Archives for posts with tag: respect

Moments come and go. Whatever shit you’re having to wade through in life, it’ll pass. You can, of course, slow that process down some, by clinging to misery. I don’t recommend it. Take a breathe. Relax. Be in this moment, and let that one go.

Sometimes the flowers are tucked away behind the vines.

Sunny days come and go. Rainy ones, too. I’m just saying; this, too, shall pass. That’s real. Take a breath. Have a cup of coffee. Walk in the fresh air, among the trees, or under broad open skies.

“Human” isn’t always easy. Actually, quite the opposite seems to be the case; being human often seems needlessly difficult. Worse – we choose the difficulty level on the game of life, more often than we realize we do. We make specific, considered, deliberate choices to make the game so much harder. I’m not sure why that is. We could each do things quite differently than we often do…

…You can begin again. Let it go. Breathe. Start over. Just a thought.

My coffee is good. This moment is deliciously quiet, and gentle. Morning has not yet really gotten going. I’m okay with taking that slowly.

We each walk our own hard mile. We often don’t notice others suffering, and have little ability to place the suffering of others in the context of suffering generally; our own pain often feels like the worst pain, ever. “No one else could ever understand how bad this is…” We isolate ourselves from the support we are seeking, forgetting how common most of these human experiences actually are. We sometimes choose to withhold compassion and kindness, because we aren’t receiving it, ourselves. It’s weird how that works.

I sip my coffee and consider The Big 5. Respect. Reciprocity. Consideration. Compassion. Openness.

I could do better.

It’s time to begin again.

In December, 2015, shortly after I moved out from a shared living arrangement with my partners at the time (one of those being my “forever Love”, my Traveling Partner), I wrote the post below, which somehow I never published. No idea why now, seems a perfectly adequate bit of writing. Considering I would have likely been reluctant to cause drama for him with careless words, it may have been the concern that she might still be reading my blog had caused me a moment of doubt, some second thoughts, and into the Draft heap it went. Looking for a shortcut, or a way to jump start my thoughts, this morning, I found it, and read it with “new eyes”. 🙂

It Ain’t Me, Babe (December, 20th, 2015)

I spent much of the day in the company of my traveling partner. We had a great time, generally speaking, although he arrived burdened by hurt, and the OPD [Other People’s Drama] of his other, rather difficult, relationship. My place is a drama-free zone, and I welcomed him in with open arms when I opened the door on his unexpected knock. We watched cartoons – appropriate for a Sunday morning, I think – drank coffee, shared laughs, and lingered long in the warmth of cherished company. Lunch came and went. Eventually, when the gloom of evening suggested it might make an appearance some time soon, my partner went on ‘home’ – that physical space where he is currently sleeping at night.

I spent time contemplating things he said, the emotional content of his experience, and his distress. I thought back on moving here to Number 27 in May, and the heavy burden weighing me down thinking so much of what we were all going through was some how ‘my fault’ – that my chaos and damage ‘is too much’ for any relationship to endure. I put myself through a lot over it. Perspective being what it is, so much of that, then, didn’t actually have that much to do with me at all. It’s more obvious now. It’s a lot more obvious right now.

I continue practicing good practices, learning to love well, and incrementally over time I am becoming the woman I most want to be. It turns out, as things so often do, that I wasn’t ‘the bad guy’ in the complicated tangle of … yeah… all of that. And then some. I wasn’t ‘the guilty party’, or some sinister figure, I wasn’t even the charming antagonist of the tale, the one that you know is entirely wholly in the wrong but just so damned charming. I was – and am – just a person. A human being, subject to emotional volatility and misjudgment, prone to taking things personally and hurt feelings, and able to leap to tall conclusions with no data at all – all very true. Looking back on that living arrangement then, from the perspective of ‘right now’ – yeah. That? That wasn’t about me at all, not even a little bit. We were each having our own experience. We continue to do so, now.

It’s hard to watch human beings struggle, even from a distance, and especially when it’s someone dear. Like a commuter stuck in traffic worsened by an accident up ahead, I am torn between compassionate concern for the injured and my own experience of being inconvenienced along my way; in this case, the drama seems precisely timed to interfere with a lovely joyful holiday in the company of my dear love. It’s pretty hard to avoid taking it personally – but I am stopped in my tracks immediately, being far more concerned about my partner’s safety and well-being; caring for the hearts of real people and treating each other well on life’s journey is more important than any perceived destination, or any planned outcome.

I take a moment to also observe that my partner’s stress today and the particulars of his difficult circumstances didn’t set off my PTSD – that’s a small handful of words to describe something of great personal importance. It’s actually a pretty big deal to sit here, concerned about my partner and a bit worried, but also able to have that experience without being torn apart by my emotions, or so overwhelmed I can’t function or make use of reason. Neither agitated nor immobilized, I am simply aware. Incremental change over time is a thing. 🙂

I take some deep breaths, and make some time to let it all go for a while to meditate. I am okay right now. That matters. I am so much more able to provide a partner with the emotional support needed, when I am taking good care of myself… And there’s one thing I don’t know right now; I don’t know what comes next on this complicated journey, or how much of my strength will be needed on a moment’s notice. I’m ready with what I’ve got. It’s no small thing; it’s enough.

I’m feeling pretty fortunate this morning, and definitely wrapped in enduring love. It isn’t always the easy choice to walk away from a bad situation – for anyone. We cling to what we know. We cling to our illusion of Love, fearful that it may be all there really is. We cling to a promise in the face of our awareness of how human we are, ourselves. We cling to the thinnest hope – because the unknown, the real, and the unscripted outcomes of our own free will can be terrifyingly uncertain, and omg we do love certainty so very much. lol

I have 3 “X’s” – relationships so wrong for me, that there was actual danger to my life, health, safety, and emotional well-being. I am grateful that I walked away from each one, with as little damage as I did choose to endure. I phrase it that way because I did indeed make choices. Each subsequent poor relationship appeared promising at some point… each one also boasted huge red flags and “warning signs” that were more like full sized air raid sirens placed as ear muffs. I chose to look at the promises and ignore the klaxons, which is sort of odd, considering our minds are generally wired to avoid threats and danger, when recognized. It took me awhile to realize I needed to walk away.

“It wasn’t all bad…” my memory attempts to reflect on the best times in those relationships. Of course it wasn’t “all bad” – that’s why it was difficult. Nonetheless, 5 minutes of good times don’t balance the scales when what is on the other side are broken bones, a broken mind, or a broken heart. Just saying. One apology after another doesn’t change the behavior that created the need to make the apology.

I sip my coffee, considering all of it; a river of life and choices, a walking path, a journey that stretches behind me – I have come so far! The path leads ahead, too, and I don’t know what is beyond the next bend. Another challenge, surely. I hear my Traveling Partner’s soft breathing in the other room. We share space easily, and speak of contentment and joy together. It’s a nice life. It’s very early, now. I am awake, writing, drinking coffee, and he sleeps. We have our own ways, and don’t mind that about each other; where our hours and presence overlap, we exist in shared time and space. Where we wander from each other, we do what we do, and return home to share a traveler’s tales, and make merry. I silently wish him well in our safe haven, our wee corner of the world, and I wish him pleasant dreams of being ever wrapped in Love. I smile, sip my coffee feeling safe, and content.

Another day begins, and with it, I also begin again. 🙂

It’s a good morning. It was a lovely weekend. There’s not much else to say about either of those things. 🙂 I miss my Traveling Partner so much this morning; the weekend was delightful, romantic, connected, and satisfying. I sit here smiling to have a partnership with someone of such heart, intelligence, compassion, and competence… who loves me in return. Pretty splendid. 🙂

We didn’t just fall into this Love, of course; we built it. We built it on choices, using values, and verbs, and good communication. We treat each other well. We support each other. We set and manage our boundaries, each of us, and we each respect the other’s. We take delight in each other’s joy – even when we aren’t sharing it, even when it isn’t about us, even when we “don’t get it”; it matters most that the other person feels something so beautiful. We recognize they are having their own experience, and value each other’s agency as individuals. We nurture each other, and support each other’s goals, and each other’s work. Authenticity. Real respect. Reciprocity. Consideration. Compassion. Openness.

My “Big 5” values became most clear to me as I learned to understand what makes this particular relationship so profoundly good compared to others I’ve had. Respect, reciprocity, consideration, compassion, and openness are my Big 5 relationship values. I (now) build all of my relationships on a foundation that rests on these values. Why not? They are strong and steady, and foster solidly good relationships. Notice that “trust” isn’t there? Yeah… I am not convinced that “trust” is a strong value on which to build human relationships, personally. Honesty, sure, “trust? Not so much. I often hear tales of hurt, deceit, and woe, in which lost trust, or misplaced trust, or a lack of trust is a feature, and people somehow manage to feel fairly terrible that something they could have seen coming caught them by surprise. I’d prefer to know people, to see them as honestly as I can as who they actually are, based on behavior they actually provide, every day, as sample material. I don’t find it helpful to require people to affirm they are something other than they are; it only sets me up to be surprised and injured, when they turn out to be the person they have been all along. Better to see them clearly, accept them as they are, risks and flaws and all – and work to mitigate the potential harms in other ways, or walk on. For example: a friend known to gossip? Yeah… don’t share information or secrets with that person (and if they are doing you harm, are they a friend, in fact?). That’s a very simplified example, but it works with all sorts of character flaws.

Asking people to be someone they are not, however well-intended, then staying around to bear the consequences every time they disappoint us, or treat us badly, is one of the stupidest relationship models ever, of always (or so it seems to me). Choosing relationships with people who don’t share your values is fraught with complications and predictable painful moments. Sure, you can ask for change, demand it, even expect it; but the change is theirs to choose or to make. We make better choices when we are honest with ourselves about the people around us. Seeing them honestly, and recognizing who they are for real, without talking ourselves into anything, is a great beginning. I value authenticity… and real is still real if someone is really out of step with my values, but I don’t choose them for a partnership, or, maybe, any association at all, so there is real value in seeing people as they are as much as possible. If, for example, I know someone builds their life on deceit – why would I ever choose to become entangled with them romantically, however pretty they are, or funny, or willing to say nice words to me? Me, personally, I would not. It just doesn’t make sense to do that. I get the fuck out of there, fast, if it seems I have become involved with someone who’s relationship values, themselves, are so out of step with mine as to hold potential for emotional or physical injury. At least… I do now. It took practice, and a lot of self-reflection, and there were verbs involved.  🙂

The weekend with my Traveling Partner contrasted sharply with goings on in other lives, shared with me while catching up with this friend, or that one. Other People’s Drama. I listen. I can’t say I “understand”, exactly; I choose differently. I mean… I “get it”. I’ve been there. I’ve been the one hurt by lost trust… in the context of a relationship in which “trust” was a soap-bubble built on a fantasy that existed only in my head, in a relationship wherein a simple honest look around me would have told me the truth about all the lies. lol Yeah. I’m laughing. I’m laughing because crying about it is unproductive. Don’t like being lied to? Don’t make relationships with people willing to lie to you. Begging for their honesty and offering them your trust is… well, it’s what they’re counting on, because they are likely gonna lie to you, if that’s their way. Just saying. That’s how character works; people are who they are, based on the values they hold, themselves. Only. What they say to other people about their values is not relevant to the values they actually hold. The honesty I know I need to be able to “trust” most is my own. 😀

Not my circus, not my monkey. 🙂

This weekend, particularly, was super low drama; my partner and I enjoyed each other. Drama stayed outside our small world with each other. although there was plenty out there. It was a lovely break to share. Weekends do end, though… and… look at the time! It’s already time to begin again…

…You can too. You have choices. There are verbs involved. You can start again now – or any time. You’ll probably need practice; your results may vary. Choose wisely – you matter. 😉

 

I mean, it’s just a suggestion. However well you’ve human-ed, so far, do so just a little better today. You’ve had more practice. You’ve got more perspective. You’ve gained experience over time. So, how hard can it be to step up your game, just a smidgen, today, in comparison to all those days that have gone before?

I listen to the ssssshhhh ssssshhhhh of the traffic passing by on the road just in front of the house. Rainy morning? Sounds like it may be. I think about the day ahead. I consider it in the context of days to come, and days that have passed. I find myself thinking about the future, and my relationships – all sorts of relationships. My relationships with partners and metamours are “just the big ones”. Family, too, and those are sort of… inescapable parts of the social experience of living a human life. They tend to add a strangely random quality to my experience, simply because I don’t choose those in the same sense as I choose all the other relationships, and they bring along all manner of things I might have chosen to leave behind. All of us having our own experience, understanding the world, each of us, in the context of our own experience, filtered through our own strangely distorted lens. I think about friends. Associates. Buddies. Acquaintances. Dear ones of all sorts. New friends. Long-time friends. Friends “I don’t actually like” are rare for me, and I contemplate why that is, too. You are on my mind and in heart, today, humanity. 🙂

I could do better. I know more than I did yesterday. I am more skilled at life and love. I have accumulated some small amount of wisdom over time, always in limited supply, and I’ve put down a great quantity of baggage. I’ve given up my youth, but I’ve gained an immense appreciation for the chance to live life. Strange journey.

I could do better. I have opportunities in life, now, that I would not have recognized decades ago. I have new perspective. I care about things that I once could not fathom even being things, at all. I have learned the unavoidable weight and truth of privilege, and what unarguable social responsibility that brings.

I could do better. I’ve grown so much. Still… in spite of the growth, there is no question there is further growth ahead, and that I could still do more, better, more often, for more people, just generally. I could be kinder when I’m tired. I could be more understanding when I am frustrated. I could be more patient when I am pressed for time. I could be more considerate, more respectful, more open, more compassionate, more reciprocal – and every day this is true, when compared to the day before.

I guess I’ll begin again. 🙂

Sometimes life reminds me that I’ll be taking time for all the lessons – not just the ones I think I most want or need to learn.

Feeling well-loved takes many forms.

One of life’s least popular lessons, for me, has been subtle and regularly reinforced; we are each having our own experience. We walk our own hard mile. We see the world from the perspective we have. We work with what we’ve got. This is not subject to argument. It is what it is.

I learned another subtle lesson, some time ago, (and thankfully learned it most coherently through video content (Rick & Morty, mostly), rather than through heart-breaking personal tragedy); sometimes our “best” actions, our most willful intention to “do the right thing” still result in unavoidable suffering elsewhere, or a negative consequence that we are nonetheless responsible for. Again, it is what it is. Understanding that it is, may be the best route to mitigating such things in a way that lessens the negative outcomes in some way. Learn from the lesson. 🙂

I regularly learn (again, because, apparently, I forget?) how human I am, how fragile, how limited, how awkward, how fallible, how error prone… yep. All the things. So human. Being well-meaning? It’s not enough, far too often.

I’ve just finished the strangest weekend seminar in life’s university. lol There’s been coursework on Setting and Managing Expectations, Clear Communication of Boundaries, Building Healthy Relationships – that one was a pop quiz, and I’m pretty sure I flunked. I hope it gets graded on a curve. lol I think most of these are pretty essential life lessons (and skills), but I don’t think I’ll ever “master” any of them; there always seems to be one more opportunity to be more authentic, to speak more simply and clearly, to be more open, to be more compassionate, to show more respect, to be more considerate, to reciprocate more fully, to love more – and oh, my goodness, that one definitely matters most. Love more. Love first. Love a lot. There is so much to share with one another. We each have so much to give to the world.

…And…yes. There are mistakes to be made – because mistakes get made; we are human. We learn so much more from what went wrong than from what goes right. There are hurts that will be felt. There are needs that will go unmet. There are moments that will feel out of step. The wheel continues to turn. Speak up! Listen more. Really listen. No, seriously, shut up and really listen, most  especially if someone is saying they “don’t feel heard”. So much to learn to be skillfully human, to be beautifully, wonderfully, delightfully human, to be that human so profoundly content and emotionally well-developed that all the other humans rally around to bask in the warmth of comfort of that love… gotta have goals. I’ll keep studying. Keep practicing. Keep beginning again. 🙂