I had been searching spiritually for a while. I joined a church and began singing in the choir. I began a time of growth and inner healing. Sometime during that time, the wife of one of the choir members called me. I vaguely remember meeting her. She said she had been led by God to call me. She felt we were meant to be friends. I was a little taken aback, but who was I to question or argue with God?
We began a friendship. We connected on many levels. We enjoyed each others company. I had never really had a woman friend before and it was nice. It lasted for a couple of years. And then things changed.
I have always been an insecure and shy person. I never felt like I was normal. I never felt like I was the same as the rest of the world. I always had one foot barely touching life and the other one lagging behind, unsure if I belonged and not wanting to intrude.
I lost three people in the span of six months one year. One was my pastor who moved away. One was a close friend who changed the parameters of our friendship. The third was the death of my father. These three happenings rocked my world. I put on a brave face but inside fell apart. I did 9 months of grief counseling and therapy and learned a lot about myself and grew stronger. I learned how to cope with day-to-day things and with my perception of myself and my place in the world.
This friend changed. She was also insecure in many ways and when her husband left her, she became needy. There is nothing wrong with that. We all are needy sometimes and depend on others to help us make it out to the other side.
The problem was, I had so many of my own problems and was just learning how to survive as a somewhat sane person that I couldn’t take on the burden of coping with her problems also. I had to withdraw emotionally from her to protect myself. I could give of myself in many ways and be supportive to someone else, but when the giving became a drain on my emotional well-being, I had to look out for myself first. It was a difficult choice and I felt selfish. I learned an important lesson that day.
We all live in the world. There are people around us constantly. Co-workers, family, passers-by, all touching us, and in the touching, take energy from us in one way or another. Some are intentional and others are totally innocent. It is the way life works. Life is touching and being touched by others. We choose how much or how little we share of ourselves when we interact with others.
I learned early in life to keep a wall of distance up at all times to protect myself. But when you open up to others and let them into your life, you open the door to yourself and allow them to see you. When they want too much, or more than you want to share, it can be hurtful or damaging. I reached that place and had to put up a wall of distance, this time physically.
The people we share life with give us completeness and strength that we depend on, sometimes without realizing it. But there are always limits. Be sure to look out for your own emotional well-being. Don’t be afraid to say no. In your giving, don’t forget to give to yourself.
When I choose to write, I am sometimes surprised at what falls out. This is one of those times. That’s what makes the journey so interesting. It is always changing, and there is always something to learn. See ya next time…
And the journey continues…