Yes, I Have Changed …

change

Queen Street West, Toronto

I simply could not continue to survive in this world the way I was.

I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did.

Yes, folks, there is such a thing as being too kind, too giving, too compassionate, too forgiving and too loving.

It becomes too much when it is done without regard for oneself; when serving others is prioritized to the point that the giver’s own needs are sacrificed.

What follows is a state of being which is decidedly not spiritual. What follows is the definition of martyrdom. In my case, martyring myself to useless, superfluous and thankless causes.

Take it from one who knows, this mindset attracts the wrong people.  Interestingly enough, this mindset can also extend to attracting the wrong reactions from the right people.

Not a happy place to be in.

In my own personal situation, it was very easy for others to push the right buttons to manipulate me into agreeing with and doing things when my heart and spirit were screaming “NO”!

Simply:

allude to a lack of compassion or hypocrisy;

mention selfishness and sprinkle on a little guilt;

add a dose of “What will other people think?”

And certain characters had me exactly where they wanted me – doing backflips and jumping through ridiculous hoops for their viewing pleasure.

As I look back, I see it was almost comical.

Until it wasn’t.

Until I was so exhausted, and so resentful and so burned out that I did not even resemble the original kind and compassionate person I started out as. All that was left was a threadbare, used up doormat.

So I changed.

I realized kindness and compassion are only authentic when they are first applied to oneself. And this is where boundaries began. Take it from me, there are some things we cannot do for others, because the resulting impact on ourselves is far too great for us to bear. Which brings me to the next point –

Sometimes we will disappoint people, and this is perfectly fine. They will survive it, and so will we.

In the same manner, sometimes we will be misunderstood. Also fine. Things generally become clearer as time passes.

Now we come to the hardest part –

Sometimes when we stand up for ourselves and exercise our right to say “no”, we will not be liked. Not always. But sometimes. I have come to accept this. I have no control over what other people think of me. Their opinion of me is their business – not mine. In the end, a “friendship” that is based on us not being our authentic self by saying “yes” when we mean “no”, is no friendship at all. Rather, it is an “entanglement”, in which both parties are better off without. (Trust me on this one. I spent over 30 years on such an “entanglement” and barely made it out with my heart and spirit still intact).

Over time, I have come to acknowledge that not all people carry positive motives in their hearts; that “acquaintance” is not another word for “friend”; that people can say one thing and in the end do something else entirely; and that, even those who are close, will sometimes make choices that are not in our best interest. I am okay with all of this. I have learned to look after myself and my own needs. This is my job to do. Nobody else’s. I truly am a “grown up”. Finally.

I still believe in love, compassion, kindness, goodness and having a generous heart.

But now, this is tempered with reality.

I  still am a “nice girl”.

But, make no mistake, I am no push-over.

My eyes are wide open.

To a Friendship Lost

I have to admit,

Sometimes I miss you,

I miss the friendship we had,

I miss the comfort of having someone who cared,

Who I believed prayed for me,

Who I thought would be there for me,

Even in my hard times,

Even in my difficult,

Emotional,

Irrational times.

I thought you would hold on to who I was

And that by you holding on to who I was,

I would be reminded of myself,

And I would not have to change.

But circumstances propelled me forward,

And you were not there reminding me,

So I was left to forge my own path,

To create my own way.

past

At times I looked back,

But each time I did,

I was further and further away,

And eventually the time came,

when I looked back,

I could no longer see you.

And when I could not see you,

I could no longer see who I was,

Who I used to be.

tear

It was then I realized,

I had become a new me,

I became the me I am now.

I like who I am now,

(I actually love who I am now),

But sometimes I miss you,

And I miss the me who I was.

Sometimes I wish you were here to remind me.

But I can no longer reach you,

Not as the me that I am now.

past

So I bless you from afar,

And I bless the me that I was,

I could do no less.

For the me that I was,

Is the Mother of the person I have become,

And you were so important to her.

goddess

Where do you stand?

great

Most people are willing to stand beside someone when that person is up, enjoying success, and happy. They want to share in the joy! It’s easy to be with people who are doing well.

But what happens when things are not going so well? What happens when stuff goes wrong, unexpected circumstances present themselves and life’s challenges become overwhelming?

Who stands with you then?

And who do you stand with?

This is the time that the authenticity of a friendship is revealed.

This is the time that you and I show our true character.

Being willing to stand not only with the great, but also with the broken – this is the type of friend I want to be; this is the type of friend I need.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” – Romans 12:15