Last week I shared about the disappointment I felt in my life. Since then my inbox, comment section and phone has been filled with so much love and encouragement. There is no doubt that I have love, friendship, family and support in my life, but it also got me thinking... What led me here?
I noticed so many of you related to my experience and were going through a very similar season. Thank you for sharing your stories as well, it was nice to read other perspectives and learn about your experiences. As I spent the last week reflecting, I realized a few things.
This year has been the start of my journey in taking care of myself. I've been working since I was young, paid my way through University and was always taking care of everyone else. It was hard but I didn't mind it. I felt like I had a mission and a purpose. I'm glad I had to work hard and fight to survive, of course there were many days I wished I had a rich family or I wished someone could take care of me but having to work and take care of myself made me strong and resilient. Unfortunately, it also caused me to burn out. I was constantly trying to make everyone else happy. Wanting to serve others, to earn love and make my parents proud. I was too prideful to ask for help when I needed it and I thought I could just tough it out.
So when I needed care it wasn't really there. And the people I expected it from didn't notice or disappeared. Which led me to feel disappointed. But why did I expect anything in the first place?
I guess it comes down to how I define friendship. Some people define friendship as a companion, someone who is just around. But I've come to realize that I have a very different definition of what being a friend means.
I guess this is where I might have been in the wrong. I have always thought a friend as more than a companion. Someone to love and care for, share experiences both good and bad. Friends should respect one another, be honest, encourage and cheer each other on in this crazy journey of life.
But during the most difficult points in my life, I learned I had a handful of friends who were only takers. When I was at my lowest points with little or nothing to give, they were gone. Whenever I was back on my feet they were back to take.
As I started seeing the pattern through the ups and downs of my life during the last few years the true colors of some of these friends were revealed, it broke my heart. Some friendships that lasted almost a decade. Gone. Friends I had loved on and cared for years and years. Gone. I felt betrayed, used and beyond disappointed.
But maybe these friends were never meant to give me anything other than companionship during my good seasons. Through some of those friendships I learned to love, care and most importantly, I learned to forgive. They say we should love without expecting anything in return and I failed. I expected the same amount of love and care. I expected them to return what I had given.
So now I'm trying not to be disappointed and I'm trying to move on. I don't want to be angry or hurt anymore. We have different friends for different reasons and we can't expect all our friends to have the same exact values and character. This year I've been blessed with friends I didn't expect to love on me so much, step up and show me love I could not imagine. I may even disappoint those friends one day by not loving them in return as much as they have loved me.
I guess this is the first time in a long time that I'm at peace with these distanced friendships.
Almost feels like a breakup. I feel like I went through the 5 stages of grief... denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It's hard when you break up with friends but like I said, different friends for different seasons. This separation has also allowed room for new friends.
I've also been reminded that you can't earn love and you shouldn't try to earn love. Just love with no expectation and unconditionally because you are loved.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9