Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Ok, You're Ok...Aren't We???

     Maintaining relationships takes a lot of...well, maintenance.  And the question is always whether or not it's worth it.  Let's be honest. The relationships a lot of us have in our lives are not ones we have chosen. Or at least not directly.  If you decide to take a job, you have to have a relationship with your boss and co-workers. If you go to any group; church, sport, book club, whatever- you create, instantaneously, relationships with those folks that you've joined.  Even when you shop, move house or travel- you're creating relationships, albeit maybe not eternal ones.  And all relationships come with responsibilities, which we can fulfill or not.  The hardest thing is deciding whether or not to fulfill those responsibilities.  Say you're at the grocery, buying more wine (or you know, whatever)- for a brief moment, you make eye contact with the cashier and chit chat ("Can I use my VIC card for this?" Oh, sure. Like you've never tried to use Greenbax stamps or card rewards on wine...or cake..or whatever.  Look, don't judge me.)  For one brief moment, you are forced to acknowledge another person as a human being... or you do if you're a good person. (And yes, this time I'm judging you.)  But sometimes we don't acknowledge people- not the grocer, not our co-worker, not a good friend, not that person we wanted to be a good friend. Because sometimes we just can't decide if it's worth it.  Let me explain- being aware of other people is hard. It's hard because, in the main, we are selfish, egotistical, narcissistic people, people! ( could just be me...but no, I think it's you guys too.)  We also happen to be loving, faithful, extremely sensitive people who don't want to be hurt and can be hurt by the most ridiculous of causes.  The cut direct can be a simple as not receiving a phone call,  an email or not having someone show up on time, but it still hurts. And therein lies the dilemma, the hedgehog's dilemma, to be exact. To summarize, it basically states that people are like hedgehogs (I can totally understand this simile.  People really are like small, prickly mammals who forage)  who want to come together to share warmth. But once the hedgehogs are huddled (nice alliteration, huh?) they can't help but prick each other with their quills. So, while they may want to be close, some hedgehogs (I mean people) may ultimately feel that the  more loving act is to stay away from other hedgehogs to prevent hurting them...and themselves. It is both intrinsically introverted and loving- because loving people don't want to cause pain in anyone, including themselves.  So are you a hedgehog or aren't you?
Well, at heart we all are- only we have it a little more difficult- both because some relationships are involuntary and because some are worth it- but only by our own estimation.  If you've been having to think and re-think some relationships recently , maybe it's time to take a point from the hedgehog and figure out, how much pain are you willing to put up with, to be in the relationships you're in?  How willing are you to deal with the fall out if you decide they're not worth it?  Yelling at your boss equals both the possibility of being fired...and never having to kowtow again.  Standing up to your family equals maybe being written out of dad's will...or maybe gaining his respect.  Standing up to pushy friends may mean having to find new ones or deciding that the old ones other qualities are worth keeping quiet.  Sometimes it means making that phone call or sending that text or email that says either I'm still really interested in getting to know you or asking the hard question -why are we still together?  Not every relationship is meant to last forever, but they're all meant to have an impact.  Do you curl up in a little ball when it comes to relationships or are you willing to stick it out and work for the intangible rewards good relationships can bring, and the freedom that comes with ending negative ones?  In the end, you've got to love the ones you're with, so make the right choices. Then--- get to work on being loving and loved.  (Now, if you'll excuse me...I've got some calls and emails to make.)

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  
Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, 
and we are never, ever the same.  
~Flavia Weedn,Forever, ©

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