I have deliberately held off writing on the blog for a long time because I was dealing with a personal struggle. I know myself well enough to know that if I allowed myself to write about the experience before I’d processed it, the entry would become a rant. That was the last thing I wanted to do because I needed to understand how I was feeling and why I was feeling what I was feeling. Cryptic enough?
I was going through a period of self-doubt and I was asking myself a lot of questions that demanded a lot of self-honesty, looking at myself in the mirror very critically, a lot of soul-searching and I was praying a lot about a decision that I’d made. I felt torn between deeply regretting having to act on the decision, and knowing, with absolutely certainty, that what I’d done was the, really, the best course of action.
I’ve never really known how to cut myself off from people who affect me negatively. I always thought that holding on and not giving up on relationships meant that you cared about the person. I always thought that if I continued to treat the person in the way I wanted to be treated, it would eventually lead to them doing the same thing. I was, also, never a quitter. I never gave up on things, tasks, and most especially people. I am a Christian, with my faith so steeped in my life and my psyche that it was difficult to switch off the “not giving up on people” because God never gave up on me. So stepping away was not an option.
Also, I can’t remember where I learned it, whether I heard it from someone or I read it somewhere -that what you despise in others is what you hate in yourself. I wondered whether in this situation, it was the case? I had to ask myself that several times. Was the negativity I was feeling a reflection of how I was feeling about something in my life.
I kept asking myself, what lesson was I supposed to learn from this experience?
After all that thinking, praying, reading and soul-searching, I came to the conclusion that I needed to learn to look at the unhealthy patterns in certain relationships and learn to put a stop to it. To learn to extricate myself from the situation so that I would be set free – from the negativity, from the unkind thoughts, from the self-doubt, from the annoyance. My response to this negative situation was eating away at me. I didn’t like how I was reacting.
I was struggling to find what the Christian response was to this situation. Then I read something that Debbie McDaniel wrote. She said: “God’s greatest desire is to set us free…and what propels that change is for some brave soul to be willing to say “Stop, no more.” One who will choose what is better…and set boundaries.” Because, in the end, if you remove yourself from the situation, the negativity stops, the unchristian thoughts stop. Because in the end, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind…to everyone, including yourself.
Maybe one day, when the opportunity presents itself, I will tell this person how much their behaviour has affected me. Because I believe authentic relationships require honesty.
One day, maybe.
Until that day comes, I will tell myself that I did what I could in my position. And while it is still a challenge, I am going to have to forgive myself for walking away. Because at the end of the day, I wanted to stop myself from being mean and unkind, if not in deed, it was certainly in thought. For now, that will have to be enough.