This new world and new life that we are all trying to become accustomed to has had me contemplating and processing emotions, feelings, and impressions in a very different way. Since the world has forced us to slow down and stay indoors, it has encouraged me to move more deeply inside of myself. It’s not easy or comfortable, but inevitable for me, it seems.
I have written often about relationships, and surely about friendships and what they mean in my life. I am a social person that has always found value and joy in giving, connecting, embracing, and showing up. Recently, that joy has felt like exhaustion and confusion. To unpack these big feelings, I have been contemplating the friendship that I have with myself, which ultimately dictates the friendships in my life I’m seeing.
My instinct as a human being is to work and work hard. Maybe it’s my blue-collar upbringing or my Mormon faith, I don’t know, but I know that I will be damned if I don’t try my hardest to give more if I’m not getting more because, of course, it must be me! It sounds and feels very selfless, and it’s really all that I have ever known, but I'm here to tell you, that I have come to realize that it is not the way to go. It’s actually the least loving act of all if it’s an act against yourself. I know that I am not alone here in these feelings, so I wanted to share in full vulnerability what I am processing and trying to “unlearn.”
We all need to remember that we have no control over people's behaviors or actions, we only have control over our own, and even that is hard. I am a woman that wears her heart on her sleeve. I am always the one that will turn the other cheek when I've been hurt, and I am the one who gives the benefit of the doubt. I never want to tell a friend that I am hurt because I avoid confrontation. I want everything to be peaceful, even if it's at the cost of my feelings. I’m sure this mechanism of mine comes from a very young place, but for today the grown-up me acknowledges the truth in the dysfunction in this way of being. I have learned a lot about friendship in this past year and even more about myself. Through lots of loss, lots of heartaches, and lots of disappointment, I have taken a long hard look at the people I choose to be in my life.
There are so, so many that I hold close and invest in. Sadly, there are very, very few that do the same in return, and somehow that has been okay with me until now. I am not playing the victim, as I know that I chose these relationships in full awareness. I accepted the “Oh, Kimmy will always be there” sentiment. Sometimes being included can seem like it’s enough, but being included can be interchangeable with being tolerated or being a “have to “or an add-on. Conditional relationships are ubiquitous, but both parties have to buy into the roles of the relationship. I see my patterning so clearly and how it repeats, and I see it in other women as they navigate, finding their place in the hierarchy of friendships.
What I am learning through my own “unlearning” of ideas and ideals that no longer suit me, is that a true friendship is NOT EVER a hierarchy. A friendship is soft, forgiving, honest, and patient. It doesn’t claim a person or demand of them. A friendship is a space to be your imperfect self fully. A friendship shows up at your best and worst.
This newfound awareness is about understanding me ever more deeply, never about having bitter feelings or animosity towards others. I send love and light to all that have taught me so much about myself, even when it hurt. I realized the most through this process because while I was seeking love and approval from friendships that were not truly interested, I was turning my love away from those who so wanted and cherished my company. The ones on my island waving at me consistently with love were the ones that were always there. Steady, loving, and well…friends.