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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

inspiration # 173: Let love float in

It hurt. Betrayal.

It was my tipping point in a friendship and I decided that the hurt and the stinging hot tears that accompanied that frustrating, angry/sad feeling were never going to be part of my story ever again. I decided right then and there that the way to deal with this pain, this break-up between myself and a close friend was never, ever going to happen again. After I realized that this one way friendship caused more pain/uncertainty/frustration than joy, all I had to do was close my heart off and never let anyone in again. If I didn't let someone in, then she or he couldn't hurt me. Super plan.

Didn't work.

The thing is, you can't just close your heart off from the world. Well, you can but then you miss out on so much. There was a period after I was hurt that I had this false sense of strength, of confidence. "Close your heart off. Be cool. Don't let anyone in." This was going to be my new motto. The problem with this is that I was closing myself off from the friends who had been with me through the really terrible times, the friends who had virtually held my hair back.

I have to give these friends credit. While I kept my friendship break-up to myself, they figured it out since I went from a best friendship to "I shall not speak this person's name" mode. After insulating myself for over a month, not going out, not reaching out to any friends, two of my friends came over unannounced. I remember standing there at the door in yoga pants and a t-shirt (I wasn't doing yoga but stretchy pants were a good thing), no makeup, hair in a ponytail. They looked me and up down while I stood looking back at them at the door. One of my girlfriends finally said "Yeah, we're coming in." The look of determination on her face was more than I knew I could do battle with. They came in

"Look," my friend said "We know about what happened with __________ and it's sad and we get why you're angry or whatever this (she gestured towards my sad, crumpled form that was curled up under a blanket on the sofa) is but you can't let their bad behavior affect your relationships with everyone else. We are not _________. We love you and we're not going to let ______ f*** with the rest of your relationships. OK? OK."

It was the kick back to reality that I needed. I had had a very lonely month isolating myself, protecting my heart from being hurt again but in doing this, I also lost a month of happy moments with people who loved me and who wanted the best for me, even when I didn't think I deserved it.  In that moment I made the decision to fling my heart wide open not just to the friends who loved me but also to the possibility of new friends who would treat my heart kindly. The awful break-up of a friendship was a loss, yes, but I realized that it didn't kill me.

I also had to take ownership of my part in the friendship and hold myself accountable for my poor decisions. My ego had been bruised, my trust violated but that is a chance you take when you decide to let someone in. You can only be responsible for your actions and how you react to someone else's choices. Looking back, I didn't like who I was when we were together. The end of the friendship was inevitable. I made the decision to honor the past and I decided in the future that the chance to love someone (as a friend) was greater than the possibility of being hurt again. However, this doesn't mean being willy-nilly in your choice of who you invite in. Today, I am more careful about who I trust completely. I pay more attention to my gut instinct. With the friend who betrayed me, there were plenty of warning signs that I didn't pay attention to. Now I am more aware. I trust myself more and I try to be the kind of friend that I want in my life.

This morning, as I write this, I think about this friend and I wish them well. With all my heart, I do. I think a key to healing completely is to let go of the anger/hurt/resentment. When you carry these negative thoughts in your heart, love can't come in. And oh, love is so much better.

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