I don’t think we ever stop learning in life. Whatever each day might bring to us be it bad or good, if we can learn something from it, it was worthwhile.
If you are someone like me, it’s easier to hear the lesson than put into practice what it demands of me.
I think one of the things I struggle with the most in life is keeping my distance. I may smile as I write this, and shake my head at myself, but I know it is something I need to master. I am by nature a fixer, a doer. If someone I care about needs someone to help them with a task I am there, sleeves rolled up, ready to do whatever is required.
This leads to problems for me though. It can often lead to exploitation, and I can’t blame them for it. I place myself in that position. When all’s said and done, would you turn away someone who would help carry your burdens for a while?
Far bigger for me is realising when I should step away when I am neither needed, nor wanted. Too late I realise that I am actually making things worse. Only the other day I joked to a friend that it was because I am old. I feel at times like an aged relative sitting in the corner of a room, wondering what on earth the young people are talking about. I might joke about it, but it truly is a whole mess of confusion for me at times.
I am writing this at the end of what has been yet another long week. Every single day has been throwing things at me from either side of the screen, and it’s fair to say that I have coped with some better than others.
I am very much a work in progress and I am seeing that there are times I need to stop; at times I need to step back, close my mouth and silence my thoughts. This is not at all easy for me, but is a skill I need to improve on.
In a way it would be easier if I could simply lock myself away from people; maintain such a distance that they could neither hear my words, nor could they reach my thoughts. Oh if only life were so simple.
I am learning that I have to simply accept people the way they are, in the situations they are in. I might not like the places my friends leave themselves and watch them tear their hearts to shreds, but that’s none of my business. Far better to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself and know that if they should ever fall and need a shoulder, they will know where I am.
Not everyone is like me…. and thank goodness for that! *chuckles* I have learnt this week that sometimes to be a friend to people I need to take a few paces back and calmly let them interact in a way that is comfortable to them. Too often I have been likened to a Labrador puppy. You know how they are: always so eager to see you when you return home; boundless energy as they bounce all over you. For some it can be a joy, but for many people it is a nuisance.
I can change myself though; small alterations. I can place myself at a slight emotional distance, locking myself away a little. That space should help to avoid misunderstandings and problems. As much as I don’t want to cause others problems, I have finally realised that I don’t deserve the pain of getting things wrong either. If I keep a hold of the key to my self-imposed cage, I can return when I feel safe and everything is calm again.
I can be a good and strong friend. I am loyal and dependable, but I also need to be my own friend too and look after myself first and foremost. When I am broken and hurting, I am no good for anything, or anyone.