Sunday, May 11, 2014

Don't go rolling around in poison ivy!!

I recently spent a wonderful afternoon with a friend just to discuss weather but ended up talking about journeys of self-discovery....  it started out as lunch but moved well into the afternoon.  We laughed, we cried, we rejoiced, we admonished, we cheered, we booed, but the one thing we didn't do was finish our conversation.  We talked about her journey, my journey, and everything around it...  but we didn't finish...  just like our journeys in life...  can we ever really come to the end? 

If you get to the end of your journey, what is it the end of?  your life?  your soul?  and would you know if you reached the end?

I am getting off track a bit....  (really unusual for me, right?)

I have conversations with friends that go on for hours and we never seem to finish with the topic that started the conversation....  the conversation seems to branch out over the topic of the day, the economy, the ozone layer, and everything in between....  and while we never finish the topic of the day, we DO do what we set out to do....   working on our relationship.  And best of all, we go away sad that our time together is over, yet happy to have had it.

There is just not enough time with someone who shares your level of honesty and interest in the success of the relationship between the two of you.  And what about those relationships in which there is never a level of comfort,... never a place in the conversation when I feel totally relaxed.

Maybe that's an indictor of the strength and value of the relationship.   Lately, I have been on a personal quest to re-evaluate my relationships with others.  What is the test of a good relationship? 

We all know that some relationships are more fun, more rewarding, and more peaceful than others.  There are some that are hurtful, stressful, and boring....  And I wondered why.... is it me?  is it them?   and then I came full circle to wonder if it really matters. 

And this got me to thinking about the level and quantity of stuff we suffer.   Society has us all feeling guilty if our life isn't similar to something in a glossy magazine.   Society has us thinking that we should all have 1500 facebook friends.  Is that the litmus test of a good person? 

I have never been a 'quantity' person (ok, except when it applies to my fabric stash).  I prefer quality.  Lol...  that's why I have only 2 kids.

Do I need to worry about why I don't like the smell of pickles but some do?  Why anchovies are gross looking and tasting but do not bother some people at all?   Why I think drinking water stinks...  but most can't smell it?  does it matter?  maybe...  but is it worth worrying about?

Maybe Doris Day was right when we told us, not once but a thousand times, que sera sera.

I think both parties in a relationship, any relationship, must have equal interest in maintaining and improving it.  Both parties must bring to the "table" something...  something to add to the relationship...  something to strengthen the relationship.

I believe that a relationship, any relationship, is only as strong as the least interested person's commitment to it.   In other words, you can't make a person like you.  You can't make a person get along with you.  And most of all, one person can't make a relationship successful.

I have found that there are relationships to which  I seem to have an "allergic" reaction.  If multiple sincere attempts to desensitize myself to the "allergen" have failed and a negative reaction to the "allergen" continues, it is my responsibility to take steps to protect myself.... I avoid long term contact with the allergen.  This doesn't mean I need to kill the source (ie, I won't kill the bees or the plant) but I can avoid it.  I can stay away from the bees or the plant.... or the relationship, that causes the negative reaction in my body.

I can consider if this is a relationship that I need... but if I do not, why make myself uncomfortable?  And conversely, does the "allergen" know they induce a reaction in me?  If they are aware but do not take steps to assist in the desensitizing attempts so we can safely be in the same area together, they may be simply uninterested in having a relationship with me. Thus, no worry or risk is needed on my part...  I simply avoid the "allergen".  If they are not aware, I can surmise, again, that they are still finding themselves and I best let them continue their journey without me.

Once I determine the relationships to which I am "allergic" and I cannot avoid without being rude, I should remain calm and exit the area as soon as it is socially acceptable.  After all, a snake doesn't attack if its not feeling threatened...  or hungry....  or grumpy....  or....  what DOES a snake feel?

Then there are those relationships that cause minor irritation... like mosquitos...  we don't even know they bit us until the irritation shows up...  and they are already long gone.    I am not willing to stay in the house in the evenings so the mosquitos are ok to be around as long as I apply repellent before I am around them.

Ok, so I have a plan of action...  but then I feel guilt.   Should I feel guilty that I have identified an "allergen" and can avoid it...  or that I use repellent when needed?

To sum up; as an adult, I think I should be able to determine how much I am willing to tolerate for the sake of others.  And sometimes, my level of tolerance will be adjusted, based on the situation.

Seriously, don't we all have better things to do than to hang around with people who really don't seem interested in building a relationship with us?   or those we are not comfortable with?  or those sneaky ones that you find left a mark after they've gone?

We should hang with people that bring us up...  inspire us... encourage us...  laugh with us... empathize with us...   support us...   and share honesty with us.

We are all better than to accept anything less.

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