We've all heard the expression good; "Bad things happen to good people."
We have also seen, and probably experienced, unfortunate or untimely events that cause a little havoc. We expect a certain amount of struggle in this journey called Life, but every once in a while something happens that truly hurts our hearts.
We work so hard, love, give, sacrifice and then out of the blue, someone still chooses to cause pain or leave.
No reason. No fault of yours. Just simply no more.
How do we deal when this happens and we don't know why?
DNA and a bloodline do not guarantee respect, loyalty or even love. Often the deepest wounds are inflicted by a family member.
It could be an ungrateful child who turns their back on parents. Or sibling rivalry gone too far. Maybe a mother or a father was not prepared to be a parent and made serious mistakes.
These are just a few examples of how family can hurt us.
We grow up hearing sermons, listening to songs and reading advice on the importance of family and how special it is. And it is. To many people, but not to everyone, and not in every situation.
If you have found yourself a broken limb from the family tree, I'm sorry. We can't choose our family and it isn't always easy to distance ourselves either.
My suggestion, though, is to give yourself permission to do what is best for you. Do not give in to anyone who insists you must forgive and forget and pretend all is ok. Forgive, yes. You do that for yourself. Forget; maybe, if you can. Put it behind you is a better way to phrase that. I would never advocate for pretending all is ok.
You do not have to attend every family function if they will be there, but in the rare event you feel you must attend, take the high road. Avoid confrontation. Go (and stay) with your support system and leave when you have fulfilled your obligation.
Also, never let the presence of another intimidate you. If you WANT to go, show up with bells!
Family is great, and cherish the ones who have your back and provide unconditional love.
On the flip side, distance yourself from the ones who use, abuse or lose the right to your affections.
Ah, friends. Your loyal band of compadres. You share secrets, memories, a thirst for the same type of adventures and a common, unbreakable bond. Or so you thought.
How devastating is to find out a close friend betrayed a confidence? Or was telling lies? Maybe they just faded off into the sunset without a reason or a goodbye?
True friendship is a powerful thing. I'm not saying all friends aren't great, but you should definitely know the difference between casual friends/acquaintances and lasting friendship. It is a choice, but unlike many romantic relationships, is built to sustain the ups and downs of the long haul.
You pour your heart and soul into theirs and vice versa. You know the good, the bad and the take-to-your-grave secrets. You are so sure of their place in your life, and then the unthinkable happens.
Human nature is a fickle companion. Just when you think you know someone, they turn the tables on you. And in so many cases, there is no point of origin for their change of heart. More likely than not, it has nothing even to do with you.
Having a friend betray you is a pain from which there is little relief
I know, not exactly the solution you wanted to hear. Unfortunately, though, it just takes time.
The worse thing you can do is run after them, or push for answers. Chances are, they don't even know themselves why they made certain choices.
On second thought, maybe revenge is the worse thing you can do, and is probably the first thing people think about. Don't. It's a bad idea.
Never lower yourself to another's standards or failings. Do not share their secrets or look for ways to hurt them. I know this is difficult advice, but I can promise you the high road is where you want to travel. Always.
I do think you should be quick to correct any falsehoods and set the record straight with those that matter. It's not your goal to convince strangers of the truth, because they will believe what is in their selfish interest to believe, but you absolutely should stand up for yourself.
Tell your truth, face their truth, and then walk on away.
If they come back and ask for forgiveness, well, that's entirely up to you and the offense. I would caution to be careful in sharing department and keep a bit of insulation around your heart.
If someone just simply walks away, let them go. You didn't buy (or own) their friendship with yours. If they are unwilling to invest in you, it's not your fault. We all need different things (and people) at various points of our lives and we typically have no idea what another is going through.
Cherish your friends and treat them as the treasures they are. Also, hold them loosely, as their position in your life is on them. Do not measure your worth by their decisions.
In this last section, I want to briefly talk about love interests that fade away.
I'm not going to use this blog to discuss the heartbreak of a committed relationship that comes to an end. That is a topic for another time.
For today, I want to mention the bittersweet decision when someone chooses not to pursue a relationship.
It happens more often than you think. Online dating has opened a world where more and more people are meeting and while it is true that many never make it to, much less past, the first date, there are many situations where only one person is truly interested.
Even though the invested time may be limited, it is still a blow to your self-esteem when someone has captured your interest, but they want to continue their search without you. You wonder what happened? Did you say something wrong, do something stupid, remind them of an ex?
Honestly, it could be anything, and the truth is, it doesn't really matter does it? You should know yourself well enough to know if you committed a true faux pas. Most likely, you didn't.
Chances are, for either one, or a million, little reasons, you are just not the right one for them at this time. This is NOT a reflection on you, your worth, your looks, your situation, your goals. You could have made the perfect first impression, and it still not be right.
My only hope is that they had the maturity and class to let you know. And if they did (or if it happens in the future) accept it with that same maturity and class. Be grateful for their honesty and chose to move on with grace.
The reality is despite best efforts and loving intentions, sometimes life still hurts.
It's an imperfect world filled with imperfect people.
Put forth your best effort anyway and continue to love intentionally.
Hope With Abandon
J. Hope Suis is an inspirational writer and relationship specialist with over 20 years of experience in single-parenting, dating, relationships, and a phrase she coined as “Solitary Refinement”, which is simply a season of being single to grow and develop as an individual. She has been cited [...]