The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Happy Holidays, everyone!  I hope you all have been having a fantastic festive season.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, my posts for the last 6-8 months or so have become fewer and farther in-between.  For me, 2018 has been a year full of surprises, lessons, and introspection along with a giant dose of “Oh-my-god-I-still-have-lots-of-stuff-to-work-on-who-am-I-really???”  Throughout the entire year, though, the one thing that has remained constant is my appreciation for friendship.

One thing that really shook me was the loss of a friendship that took me by surprise.  I’d been friends with this individual for several years, and while it wasn’t the bosom buddy type of friendship, we had a great time at various events throughout the year and meeting up every couple months or so to catch up and hang out.  Over the summer, I completely forgot about one of our scheduled dinners, and ended up going out of town.  This is highly unlike me, and I apologized profusely and tried to set something else up for months, in vain.

I could feel that a chill had settled around our fewer and fewer interactions, which was solidified when she neglected to invite me to her baby shower, even when a mutual friend was staying at my house for that event.  On the advice of my boyfriend, I reached out and apologized again and told her that I would love to be there for her and her baby.  Her response, while not a complete shut-down, was decidedly unenthusiastic, and I simply decided to let it go.

For weeks afterwards, I felt horrible.  I forgot our dinner date-I am a horrible friend-how could I be such a bad person.  All of these thoughts kept swirling inside my head until finally, I realized that they were not serving anyone and just pulling me into a constant state of negativity.

I knew, deep down, that I was an amazing friend.  I knew that I would be there for any one of my girlfriends at the drop of a hat.  While I was obviously not perfect, I knew that I had done everything I could to mend my mistake, and at the end of the day, the ball was in her court.  And she chose to drop it deliberately.

When all is said and done, I have to accept it’s only a small ripple in the ocean of life relationships.

This incident has made me really appreciate those people who truly want to be in your life and make an effort to be present.  My circle of friends is small, but they have been with me through thick and thin, and I feel so honored to have their loyalty.

It has also made me take ownership of speaking my personal truth and let others react how they will.  I would have never ever thought to invite myself to something that I wasn’t invited to in the first place, but because I wanted to mend the friendship, I took the plunge and put every last raw nerve out in the open.  While the end result wasn’t what I wanted, it did help me firmly close that chapter in my life rather than keep plucking at the wound to see if it had healed.

At the end of the day, you must surround yourself with people who edify you and lift you up.  Time is short, and I am continuously learning the value of pruning who receives mine.  Those surface friendships that I used to strive fiercely to keep no longer seem that important.

Without my time being filled with various social engagements the way that it used to be, I’m realizing more and more the things that I need to be cultivating in myself: a sense of spirituality, more positivity, more love for others, more meaningful activities and goals.  Once you let go of the noise other people make, you can hear the small pings of your soul yearning for deeper and richer internal fulfillment.

I’m not trying to get rid of every single non-essential connection, because all relationships, big or small, play a part in enriching our lives.  I’m simply giving myself the space to develop who I am without worrying about juggling everyone else’s perceptions.  At the end of the day, those who love you for your core being will be there, and that’s really all you really need.

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