I am on my way like I have been more than ten thousand times before. It is early and the months are growing colder, which means sunrise will not come until later. We are entering the final approach and soon, this year will end and the new one will begin. My body is in that familiar sense of auto-pilot again, which means I am driving and alert. I am aware of my surroundings but my mind is someplace else. It’s crazy to think that we are at the close of the year. Soon enough, we will hear all the “New Year, new me” ideas and people will begin with their New Year’s resolutions.
But my resolution is simple.
“Just keep going.”
I cannot say that I know what is in store for us. I can’t say what’s coming in the mail or what to expect. I know that both you and I are hoping for a better year. I know that we are all hoping to find a semblance of normalcy, or whatever that means. I know that everyone wants to put the virus behind us. After all, it’s been a long time since the days of the pre-pandemic. But here we are again, finding ourselves at the end of the year, hoping the year to come will be better than the last.
I was thinking about the way we are with each other. I was thinking about the useless arguments and fights we have. I was thinking about the way people say, “You have to forgive and forget,” meanwhile everyone has their own feuds to deal with. I wonder if people truly practice what they preach or are they like us. People fight. People argue. People find themselves on the wrong side of a bad relationship and need help. Sometimes the only solution is to walk away and once you get there, stay there because this is the safest place to be.
This happens with family and friends. Of course, there is always someone who looks to broker peace. God bless them, by the way. God bless them until they learn to stay on their side of the table. I know that for the most part, people mean well. You know they mean well too. But for the record, there is no law that says we have to get along with everyone. There is no law that says we have to like everyone and there is no law that says everyone has to like us either. Another thing to say is there’s no law that says we have to broker peace or be the voice of reason.
There are people who belong in our life and people who belong elsewhere. There are times when we have to come to a decision and ask ourselves, “Would my life be better if this person wasn’t around me?”
There are times when we have to face our relationships and allow ourselves the freedom of an honest assessment and ask, “Would I be happier someplace else?”
It would be dishonest of me to say that I do not have any unresolved tensions with anyone. It would be inaccurate to say that I have never held a grudge or that there was never anyone who I decided to move away from.
There are times when I hear people talking about the parental positions. I hear people talking about the different stations of their family. They say that they know they have to get along with someone because this is family and this is what family does.
I reject this idea.
Our DNA connection does not automatically mean we have to get along or like our relatives. I have been told opinions like, “Well, that’s just them. And that’s the way they treat everybody. Don’t take it personally.”
I use this example broadly but I am sure this is interchangeable for everyone. I am sure that at some point, we’ve all been told something like “Don’t get offended. This person talks to everyone like that.”
I reject this too.
I reject anything that supports unacceptable treatment.
Since this series of journals is about friendships, relationships and the way we interact with each other, I have decided to talk about a little game called boundaries. This means now that I have boundaries, I have allowed myself the dignity of a safe separation.
I keep my boundaries regardless of title or position or station of family. I have come to the understanding that life is certainly too short to hold resentments. I agree that, in part, forgiveness is part of the regiment of self-care. I believe that resentments do nothing but churn emotion and drain our energy.
So, when someone says forgive and forget, I can say that I have forgiven. Simply because I choose to set boundaries or stay away does not mean I have not forgiven someone. My boundaries have allowed me to choose acceptance as a saving grace. I don’t worry about forgetting because I have accepted the person, place or thing. Therefore, I am not thinking about what happened. However, as for the notion that we should forget, I am also of the understanding that our history can repeat itself if we do not learn from it. Therefore, I am not sure if forgetting is the right term.
I have come to peace with my past. But more, I have come to peace with people from my past and at least on my side, I have decided to let the feelings subside and allow my boundaries to keep me safe. I have forgiven but this does not mean that I have to surround myself with people who I see as unsafe for me. I have earned the right to decide who I want to spent my time with. In the same respect, I have decided who I do not want to spend my time with.
So, it is okay to not be friends. It is okay to not get along with someone, regardless of their position in our life. It is also okay to realize that sometimes, it is better to go in a different direction. Some times the best option is to create a new circle of influence.
I have moved away from people that once held an important position in my life. The choice to do this was not easy nor was this taken lightly. However, in an effort to improve my self-care, the choice was necessary. I’ve had to see people at work functions and family functions, at wakes and at funerals. The unspoken tension was clear. Whether this is my projection or not is irrelevant. However, what is relevant is the choice to no longer allow myself to be codependent over another person. This is a safe boundary to build and a smart suggestion to build healthy boundaries that protect my emotional and psychological safety.
My aim is to improve my journey. And to travel safely, I have to make safe choices, which includes who I choose to share my journey with.
I want to be safe. And when I say “Safe” I mean more than my physical safety. I have my emotional and psychological safety to consider as well. Therefore, I understand when people choose to separate or go their own way. This is fine.
When someone shows me who they are; I believe them.
When someone shows me they want to be in my life, I allow them.
And if someone shows me they don’t, I let them go.
Life is too short to spend time with people who do not support us, encourage us, acknowledge us and, of course, empower us.
And it’s like I say all the time:
This is why I come here every morning.
To see you . . .