I pretty much stand by my decisions and what and how I said what I said with that conflict I last wrote about.
But I have spent most of my life wondering how to balance being an empathetic, caring person with not allowing yourself to be walked on. In general, I always try to give a person the benefit of the doubt. I always believe in forgiveness, in trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, in trying to make the world a happier, more positive place with your interactions with people.
A lot of this feeling comes from my belief in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, which stresses the innate nobility of humankind.
“Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.”
I believe trying to act nobly, as we were meant to, involves not thinking of yourself first all the time, in every conflict. It involves allowing people to slip up and recognizing when you have slipped up, or when you could have handled something better.
We are so imperfect as people. I’m not pretending that I have handled every conflict, or even this one, in the best way. But how different might the situation have ended up had I decided to discuss my feelings on the phone rather than by email, since motive and inflection can be lost in writing? I’m terrible with confrontation and I’ve tended to avoid it for most of my life.
Since having kids I’m changing. I’ve often felt that, when I was younger, my instinct to solve conflicts might have gotten muddled with an effort to please others at the expense of being true to what I believe in or defending my point of view. So I felt that if a friend of mine is pushing an issue, rather than letting it go when I told her I didn’t agree (and she did push it– in the original conversation she kept bringing it back up so I just changed the subject), than I owed it to the friendship to get it off my chest, explain my point of view, and let us move on from it.
It didn’t end well, and I still have to find where myself and my belief in doing the right thing– meaning being loving, forgiving, understanding, humble– stands in this mess.
I even wonder if my old friend knew how easily I used to let people walk all over me and that I’d just suppress that what they said annoyed me, and figured that she could say whatever she wanted to me and I’d get over it. Maybe she didn’t bargain for me deciding to just cut her out of my life. Or maybe she doesn’t even think what she says was that bad or different from what I said.
I felt like I was talking about facts, critisizing what she said, and not her as a person. I don’t feel I was paid that same respect.
So where does that leave me morally?
I don’t know that I’ve ever just decided I don’t want to be friends with someone before in my entire life. I’ve always tried to fix everything. So my heart continues to get twinges of guilt that I’m not trying to fix this and that I emailed her and told her that I didn’t care for us to maintain a friendship since she has made it clear what she thinks of my choices in life and my intelligence.
Defensive? Yes. Hurt? Yes. Called for? Probably. I could let my ego go for a moment and decide to try to salvage this. But where would it lead me? That entirely depends on how she reacts to me trying to make up.
That is why I think I’m sticking to just ending the friendship. I don’t want to deal with any more negativity and personal insults. I don’t need to be bummed out and irritable around my kids for somebody else, and that is how I felt the past few days.
Maybe the line between not getting walked on and being a spiritual, calm, forgiving person doesn’t mean I have to be best friends with someone I have nothing in common with and who will undoubtedly not bring out the best in me if I was to keep communicating with her. But I’m not going to hold a grudge or say that we won’t ever speak again (I think that is the stupidest thing people say when they are angry). And if this person ever, truly, needed something I’d still be there.
She doesn’t know that since she doesn’t appear to be talking to me either. Geez, this really is like a breakup. Wondering if the person still cares. Double-checking to see if she’s emailed. haha… maybe I shouldn’t admit all this to the public! Makes me seem silly I guess.
Anyway, all I know is its just another experience that reminds me that I have to stick up for myself and my kids, that it doesn’t matter if anyone believes me about what my family is dealing with, and that I still, everyday, have to work for being the type of person I think it’s important to be.
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility. 28
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 285)