I said good-bye to some people during the first part of February. It wasn't strained or highly emotional, nor was the experience tainted by fatalism or martyrdom. Nor was it mutual.
I sat down with myself and realized that there are some people who have been of great benefit to me during the past few years who no longer show interest in being in contact with me. Or, if interest is shown, it's overshadowed by things in their lives of higher priority.
This is what I've been saying about friendship for a very long time.
However, what I noticed was, while I would prefer to have those people still actively involved with me, I'm comfortable allowing them to leave. It doesn't feel personal.
I suppose part of this is that I'm convinced that I'm a worthwhile person. I believe I bring a great deal to any relationship. And while I understand that I also bring my share of stress and baggage, I think I'm worth it.
I have always clung to honesty and I cannot speak true things about myself without acknowledging the good with the bad. So I made a list of cons and pros about relationships with me:
Cons (because they're the easiest for me to spot):
1. I have some emotional deficits.
2. There are times when I don't understand the intent behind your words, and it's possible that I'm not capable of such understanding.
3. I have PTSD which can make me moody or grouchy or scarce at times. Those times might not be convenient for you.
4. Sometimes I argue for no reason at all.
5. Sometimes I will be afraid of you.
6. I ask questions about our relationship constantly, I'm always evaluating it, I'm paranoid about the emotional health of our relationship.
7. Sometimes I cry.
8. Right now I'm not physically healthy and I can't do many of the things I used to love.
9. Sometimes I don't want to talk. I just want to sit quietly.
10. When I become upset, I'm completely irrational.
I think 10 is enough. As I'm trying to balance with "pros", I want to proceed without a great deal of difficulty.
1. I'm interested in you. I want to know what makes you happy and sad, what you like to eat, where you like to spend alone time. I want to hear favorite songs and share your favorite books and poetry. I like to hear about your past, your family, your romantic interests, and your dreams.
2. I'm funny. Probably I can make you laugh even when you're sad. This is because that's how I deal with life. It makes me giggle most of the time, even when I'm crying.
3. I love indiscriminately. One moment I will be in love with the bug I'm watching, the next moment a plant in my garden has taken my fancy or snowflakes in my yard--and always, without fail, I'm in love with you. I can't help it.
4. I like to do fun things. I play games, visit people, orchestrate dinner parties, or just sit and chat. I've been known to stay up all night just to maximize time with the people I love.
5. I'm safe. I will listen to what you tell me without judging you and I'll love you more for knowing you could confide in me.
6. I will tell you what I think. Some people don't like this, but I believe it's best to let people know how you feel. If you make me upset, probably I'll let you know within 30 seconds. If you make me happy, bet on a hug. If you do something that scares me or endangers yourself, I'll probably have something to say about that, as well.
7. I'm always happy to see you--online or otherwise. Always.
8. I'm loyal. If you're my friend, I will take your side in any situation (although, if I believe you're wrong, I'll still take your side, but I'll tell you I think you're wrong).
9. I'm happy most of the time. And when I'm not, I'm looking for happy. I'm not a person who loves wallowing in self-pity.
10. I don't believe I know everything--or even a great deal. I love to learn and I like it when you share your knowledge with me.
As I look at my lists, I believe I'm an average to good friend. I see the drawbacks, but I believe those are balanced by some very nice attributes. Therefore, if those people who used to be present have become absent, I'm led to believe I no longer fill any needs for them. And that is a perfectly logical reason to seek different company.
I realized that I was waiting for them. I missed their support and care. I wanted to find out what was happening in their lives. I missed THEM. And so I allowed myself a few days to miss them, to think about all the reasons I love them, to wish things were different...and then I took steps to help me move on.
If they were previously very close to me, I made certain I tried one more time to make contact. I offered to call or I tried to chat or I left Facebook messages (or any combination of those). I thought about what it would mean to allow myself to let them go. I let myself cry a bit. And then I made peace.
And I blocked online communication and removed them from my phone lists.
That might seem extreme, but to me it was simply allowing the ball to be in their court. I attempted contact. It was not reciprocated, so I removed any temptation which might move me to keep intruding in lives that had certainly become too busy to accommodate me. And in doing so, I felt a sense of relief. I don't have to wonder anymore, if these people will continue with me through life. They won't. Someday they might attempt contact again, which I will welcome, but our paths have diverged.
Therapist would be proud of me. He will see this as progress. I don't, necessarily, but I do see it as practical and helpful. And in a way, it's me participating in the social networking puzzle of life. Successfully.
I suppose the greatest triumph, for me, is that I acknowledge my loss (because I love them) but I also believe part of the loss is theirs. I grant myself worth. I don't know if that's self-centered or self-preservation. To me, it's simply what is.