Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Letting go of the burden of hate

January has been FULL ON.

Normally it's a slow old month, crawling to the finish line, filled with failed resolutions and empty bank accounts. But this January has been busy busy busy and has zipped past. Not though, without the odd bump.

For several months I've had a health worry - one that I put down to all manner of things, but eventually realised something was wrong. So my GP referred me to a consultant and I've got to have a small operation in mid Feb. Nothing to worry about, which is wonderful - but for a couple of weeks when I hadn't had my diagnosis, I was frantic. I kept thinking that life has been so damn great, that something was gonna come a cropper... I worried that just as everything might fall into place, the one thing I need the most: my health, would fail me. It puts everything in perspective, when you are scared.

In the midst of all this I met up with a bunch of old schoolmates. Most of whom I see anyway - they are still a big part of my life - but a few I hadn't seen in 20 odd years. One girl J, was understandably nervous about seeing a gang of 15 people she hadn't set eyes on for two decades, so we met before the actual meet.

It transpired that J reads my blog, so knew about my life. J mentioned she had just resumed contact with a schoolmate of ours, whose wife used to be a close friend of mine, but cut me off several years back. To my horror, even though this ex-friend had never ever had the courage or courtesy to tell me the reasons why she terminated our friendship - J knew it all! Brilliant! So I was sitting there, looking at a lovely woman who hasn't seen me in 23 years (but looks exactly as she did all those years ago) who has heard all this poison about me. My head was spinning.

Thankfully J knows me of old, so wasn't in any way judging me. She knows that I try to have a good heart and am (hopefully) a good person, so I didn't need to defend myself to her. She said to remember that ex-friend of mine was filled with grief at the time this all happened, having tragically lost a baby. 'Grief causes people to react in all kinds of strange ways,' J wisely said.

At first I was livid. Ready to fire off some email of rage - how dare someone slander me so badly! Then I thought on what J said. That grief does strange things to people. I've never lost a child, can't imagine how horrific and sad that must be... You can't know what someone is going through unless you have walked in their shoes, but that is no excuse.

In this case the ex-friend took as a slight that I called my daughter 'Riley' - a name I had held for years since I learned it was Elvis's Granddaughter.  (Not a massive Elvis fan - just really liked the name, also because it usually is a boys'). My Husband, an Aussie, nicknamed her 'Roo' when he saw her in a baby Bjorn one day. This was apparently hurtful due to the name of the child she lost. Did I have a clue about this, or even think that my Husband's innocent nickname would be such a bone of contention? Nope. No idea. Who thinks this way - that you name a child to slight someone else??? Only those who think the world begins and ends with them. There again, grief does strange things to people...

Instead of being annoyed at something that to me, had been so twisted, I just felt sad. Sad that communications get so broken down. Sad that people can join dots that are not even there, to come up with a sum that makes me the bad guy. Then I thought some more: Maybe I was the bad guy - in not even realising I was being him. But how can we realise we are doing something wrong if NO ONE TELLS US?

It all comes down to one word: value. If we value someone, and they hurt us - unwittingly (as in my case - I'd never wittingly hurt a soul) or wittingly - shouldn't we tell them? A friend a while back called me on something I did without really thinking it through and we talked it over, over coffee. At the end, she had explained the reasons why she had been disappointed. I explained why I did what I did and was utterly apologetic that I had upset her in any way. We moved on. Air cleared. She valued me enough to tell me I had upset her.

It is hard of course, to tell people when they upset us, disappoint us, let us down. Perhaps we think they should know what they've done? But people aren't telepathic. They often walk around having no clue, while we seethe. But if we want them in our lives, then isn't it better to say our beef - give them a chance to explain, or apologise?

If we don't, it is that we didn't want them in our lives to begin with.

I know this, because this month I also got to tell someone why they had upset me: that every time I see them they are abusive in some way, or confrontational - so I'd rather just keep my distance. No anger, no issue, no dislike, just - I don't want to hang out with you. They wondered why I had waited almost 2 years to tell them. Well, I hadn't seen them in nearly two years - so that's a giveaway in itself  - but also, I prefer to say things face to face and hadn't had that chance. I was happy to explain how I felt. I'm always one for getting things on the table.

We can walk around bitter about perceived slights, angry at deep hurts and painful neglects, but it us who carry this heavy baggage of anger, resentment or hate. Isn't it better to let it go? Unburden ourselves, or make peace with it?

For a long time I felt rejected by this ex-friend and it was hard to emotionally let it go. I pride myself on my friendships - my friends are my family - so losing one was devastating. More so than any of the past romantic relationships I had that went by the way side. Whilst I never want her back in my life - how could I trust her again? - I do forgive her. Because carrying hurt and sadness - that aint my bag. I'm a cheery person who wants a life filled with positivity and honesty. (I sound like a nutter don't I?).

Sorry to quote from Frozen (Christ, I've been to so many Frozen parties with Sproglette recently if I never hear that song again I won't be upset) but shouldn't we all just 'let it go?' Forgive even if we can't forget? Elle MacPhearson once said at parties she breathes in love and breathes out her fear. Forgive that friend that kissed your boyfriend, the neighbour who never gave back your scales, the Father who missed your graduation, the husband that stayed out until 7am on a school night. Even if you can't do it to their faces, do it inside YOURSELF. Take a load off. You might not mend bridges, you might not resolve old wars, but you sure as hell will find peace.



Anonymous said...

Thank you, I needed to read this today.

Crummy Mummy said...

My pleasure - hope it brought you some comfort. x