Until getting involved with CT, I didn't really realize how deep was my desire to be liked... by everyone. And so, this is a lesson I've had to learn and relearn, a little bit more each time. It's been a little like carving a figure out of a large piece of wood. You start by hacking away at it... and then your shavings become a little more refined. A piece here, a thin slice there... With each pass at it, you get a little closer to finding the image that lies inside the wood. Does that analogy work? Perhaps not.
I took several more passes at the lesson over the ensuing three years... each time, I learned a little bit more about understanding that I couldn't please everyone, and more importantly, that not everyone needed to be pleased. I learned to identify friends, and to focus my energies and emotions on those relationships instead of trying to make everyone happy.
I will never forget something my husband once said to me. I was worked up about something that now seems silly... but I was trying to explain the situation, and the backstories, and why I was upset over it. I so clearly remember him shaking his head at me and saying, "I guess I just don't understand. Why would you let people who are clearly bitter and unhappy change who you are?" That has stuck with me ever since. It was the comment that helped the most to wash away everything that was unimportant, and has helped me to focus energies on things that are. Because, truly.... why would I do that??
I know I've talked a lot about this in relation to the CT fan community, as indeed I've learned some really important lessons from being involved there. Sometimes, I've thought to myself, "If I could just go back and NOT hit the 'up' arrow, I could have saved myself so much hurt..." But, I don't think I'd do it. I've learned REALLY good lessons that I may not have learned otherwise, and I don't think I'd give that up. But the great thing about the lessons is that you may learn them in one place, but you can apply them in other places, too. This is one of those.
I'm actually delighted to find that this topic was the next one on the list. I was just thinking yesterday about the people who are my friends. I was laughing with Stacey and feeling blessed and delighted in our friendship. I was chatting with Diana and Lisa, and feeling grateful and full of love. I was at Weight Watchers this morning, and sharing in comfortable camaraderie with the friends I've made there.
It is these friendships, plus a few others too, that I've come to realize are important to me. It is these relationships that I want to devote energy to, that I want to see grow and mature and come alive. But the rest? The rest I can let go. The rest I can let roll off my back. I couldn't do that before. But, I can now.