It’s been said that, in the most difficult times, you will see the true colors of those you care about. This can be interpreted in both a positive and a negative light, and throughout my life, I have seen both sides. I believe in the power of positivity, so I will begin by sharing the bright side of this enlightening quote.
I’ll be the first to admit that being on the receiving end of support is unfamiliar terrain for me, and not exactly on my list of favorite places to be. Since life has a way of turning itself upside down, and every which direction it could take, sometimes there isn’t much choice in the matter. 2014 has been a year of major curveballs being thrown full-force at my head, so I would definitely classify a good portion of it as dark, and even sinister at times. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and in keeping with my “find a positive aspect to every situation” attitude, I am grateful for the strength I’ve gained and have big plans for utilizing it in 2015.
But what’s most important to me, and what I have focused on are the people who have shown their concern and compassion in my time of need. It was throughout this year of major challenges that I found who truly cares and means what they say when they offer “I’m here if you need anything.” I learned who would stick around when the circumstances aren’t the most convenient or comfortable, when all I had to offer was my company, in its rawest, most vulnerable form.
For me, it was the ones who showed up without being asked. Those who listened when I needed to talk, vent, cry, or scream. Those who respected my privacy when I didn’t want to talk or share, who didn’t drill me with questions or feel a sense of entitlement to my personal business. Those who put up with my moodiness and out-of-character unfiltered outbursts of frustration and angst. Those who managed to make me laugh when I didn’t even feel I had a smile within me. Those who took the time to listen to the things I wasn’t saying, and still reminded me of my strength, determination, and willpower.
Those who know me enough to understand the significance of what I’ve already accomplished and overcome in my life, and reminded me of those things. Those who reassured me with confidence that the best is yet to come. Most of all, those who were there when there was nothing more to do but just sit with me in silence while I was at my “rock bottom” worst. I am forever moved by and will never forget their kindness, compassion, and unconditional acceptance. Gena Rowlands summed it up perfectly in Hope Floats: “My cup runneth over.”
Then there is the not-so-bright side of this life lesson. Finding out there are those who will offer their support or help without any real intention of giving it. If it’s not convenient or comfortable for them, they run in the opposite direction, finding every excuse they can to avoid the situation. If it’s not something that serves or puts them in the center of attention, then they have no genuine interest in being there. People who want to know what’s going on with you, not out of genuine concern, but out of curiosity and/or plain old nosiness. People who don’t respect your privacy and think your information should be broadcast to others because they are desperate for a topic of discussion and/or gossip. The people who don’t “get it,” and never will. It’s a sad reality to face, but one that is also enlightening and freeing in its own way.
One of my most engrained life theories is that there is a purpose or reason, a “why” behind everything we do, and that everyone is fighting some battle I may know nothing about. This theory has helped me to be more patient and understanding of others, but I’ve never perceived it as an excuse for bad behavior. Being someone who always attempts to see the good in everyone, I once believed that others, especially the ones who I thought cared, were willing to do the same for me as I have done/would do for them. While initially I was disgusted and angry at the revelation that took place, I quickly chose to let that negative energy go. Not only to avoid falling prisoner to a dark emotion that wreaks havoc on all in its path, but because the last thing I needed at such a difficult time was more negative energy. At the end of the day, the “why” doesn’t matter and no explanation will change the way things transpired. So I chose to forgive those trespasses and instead take away a valuable life lesson for moving forward. Now equipped with the knowledge of who really cares and who is just taking up space, I have adjusted both my priorities and approach to others accordingly.
I am blessed to have a few in my inner circle who not only reminded me to have faith in the light I couldn’t quite see at times, but who chose to walk alongside me in my journey towards brighter days. As I move forward in this walk, soon to be run, of life, 😉 I know exactly where my time and efforts will be spent. For those wonderful souls (you know who you are) – from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you have done and continue to do. I hope you know, when the time comes, I will be there before you can think to ask.