11 March 2017

Life Lessons in Practice

You need to surround yourself with people who value you. That is a lesson I have been trying to teach our youngest daughter, Hobbit, for years. She, like me, has a very hard time making friends and is easily bullied or taken advantage of by people. Eventually she does see it and she is hurt, like anyone else would be in those situations. It's a difficult lesson to learn - and an even harder one to put into practice. Yesterday, unfortunately, proved to be a teachable moment in just such a lesson.

I had made plans with a particular "friend" who I was attempting to rebuild a level of trust and friendship with after it was severely violated by her and her husband. An explanation of his actions were given but an actual apology was never issued. I chose to excuse this, as given the life stories that have been shared over the years, I never got the feeling that she was ever made to apologize for her actions or behavior before in her entire 40 years on this planet. I simply assumed the concept was foreign to her but that was her attempt at it.

Our recent plans were made three weeks in advance. We were going to start back meeting weekly for knitting and talking. As any other human being on the planet, I do enjoy some interactions with others and since I had decided to give this person another opportunity to hold a place of value in my life - not easily done regardless of social anxiety levels - I made plans. The first meeting was last week at a coffee shop close to her home in a typical Florida outdoor mall complex. She actually picked up the tab for the coffee, a true first in our friendship. I said thank you and we sat outside in the shade under the awning inside their patio area. We talked and knit for a little more than an hour when my husband surprised me after he got off work earlier than we anticipated. It was a lovely surprise and always welcome. Before leaving, I double checked the plans for next week. They were confirmed and we parted ways.

Wednesday afternoon, I confirmed again that we were going to meet for coffee and knitting. This "friend" said that everything was a go. I reconfirmed that I would see her there and went about my day. Friday rolls around and we were to meet at 5 pm. Hobbit and I get there at 4:45 pm and find a nice place to sit. We have our drinks and we wait for her to show up...

I made everyone in the family coffee collars out of the leftover Malabrigo from our hats. They work on hot or cold cups!
 and we waited...

I frogged my Fading Pines Shawl that I was testing. I took a deep breath and restarted it too!
and after a full half hour had passed, I sent a text message to make sure everything was okay. The response I received was heartbreaking and hurtful... it simply read "I got sidetracked. I will get there when I can."

Wow. Way to make someone hear loud and clear that they are not of value to you. After all that this person has said and done, I did the one thing I was teaching my daughter not to do. I wasn't surrounding myself with people who valued me. I wasn't valuing myself enough to not allow myself to be treated as though I was an afterthought. This person asked if I was going to meet on the next Friday for a group we started together. Please note, I had already posted in that group weeks ago that I was not going to be in attendance because it was the first Friday of our Spring Break and I had my best friend coming in town on that Monday. I have also been talking about our plans and all that we were going to do in another group - both of which she is a part of and partook in these conversations as well. The response to my stating I would not be there... an angry face emoji. Yep, an angry face.
An. Angry. Face. She honestly had the nerve to send that to me because I was going to spend time with my family. Time that I had already made perfectly clear was blocked out for the past month or so... I can't even fathom how this person thought this was an appropriate response. This person coming in is my family of choice and I haven't seen her in 7 years. My "friend" knew this - or should have known - since I have been excitedly sharing details of it all for the past few weeks.

My husband had sent a text at that time and asked how things were going. He knows it has been rocky after the ordeal with her husband's abusive verbal attack on me and her not standing up to stop him or defend me. He knows it is hard for me to do this kind of thing period, let alone when someone has been treating me as badly as this person and her family have in recent months. I told him what transpired and he said I needed to leave. He said to meet him at Firehouse and we would have supper. So I did. I told my "friend" to not worry about it, my husband got off work on time and we were all going to supper. I told her to enjoy her weekend and left it at that.

Then I turned to my daughter and we talked. This was a prime example of putting a life lesson into actual practice. Hobbit has been front and center for this entire friendship which has spanned four years online via Ravelry and about a year and a half in person. She has seen the entire "in person" friendship first hand. She has been asking me why I was friend with a person who was so very self centered and ego centric. I told her that perhaps we were meant to be friends so that I could be the light in her dark corner of the world, shining to show her how to be a better friend. I honestly believed it. I thought she was meant to show me how to be more confident and I was meant to show her how to have more kindness and grace without an agenda. I was apparently wrong.

Hobbit and I talked about it and I was hit in the face with the only option that was acceptable. To practice what I preached. If I was going to tell her to surround herself with people who value her, then I should do the same. I cannot continue to make excuses for allowing myself to be treated horribly and as though I don't have any value but tell her to stand up for herself. I mourned the loss of what I had hoped our friendship would become when her husband verbally attacked me a few months ago. I tried to rebuild our friendship, as I thought perhaps she would be kinder and more aware of how her actions and words affect others around her, in hopes of her growing more gracious and kind. I had failed... so I did the only thing I could do... I let go.

I will not be mean to this person, as we still are in the same groups on Ravelry. I wish her and her little family of two all the blessings that God sees fit to bestow upon them. I have no ill will. People are who they choose to be and she has chosen to be the type of person she has become...

I simply choose to be a better person than I was... and I know I, just like everyone else in the world, deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and be held in value by others. I know I hold others there so I simply wish for the same in return. If someone does not, then I will simply move on. People come into our lives for a reason - some for a season and some for a lifetime.

Her time was apparently only a season but I will always remember the lesson that she has taught me.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you to stand up for yourself, though. Keep up the _good_ work!


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