

Bye for now x

Advertisements

Get some ‘you’ time

Our lives are so busy that we sometimes barely get a chance to just breathe, relax, and re-center. In fact, we can be so busy that we forget that we even need to do this in the first place! This is why feeling ‘bad’ is sometimes not such a bad thing. It might not feel great at the time, but contrast is an essential part of life, and it acts as a useful reminder to ask ourselves how we’re feeling, and what we might be able to do to feel that bit happier.

One problem (as far as I can tell) is that we live in a society which values self-sacrifice and un-selfish behaviour. To put your own needs first makes you a self-centered individual who needs to learn to think of others before themselves. But I personally hate the current definition and usage of the word ‘selfish’. I think it needs to be completely re-thought and reintroduced into the English language with a more positive meaning! Because to be selfish is to look after oneself, and to look after oneself is perhaps the most important task you will ever have in your entire life. You, I, we, are all as valid as the next person, and if we all went around looking after everyone but ourselves, no one would ever really be properly looked after. Am I making sense here? Do you know what I’m getting at?

You see, if you devote some time to yourself, you can still give to others, but from a more healthy place – one where you’re not totally worn out and emotionally exhausted. When we feel happy and content in ourselves. we tend to open up to the idea of helping others much more, simply because we feel more able to.

I can’t claim that these ideas are 100% my own, although I have experienced this first hand. But if you’d like to learn more about why it’s OK for you to relax and get some much-needed ‘you’ time, I can heartily recommend the book Life is a Gift by Gill Edwards. It was a life-changing read for me, and was recommended to me by a family member who had also found it utterly transformative.

Anyway, why am I writing about this? Well I was feeling all worked up the other evening. My brain was a whirlwind of shoulds and oughts and concerns about the needs of others and whether or not I was meeting them. I couldn’t get a handle on anything or think straight, so I took some time out. I went upstairs, put on the radio, and just chilled out for a bit. After a while, I found my centre and my brain started to calm down. Half the things I’d been worrying about disappeared altogether and the other half didn’t seem nearly as bad.

So there you have it. Go take a break. Re-kindle your love for yourself. Go and be at one with your radio or favourite book. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Bye for now x

Have a plan

So you have a ‘social situation’ coming up. A certain someone is going to be there and you just know they’re going to ask you about the one thing you really don’t want them to ask you about, because you’ll go from empowered to blithering idiot in the space of a few seconds and end up giving an overly complicated response and perspiring rather more than usual. Why can’t they just keep their nose out of it and leave me alone? (you find yourself pondering before you’ve even got to the party and had the pleasure of bumping into them).

We all have situations like this. Certain people, certain situations, certain topics – they just get to us! They hit a nerve and our usual coping mechanisms go out of the window. But we don’t have to approach these situations with our tails between our legs, already admitting defeat before we’ve even arrived at the venue!

What I’m going to suggest here is something which I have done myself on several occasions (when i can remember to do it), and it ALWAYS makes me feel better. It doesn’t guarantee no sweating or gibbering, but it will help to make you feel more in control of the situation and minimise the extent to which you feel you have to explain yourself to anyone. Because you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone – you know that don’t you? I mean, your life is yours, and theirs is theirs, and they probably don’t know anywhere near enough about you or the circumstances to make any kind of informed judgement anyway…

Anyhoo, what will this plan consist of? Well, it consists of getting your head around the situation before it presents itself. Find your centre. Remind yourself what you’re about, and how OK it is for you to be who you are, flaws and all. Remind yourself that more often than not, people ask questions about you with good intentions, and because they genuinely care about what happens to you. Or maybe they’re just asking a question because social convention dictates that they do (like when you go to the hairdressers and they ask you what you’ve been up to since your last appointment, or when you see a friend you haven’t met in years and they ask what you do for a living these days). Even if the person in question is a bit frosty and likes to watch people quake in their boots, remind yourself that this is their problem, not yours. Maybe they are in a loveless marriage and they are expressing their anger and resentment to the wrong people! Or maybe they’ve had a really, really shitty week. Feel a surge of compassion as you remember that they’re just human too – perfectly flawed in every way! They’re not evil, they just might be someone you’re better off not putting your energies into.

Once you’ve figured all of this stuff out, you can breathe a bit easier. You feel more centred and less defensive about yourself and how you choose to live your life.

Give it a try, It has worked for me, and given that we belong to the same species it’s likely that it will work for you too!

Bye for now x