Thursday, July 05, 2007

Acceptance, Serenity, and Relationships: A Learning Process

Over the past few days I’ve had two situations where people have been very critical of me. This has led me to a serious struggle for acceptance, both of their having a negative view of me, and more troubling, how this has affected my relationships with others.

My first situation was at the reunion weekend. I received a number of questions about my future plans, and was letting people know some of my goals for the future. One of these situations took place around the dinner table, with my sister, with about 15 members of my family sitting around, including my nephew Eli, who I am crazy about.

Suddenly, my uncle began screaming at me that I should shut up, including some expletives I won’t include here, that I have always been a looser, and that until I actually accomplished something I had no right to speak about future plans. I asked him not to discuss this at the table, but he kept on going, until I finally left the table. He started in again the next night about me being a deadbeat, and I finally had a talk with him.

You see, I can accept that my uncle has negative views about me, and that he’s seen less than positive results from my past. It’s not for me to change his views, even though I don’t always agree that my past was as bad as he thinks it was. But either way, his views are his views, and I accept them. I don’t think it’s really his job to talk to me about them, but if he wants to, he has that right, and I accept that.

What I have trouble accepting is that he can embarrass me in front of my family, especially my nephew. I hope to be a positive influence in my nephew’s life, and to one day be a good role model for him. I know that will take work, but I am putting in that work. For my uncle to destroy my nephew’s view of me while embarrassing me in front of my family seems simply wrong and I have trouble dealing with this behavior.

The second situation involves a female friend, and the woman I love. We’ll call the female friend Linda, and the woman I love we’ll call Dana. The two of them were friends, off and on, for years. Linda would oscillate between treating Dana horribly and then extremely well, based on her needs.

In reality I suspect Linda cares little for Dana, and certainly doesn’t care at all for me, only really caring about herself. Linda is a great actress, and certainly makes people believe she really likes them, and she had me fooled for a long time, but all that changed when she had nothing more to gain from me. Then she turned on me as quickly as she had befriended me 6 months ago.

Right now, Linda has taken to lying to Dana about me in an effort to keep us apart. You know, I can accept Linda’s negative view of me, no problem; it’s her decision how she wants to see me. But telling these lies to Dana, knowing that they’re lies, trying to keep us apart, that is really difficult for me.

Today, she accomplished her goal. Dana and I were walking out of a meeting, and Linda called Dana. When Dana said she was with me, Linda said she wouldn’t talk to Dana if she were spending time with me, and hung up. She called back a few minutes later and had a 20 minute phone call trying to convince Dana not to spend time with me.

I got upset at Dana, which I feel tremendously bad about. For the most part, she really wasn’t at fault. I know if it were me, I would never entertain anyone who would try to tell me who I should or shouldn’t associate with, but Dana was right that I need to accept that she’ll see through the lies and not let Linda come between us. Meanwhile, I had lost all serenity from this situation, and had to remove myself from it.

I do love Dana, and want nothing but the best for her, whether that is with me or without me as a friend. And I accept that Linda has negative views of me, merited or unmerited, and that she has the right to have these feelings. But what I can’t accept is Linda trying to put a wedge in between Dana and I, and trying to keep us apart, especially with lies. That seemed like an attack, and just, for lack of a better word, unacceptable.

That’s where my issues lie: I am able to accept people’s views of me, which is a major leap forward for me. But I am unable to accept people trying to affect other relationships in my life. It’s an important discipline I need to learn if I am going to ever find true serenity in my life. In the mean time, I suppose it’s progress, not perfection, and hope people will be patient with me as more is revealed to me.

Posted by Scottage at 12:51 AM / | |