I have been through many transitions in the last decade of my life. I will be turning 40 this month and I have been taking inventory of my life up to this point. Re-evaluating what I have accomplished so far, what I hope to accomplish in the future and the changes I may need to make to get there. I also have learned one very valuable quality in past few years, the art of accepting. To be able to accept myself and be happy with where I am right now in life. To not constantly dwell on the what ifs of the past or the goals of the future, but just be in the now. I have also learned the art of truly accepting others. My relationships with friends, family and my significant other have reached a point of true unconditional love that I have not fully realized before and this comes from accepting. However, with all of that been said, it brings me to a bit of a down side to becoming more accepting. Sometimes we must accept the fact that no matter how hard we try to be supportive to some people in our lives they may never grow to the level we hope to see them. We outgrow people and in the process sometime we try to change them but in the end we have to accept them for who they are and where they are at in life.
I do believe that relationships all have seasons, some may last a lifetime of seasons and some may be just a summer love or a close friendship that we encounter during a difficult time in our lives. In the end, all of them are important in creating who we become. I have had a friendship that has faded in and out of my life for about 12 years now and I often question why I am still friends with this person. Usually friendships, like any relationship, have a give and take that is easily understood between the people in it. So as I re-evaluate my friendship with her I realize that I seem to put forth an effort consistently with advice and listening to her but I ask myself what am I getting from this? Now, let me clarify, when I say that we all get something out of a relationship, I mean a healthy relationship is usually friends calling each other to talk and listen about their lives, making lunch or dinner plans with each other, inviting each other to special events. My struggle with this particular friend is things are a bit one sided and though she may want my advice she rarely applies it.
Should I simply accept my friend for exactly who she is even when I see she is making the same mistakes over and over? Accepting is a hard process in situations like this. I have told her my thoughts in previous situations and after years of her not taking my advice she was hurt very badly and finally moved on from a guy in her life. Basically, I realize that some people just have to learn the hard way. Now I see her in another life situation where I am trying to advise her and I feel de-ja-vu. So I stop and ask myself, why am I so anxious over this? It isn’t my life. These choices will not effect me. If she isn’t learning from her past mistakes then that is her problem, I have enough to deal with in my own life. So is part of accepting others simply coming to point of just getting exhausted to the fact that you might as well be talking to a wall? They ask your advice but rarely take it and then later tell you that they should have listened.
Accepting others for exactly who they are, good, bad and the ugly, can be very hard but I have brought it in to perspective for myself. When I feel myself wanting to step in and be the voice of reason with my friend I stop myself. I no longer put as much effort in to her life but instead focus on where I can make a difference in my own life. I turn my focus inward and ask myself what I can be doing better and where I may be repeating some of the same mistakes over and over in my life. In this process I have found that discussing my personal progress has made a big impression on my friend. By practicing what I preach I have proved that positive changes can be made and that actions really do speak louder than words. In turn I have also realized that I am happier when I am not worrying myself over someone else’s issues. By accepting others for who they are you are releasing yourself from responsibility for who they are and that is pretty freeing. Sometimes we feel protective over our friends and want to guide them like we may do a child but that is not a true friendship. We are all in this together and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, if we just focus on our own path and support each other on those paths life really gets much easier.
Love, happiness, health and acceptance,