I read a blog post the other day that really got me thinking. It was basically about what people making decisions in their lives need to hear and how selfish we all can be when the people in our lives make decisions that we don't agree with. (At least, that is my interpretation of this particular post.)
Being that my husband and myself have recently made a HUGE life change by moving 1400 miles away from our home with our young son. It has been an eye opening process in the reactions of the people in our lives. Some people that we moved away from were downright rude about our decision, while others who live here were obviously supportive. Then there were others that we were close to that were either neutral or really just could care less that we were moving. At any rate, I learned a lot about my relationships this way. Nothing speaks louder than telling "good" friends that you are moving away and hearing how sad they would be and then not taking the time to get together before you leave. When I purposefully, yet tactfully, pointed this out on Facebook, I got a lot of excuses. It hurt, it still hurts, but it has been a wonderful lesson to learn.
When you are important in the life of someone who is important to you, you know it. It seems sometimes that when you are not that important you know it even more. I am one of these people that always lets people in, and I usually get burned in the process. I am not perfect, of course, but I really do try to go out of my way. Like Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Meredith, on The Family Stone, "I try, I try, and I try..." and when Luke Wilson (Ben) tells Meridith that maybe she should just stop trying, he couldn't be more right! If you have to try that hard with someone, anyone, even if it is someone that you feel like you are (or should be) close to, it really is not all that worth it.
If you are the one always making the phone calls, or making the effort to keep a friendship or any other relationship going with little or no reciprocation, that is the time to take a step back and evaluate the friendship or relationship. Chances are, if you are like me, whenever you finally do get the chance to catch up with these people, you are left wondering why you even bothered in the first place. Or, you are left with hurt feelings when their promises to get together/talk again soon don't come through. Either way, it's not good, and we owe it to ourselves to be honest, even if it hurts at first, about these people in our lives. I've learned you can still cherish the good memories and cut your losses at the same time. It's not easy, not easy at all, but it can be done.
I've had to learn the hard way so many times that even when someone is important to me, I may not be that important to them, and no time in my life has made that more evident than the past few months. It hurt when I lost contact with my best friend in our 20s (we had been friends since 11). It really hurt when my Grandfather died, because he was one of my best friends. But, in some weird way, losing a loved one to the natural process of death seems to hurt less than losing the people in my life in whom I've invested so much time, and knowing that they are just a phone call or email away, but I don't bother anymore because I know what the end result will be... more disappointment and hurt.
I've learned some really positive lessons from all of this, though. I've learned that I really am a lot stronger than I knew. In the past few months I've done some things I never thought I was able to do. Reflecting back further, I've done some things that I never thought I'd get to do. I've also been able to see how important the relationship my husband and I have, and I'm able to be more flexible in my view of relationships. I'm learning to trust the other people in my life (who live here) that I never thought I would be able to trust, and I am enjoying the new relationships I'm forming with people that I have really missed for much of my life. I am also learning to listen to the voice that steers me away from other individuals that will more than definitely prove to be toxic in my life. I've learned that it is ultimately my decision and responsibility to not only myself, but my husband and son as well, to steer clear of or keep at arm's length the toxic people, regardless of how much we have in common or what good I can see in them on the surface. My husband has been wonderful in this learning process, even though I've had a tendency to let people in our lives that really probably should have never been so close to us in the first place.
I thought we had moved on when we moved so far away, but it's taken me about two months to actually get it. I'm glad I finally did!