It can be hard to ascertain…how our light and humanity impact others. Maybe it’s a smile, maybe it’s an unexpected kindness. Simple stuff. Do those little things add up? I think so and I think it’s okay to hope that we’re contributing to a more positive universe when we extend ourselves. Is it too much to ask – to be ever hopeful that our bits of love and light might turn the tide or balance the challenges in life for someone else? It’s aspirational, for sure. But we don’t get to follow every trail because doing so would reduce the energy we have to stay in the moment, ready to encourage and support those in front of us…or those we’ve yet to encounter.
I’m pondering this today because kindnesses which occur in happenstance encounters can be fluid and fast…unlike those we experience in relationships where discernible ripples are more evident, providing opportunities to see the unfolding. What happens next? You’re right there, front row and all and it’s a balancing act. How much do you give without losing yourself in the process?
Someone I care about thought she was being kind-hearted and giving and made a massive sacrifice for someone she loves. It involved a life-altering cross country move – not just for her partner but for her as well. Was it a stellar opportunity for the woman she loves? Yes. The kind of offer you dare not turn down. And so, the choices for my friend were few and obvious: Move – go with her partner… OR…stay put and attempt a long-distance relationship…OR…the scariest proposition of all? End the relationship. She chose to move…but not without substantial heartache and anticipatory stress about sacrificing HER career for her partner’s.
The move occurred several months ago and despite an ‘eyes wide open’ decision (or so she thought) my dear friend is miserable. She misses her friends and family and while her partner’s career is soaring, she’s struggling to find work in her field…so much so that she’s picked up some self-soothing habits that are contributing to the demise of their relationship…fueling her passive-aggressive barbs. She doesn’t want to be angry, but she is, and she knows her target isn’t, truly, her partner. Nope, she’s the one wearing the bullseye – as a result of her decision to move.
Maybe this is you…when you’re at your worst (I know it’s a behavior I fall prey to). Do you keep score? My friend figured her substantial sacrifice earned her a lifetime of grace…you know, those ‘bonus points’ we tally in a relationship as we anoint ourselves with the title ‘consummate giver’. I’ve earned the right to be a hell-raiser if I want to…except it doesn’t work that way. She’s not owed anything…she made the choice to move and regrets it now.
Wanting to be the git-along girl got her into the pickle barrel she’s in and there’s only one way out. Sooner, not later, she needs to name her frustration and be honest with her partner. I suspect the smart woman she loves already put the pieces together…people in a pickle can be easy to read…sour, sassy and all.
Me? I’m the listener, the neutral party trying to help my friend find her way. I think she’s almost there, but the message she needs to receive more than anything is that she’s not a bad person. Her decision to move came from a caring place and even once all is resolved (one way or another) she can reclaim her sunny side…it’s still there…and it’ll guide her forward.
Course correction is my preferred term for what comes next…as I try to help her move away from her maddening fixation on the word MISTAKE. It carries a heaviness tinged with failure, like weighted chains. I have faith in her and believe her hallmark traits of kindness and love will swivel her way – so she’s the intended beneficiary for a change. No mistakes. Just a course correction.
Thanks for reading…I’m sending sunshine and smiles your way…soak it up or spread it around. You know best.