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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Complicated relationships

As I get older and see the world around me in a grown up light, the world still never becomes uncomplicated.  In fact, many times it grows even more complicated.  When we are young we tend to see the world in simple terms, in black and white with only a little bit of grey.  You think, wow, those old people (haha) have it all figured out.  They know how things are.  However, after getting to know a couple of those oldies very intimately, I can tell you, they don't.

As a child, I never thought that I would be the kind of person who stopped speaking to a family member.  There were six of us kids and I was the middle child.  Getting along with everyone was pretty much a requirement.  When my grandmother died, an elderly man came up to us at the funeral and introduced himself as a relative of my grandfather (who had already passed away).  They hadn't spoken in many many years and I didn't even know of his existence.  He came to pay his respects and introduce himself at the same time.  I thought that that was very sad and yet, I haven't spoken to one of my sisters in a couple of years.  And even though I was angry at first, the freedom I felt from cutting her off of my life has motivated me to keep her out of my life.  And yet, I feel sad at the loss that my own children will have of her absence and that of their cousin.  And I'm almost embarrassed that I will be that kind of person, the kind of person who holds a grudge and doesn't talk to a sibling (for heck's sake!) for years.

All kinds of things can make relationships complicated.  Friends get divorced and you don't know which side to take.  People reveal problems that they're having and you see a new side to them.  Childhood friends grow older and their world doesn't revolve around you anymore.  People change, they develop diseases (mental and physical) or hold grudges.  They surprise you by the people that they become and sometimes you can't help but wonder at who they are anymore.

And death, the aftereffects of something so final, so complete, brings out a whole new set of complicated feelings.  Sometimes you're very lucky to have someone in your life that when they die, your whole world changes.  Your heart is no longer able to feel completely full: there will always be a hole and an ache in your chest where that person once resided.  Any death of another person reminds you of that one person who left you.  You can't help but feel abandoned even though, sometimes, it wasn't their fault.  

Although, at this point you might not believe me, but I'm a decided optimist.  I know that there is good and bad in this world and I've made the decision to see the world for it's good.  So how do we take these complicated feelings we have and make them into a good thing?  

First, we have to make the choice to look at the good in others.  Sometimes it's not easy.  Okay, lots of times it's not easy.  But if we want to take the poison out of our own cups, we must try, even if we just work on wanting to try.  
And sometimes we can learn to accept them.  That is key.  If we can accept others, and ourselves, for who we are, what we are, and how we are, then the complications can slowly dissipate. 

Second, we must learn to forgive.  Even the dead person who left you.  When we hold on to our anger, we are punishing ourselves the most because of the acid that builds up in our bodies and hearts.  And I'm not saying that you can forgive them right away, things need to happen in time and space, when the time is right and healing is there, it can be very freeing. 

Third, we must realize that sometimes, things just take time.  In a world where people meet, fall in love, fight and make up in anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours, at a subconscious level we believe that the complications of life can be resolved in a short period of time.   And, this is very hard for me to admit, but sometimes, things won't ever be resolved.  There, I said it.  When my grandmother died, I definitely had some unresolved feelings that I never worked out with her.  Instead I wrote them all on a piece of paper, then, when I felt I was ready, I tore it up and threw it in the tub.  Actually, I took a bath with it.  I don't know why, maybe I needed to feel that the words needed to become a part of me.

Sometimes I think I stress more about my feelings than I do about the actual complication.  Why can't I just work this out?  I don't know, maybe I think I need to be a robot or something.  After one of my best friends died, I couldn't understand my devastation and just wanted all of those feelings to go away.  And yet, still to this day, the devastation remains.  I don't know if it will ever go away.  I don't think it will.  And yet, I need to learn to live with it.  Make it a part of me and accept it.

Things do soften with time.  (at least, they can)  Give yourself some time and realize, "Hey!  You're not a robot!"  That's what being human is all about.  Living with emotions.
Fourth, be honest with them.  Honestly, this is the hardest thing for me.  When I was younger it was a lot easier.  I just straight up, told someone what I thought of them.  Now that I'm older, I've come to realize the value of the white lie.  Sometimes, the white lie is the kindest thing to do because people don't want to hear the bad things about themselves all the time.  Would you?  Of course not. 
The reason this is so hard for me is because when I'm honest with someone, it opens myself up to vulnerability.  I'm telling them about my weakness, my issues.  Also, what if they decide to be honest with me in return, and tell me about things that I don't want to hear?
However, if things are ever really bad, then telling them the truth can be the best thing because it might just be a misunderstanding and talking about things will clear things up.

Fifth, we must realize that no one is perfect, including ourselves.  I feel like I'm the worst as dealing with relationships (maybe you shouldn't be taking advice from me! :D) but sometimes I need to remind myself to just give myself a break.  

I can't forgive everyone at once, and I can't be the perfect person to everyone, just like they can't be the perfect person to me.  Everyone is just trying their best, and we should love them (and ourselves) for the effort.  

The man who always makes my relationship simple
Because of his undying true passion and love for me.


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