You know what I mean.
It's the relationship based on you agreeing with everything, approving everything, and being submissive to another's opinion. It's the relationship that demands you be the one to understand and accept, tolerate and basically always be the giver-- or exhibits the give-in personality. You are only the receiver when the "other" is feeling generous...is in the mood,
is happy, is content, is feeling positive about life.
you receive the silent treatment, the cold shoulder, the short snippy remarks, the ire, the annoyance, the accusations, and judgment.
I confess. I'm one of those non-conflict personalities. Don't like it. Saw enough of conflict, and the destruction that resulted from it in my lifetime, to know when to back off, retreat and wall myself up.
At this stage in my life, I have no desire to battle with people. That is, people I think are friends. I don't know what is going on inside them or around them.. and they do not know what is going on inside me and around me.
When stressed, tired, or emotionally spent with one situation, there is little left in me to deal with other stressed, tired and emotionally spent people. Couple that with physical pain and disease and even less of me is able to cope. Few are the people who truly care to understand or desire to take time to understand. People are busy. People face constant conflict of their own. Every single day. Soo...
"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood." ~~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Funny how much I agree with this statement. Yet, often I find the only way to remain in a relationship with someone is to relinquish my desire to be understood. When someone gets testy with me, I tend to crawl back into my protective shell and exercise as much tolerance as the Spirit of God will usher into my soul. Whenever I try to explain myself, I find it only worsens a communication breach. Sometimes the storms of conditional relationships are best waged from within a bunker of safety.
Maybe I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe I need to seek different kinds of relationships. I don't know. I've always believed I need to exercise as much generosity, gentleness, kindness and patience as possible when dealing with others.
It's not easy being on the receiving end of anyone's impatience, annoyance or disdain. I suppose it's worse being on the receiving end of apathy and indifference. Especially with someone you care about.
I'm learning to let go and let others be whatever way they choose. It's their choice to battle life as they think appropriate for their needs; it's none of my business. For me to survive what is going on around me, in my world, I must let go of the things over which I have no control in the lives of others.
"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing...not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares." ~~Henri Nouwen
I have some friends like this. I've enjoyed relationships through the years which benefited me in this way. I like to think it is because I have been that kind of friend...or tried to be. Yet...
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~~Albert Schweitzer
I am. I am very thankful for those God brings my way to rekindle the fire within me when the world has beaten me down. ...when troubles have tossed me about like a conch shell in the middle of the ocean. ...when I cling for all I'm worth to the shell in which I hover for protection against those who create the waves of discontent and contempt. For those I am deeply grateful. It's like they find me on the shore of life and pick me up and listen to the whispers of my soul that no one else has cared to notice. Do you have someone like that? The unconditional kind of friend? Be grateful.
[republished and edited from 2013]