Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I will meet you there

I talked with a fellow I sponsor about the difficulty of having relationships with those who no longer seem to be on the same wave length.  People change as a result of their life experiences.  And old relationships that once seemed so steady and fulfilling can become stale.  It is easy then to fall into a trap of resentment.

I think that it's a misconception that having a relationship with another human being means happiness and concordance all the time.  Nurturing a relationship certainly takes selflessness, patience and tolerance, even when I may not feel those things.

I don't want to live in solitude or isolate from others.  Yet, I find that I am often disappointed by people.  That is the risk in human relationships.  Maybe it is a sign of growth in myself that I can see the differences, but equally important for me is to understand more about myself and how I relate to others.  I would like to focus on our similarities, rather than go on a fault finding mission.

I know that I am tolerant of differences in people.  How they look, what they wear, their financial status,  where they live are not important to me.  I have a need to connect with people at a deeper level than what the exterior shows.  When I think about all the people who are in my life today,  I wonder sometimes how well I really know them.  But I do believe that we learn from each other, although we may travel on separate paths.

One of my character defects is having expectations that far exceed the abilities of most humans.  I fall short of my own expectations, so there is no need to wish others to be perfect.  Lessons in patience and tolerance are everywhere in my life today: Listening to elderly people tell me the same thing over and over; frustration with friends who are no longer attending meetings; wishing that others made different choices.  But I don't think the people in my life are here out of simple randomness.  There was something within me that was drawn to others.  I am sure that the attraction I felt for my wife was not coincidence.  The close friends I have are those that I connected with at some deeper level.  The lock and key of relationships fit for a reason.

Although I may be tolerant around those I know superficially, I found by doing my inventory that I had little tolerance for those with whom I loved the most.  My tolerance around the alcoholics in my life was low.  I found fault with so much.  Once I owned up to my part in things,  I was able to see that we learn from and teach each other.

Some of the people who may be the most difficult can be great teachers.  That is something that I struggle with.  There is a fine line between accepting unacceptable behavior and having limits to tolerance.  I do my best not to discount my intuition and reserve the right to be wary before trusting everyone. If a red flag goes up, I had best not ignore it.  Yet, I do believe that it is possible to overcome differences and for us to meet somewhere on level ground.

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” ~ Rumi


  1. heyyy . . Started following your blog today . . Am deeply moved by the things you write. . .

    Yes, the lock and key of relationships fit for some reason. . .
    But still sometimes relationships cannot be stretched . . . It's like elastic, it can only stretch that much, beyond which it breaks. . . And that is when we should know that this was not meant to be. . . This would be my 'red flag'. .

    Maybe am talkin so sick coz i have hard some hard times in my relations. Cant say . . .

    Anyways . . Good luck to you and your wife.
    God Bless :)
    p.s. I love Rumi :)

  2. I was going to say how "blow away I was by the relevance of this post for me today"....but I just had a thought. Maybe you talking about what is weighing most on my thoughts is no coincidence at all. Maybe this is my HP moment. Thank you Syd, this is a struggle I can't navigate alone.

  3. Ah, you are a better person than I, Syd. Okay, if it is someone I love deeply and have committed to, I will be there forever unless something very horrible goes wrong.
    BUT, even good friends whom I finally realized are not in the relationship on anywhere near an equal basis? I cannot do that any more. And my life feels so much freer and I can concentrate on doing for and being with the ones I love who are always there for me too.

  4. I think when you lose a child you ... go off to this strange place no one can reach most times.

    It's hard to explain. Maybe it's a character defect. I want to live in solitude and isolation.


  5. Actually, I think most relationships are superficial..work, neighbors, people I see every day at the gym..

    I have maybe 10-12 people who really know me. And who I really know on a deep level.

    And I'm good with that!

  6. "the lock and key of relationships fit for a reason".... love that. I would rather focus on similarities than faults too. Seems like once I go on a fault finding mission, that's ALL I see. Not a good mission to embark on.

  7. The only true relationship I will ever have is with my higher power, for better or worse.

  8. a good message,thank you for sharing it.

  9. Boy, Carol nailed it for me, with her one true truth. Of course, since God can be found in everybody, there is that relationship to nurture, share with, learn from and teach--all at once.

    I cannot forget that we are all very alike on some level. Syd you write really good! Your honesty however, is what makes it shine for me. Thank you!

    Oh. Rumi quote is perfect. PG agreed, said, "WOW!"

  10. relationships are hard, they take work and often it involves us looking inside ourselves at what we need to work on to make them better...

  11. Before recovery, I trusted no one, would open to know one, and generally drive anyone close to me crazy.

    So grateful for the steps, how they pointed me at a power greater than myself, and in doing so I could see myself as I really was and then start the work to change that.

    The best thing about recovery is I have my relationships back, the hardest thing about recovery is I have my relationships back. But, wow, both sides of the paradox are important.

  12. I have been married a long time and many times thought it was broken beyond repair. Today, 2 years in Al-Anon, I am very grateful to be in this relationship, I have grown much and have a long way to go. Life on life's terms and knowing my HP is right there with me helps see my life with gratitude. I needed to here this today, I LOVE HP moments!
    I found your blog 2 years ago, thanks for your honest sharing.

  13. This is really a hard one. Taking care of yourself and listening to red flag alarms, and still being able to allow for differences in people especially the ones you are in close relationships with, whew.

  14. This was so good Syd. Thank you for teaching me today. It's what I so needed to hear...

  15. Coping with our relationships with the other people in our lives, whether they are drinking or not drinking, is hard. There have been times when I have been mistreated and I've wanted to permanently end my associations with a loved one. Instead I walked away for a period of time that was not forever. Often with my spouse I have wondered if we were wise to marry. We have both grown and changed in different ways, but I have stayed in the marriage. I question things, but I seem to come up with the answer that I am in the right place, with the right person. Not everyone gets that answer I think. It is wise to question from time to time. I wish you luck in finding your answers.

  16. Thanks, Syd, and everyone for your insights. I'm reminded that friendships, like other aspects of our lives, have seasons--they shift, change, grow, die down, some revive, some are ok just letting dormant. My biggest struggle is staying with relationships where people aren't working a program. I'm quick to find fault. But I also know that it's ok if those "faults" are unacceptable for me and how I want to live my life. What were once close friendships with some, I now see were based on gossip. Others based on my co-dependency--people pleasing, mainly. As I've changed my ways of being and behaving, those friendships have weakened--I don't have much to contribute when I don't gossip or when I'm not out to please folks anymore (or as much as I used to, anyway). As long as I know I'm doing the next right thing, with love, kindness, and integrity, then I'm ok and so is that relationship--or the letting go of it.

  17. Lots to think about in your post and these comments. Perhaps it is my HP keeps guiding me back to your blog for a reason (I've been reading for over a year). Yesterday I selected this exact Rumi quote to add to my favorite quotes. What Indistinct commented about seeing yourself as you really are for the first time and working to change that really hits home too. Blessings to you and your family and many friends.

  18. My couselor told me once that relationships are like canoes we each have our own and paddle next to each other and then sometimes we are going different directions. I liked that visual. Nothing very stays the same.

  19. You have a truly insightful blog, a pleasure to visit x


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