Fearless Files: Gray is not such a bad color, after all

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Part of striving to live a fearless life is to live life moment by moment. I spent years, worrying about the future and the unknown. When the Universe threw me for a loop, it forced me to change my perspective towards life. 

Now that I live life moment to moment, it has made me more self-aware, which has been a blessing. To truly know about yourself and accept the good and the bad is the first step in fixing what you don’t like in your life but still maintaining happiness in the current moment. It’s not easy but when you can do this, you feel free.

So speaking from a moment to moment view, right now, I am struggling with that damn gray area in life. For me, things have always been either black or white. I have learned that life is never black and white. There will be gray areas. This rings true for me in my friendships, more so than anything.

I have had friendships where friends have done something to me that caused me to cut them off completely with no communication at all. Now I look back and realize that sometimes you have to let people off the hook. People are human and will make mistakes. Cutting people off immediately sometimes is not the right thing to do. I realized that I can’t view all my friendships in this black and white state of mind. 

I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to being a friend to someone. I’m very big on loyalty, trust and honesty. I grew up on the mentality that “my word is my bond”. So my problem has been that I tend to expect others who are my friends to hold themselves to same high standards. I realize now that I can’t do that because I cannot expect others to be like me and I can’t control their actions. 

All I can do is be the example and be the best friend I can be. Now that person may not return that example but that’s okay. I will receive that treatment from someone else since I am “sowing those seeds” of being a good person. Like it is said, whatever you put out into the world, you get back. 

For instance, I spent a lot of time after my dad died, being angry at people who didn’t show up and be there for me. Then it hit me. Why am I wasting time mourning those who deserted me in my time of need? Instead I should be setting the example. When you remove expectations from the scenario and just be you, life is less complicated and you’re more at peace because you have let go of the frustrations and anger that comes with expectations.

Now I am not saying you should tolerate mistreatment from anyone. But what I am saying is that there will be times when people don’t show up. But you have to look at it on a friendship by friendship basis. You have to put yourself in that gray area and put aside your own feelings and expectations to truly see the situation for what it is. You never know what someone else is going through. If they are having a selfish moment, so be it. But it is up to you if you want to deal with them or not. That should not affect who you are as a person and stop you from being a blessing to others.

Gray means seeing both sides to the story. It means opening yourself to the possibilities and maybe saving a friendship.  

The most important thing here is communication. Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday this week with Iyanla Vanzant was all about having difficult conversations. Many times, we don’t tell someone how we feel if they have done something that has hurt us. We internalize it and it turns into resentment. Then when we deal with that person going forward, we become passive aggressive or we distance ourselves from that person or worse, we pretend like nothing is wrong. That’s just being fake. 

Believe me, the other person can tell if you are being fake or not. If your friendship has been one that means something to you, you are not being a good friend by being fake and not being honest about how you feel. 

When you don’t say how you feel, wow, what a burden to carry. Seriously. Think about what would happen if you told your friend how you feel. You may be able to fix a friendship that could be stronger because of that bump in the road. They are your friend for a reason. That one thing that hurt you…is it worth throwing away a friendship?

True friends are hard to find and I have learned that they should not be tossed in the garbage because they did not do what I expected them to do. Until we have THAT conversation, there is still hope.  And I have to remind myself that I might not get the closure I want. But closure is never what we think it should be. That’s where that gray area, I have learned to embrace, comes in. 

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