Have you ever felt wronged or devalued or drifted from someone you cared about? We can all think of AT LEAST one relationship that has ended that we think about- friendship, romantic relationship, family, a coworker, you name it.
Our lives are like the tide- there will be high tides and low tides. The key to managing the low tides is expecting them. Plan for them. Emotionally plan for them. When you add other people into the mix, it can be a circus.
As the years pass, I am reminded of how beautiful, yet difficult, life can be. We all grind and push to just live; do well in school, kick ass at our jobs, take care of ourselves (mentally and physically), be a decent person- just doing your best. All while trying to be a good friend, spouse, daughter, son, mother, father, sister, brother and so on.
I have learned that nothing is perfect and it never will be. You can be the best friend or sister and in your mind, you’re a rockstar. But, little do you know, the other person isn’t happy. You ask yourself “why!?” What we fail to realize going into any situation is that people have their own issues, their own battles, etc. We always assume that the problem is us (and maybe it is), but having a mature understanding of the situation is always key. Here is mental checklist whenever I’m presented with an issue:
- Listen and digest.
- What is the core issue?
- Have I done something that I am not aware of doing?
- If yes, then without being argumentative, apologize tactfully.
- If no, present the facts and position yourself calmly. Never react with emotion (you’ll always regret it later).
- Ask yourself, “have I done my best and have my actions been genuine?”
- If yes, then no matter how that person reacts is their issue. At that point, you will know that that individual holds demons that you cannot wrangle. This should provide you peace.
- If no, then refer back to #4. Apologize sincerely and tactfully.
- Make sure both parties are on the same page. A great way to do this is putting yourself in his/her shoes and vice versa. THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO UNDERSTAND OTHER PEOPLE. All caps for a reason!
- Lastly, always express (say the words out loud) your love for that person. People need to be reminded of this more than anything in bad situations. Does’t matter if it’s your fault or theirs.
- Note: none of this matters if you don’t care or love that other person. If that’s the case, then disregard this list.
- Remember: it only takes one person to turn the situation around. If you both get stuck in the emotion, you’ll never reach a healthy solution.
The key in any situation is always being the bigger person. Always show maturity and never, never, NEVER react on emotion! I have been in many situations in my past where I have been fired up on emotion because someone challenged me, disrespected me, hurt me, or deliberately pushed me to the edge. This is a VERY difficult task to master because in the situation your blood rushes to your head, you shake, you can feel your pulse across your forehead- you could crush a car, you’re so angry. But reacting in this manner goes against all metaphysical laws. When our ego is involved, we can be nasty people. There have been practices created to address handling these situations for a reason. Here are a few to keep in mind: not saying the first thing on your mind!, counting to ten while taking three strong deep breaths, not responding. Yes, I said to not respond. You can always walk away and consciously decide how you will respond (if you decide to respond at all). You can’t take away words. Remember that. And listen, I have a terrible temper (known as a firecracker), so if I can practice this, so can you.
I’ll briefly tell a quick example: I used to be friends with a girl who I once called my sister. Seriously, she was every bit of a part of me as if we shared the same blood. We had been acquaintances since elementary school, but we became the best of friends our senior year in high school. We had about a year and a half of a falling out shortly after high school over a misunderstanding. When I tried showing concern for her risky and dangerous behavior, she took it as me being a bitch. Fair enough- I do give tough love, so I understood. But, what I should have done is reached out to her and further explained myself and reminded her that it all came from love. However, unfortunately, I didn’t. My solution at the time was “if she didn’t understand, then that was her problem.” Mistake number one. It is always healthy to re-explain yourself (calmly). If the person is yelling and upset, responding softly is key. We ended up reconnecting 18 months later and I met her son for the first time. Ironically, she ended up telling me that she was wrong for cutting me off after me having her best interest at heart. We picked up exactly where we left off and had a pretty good friendship for the next couple of years (so I thought). In my eyes, I was her best friend all over again. When I moved away, I drove home 1-2 times per month to visit her. I attended all of her wedding festivities and was one of her bridesmaids on her big day! I made her a priority that was undeniable. Unfortunately, not in her eyes. It didn’t take long for a similar fall out. Neither of us had learned what was intended for us to learn years prior. It has now been a little over six years since we last spoke. And that last conversation was an ugly one. There was another misunderstanding and when she hit me with the “you’re so selfish” statement, I lost it. I felt drained by giving her all that I could in that friendship. I had a lot of personal issues going on at the time (I had started my life over and putting the pieces back together) and the one person I felt I could rely on the most said I wasn’t doing enough. Now, of course, this is my side of the story, but I only have my side to explain. The only thing I wish I had done differently is how I handled the conversation. If this had happened today, I would have very calmly said “I’m sorry that you feel that way. In my eyes, I have done my very best in making this friendship work. If my best is not good enough for you, then I wish you the best. I love you, I always have, but I love myself more than to allow something like this to happen with the one person who should never doubt me.” End of story.
We are all human. We all have emotions. We all have a past that has molded us into the complex individuals that we are. However, what we have absolute control over is being good people and living life with the best of intentions for ourselves and those in it. Respectfully showing love and nurturing those relationships are the best things we can do. And you know- today, my friends turn to me for advice like “Nicole, what would you do in this situation?” I have experienced quite a challenging life (all relative, I know), but that makes it all worth it. Speaking from experience and being able to help others. It’s an amazing feeling!
For the first time in my life, I have the best friendships, the best relationship with my family and my significant other. I truly believe that it is because I have found peace in every situation in my life. I am okay and thankful for every decision I have made and for putting myself first. In addition, always doing the right thing. If I go into every situation with a clear mind and react consciously, it will always turn out for the best for all parties. And I will tell you, good relationships with those in your life are extremely important. If you don’t see it now, you will. You can’t just be stuck in a romantic relationship all alone. You need friends, you need your Mama and your Pops, etc. I have girl’s trips, trips with my man, trips with my family, conversations on the daily with all of them. It’s truly magic. Life is about balance and I have found that perfect balance. Never being selfish, but always putting yourself first. Balance. Self care- condition your hair, moisturize, routine health checkups, anti-wrinkle cream, keep your ass in the gym (but have the piece of warm apple pie), wear that sunblock, keep your passions alive (dancing, piano, reading, writing), loving on your dog child, thanking the Universe, and routine alone time with your significant other!
So, go out there and be the rockstar that I know you can be! *Fist pump