“You continue to receive what you continue to tolerate.” That’s a quote a friend told me this weekend while we were on a business trip, and it exemplifies so much about what I’ve been working through and moving past. I tolerated so much negativity from so many people for so long that, even though I couldn’t see it this way at the time, it was partially my fault for how bad things got for a while because I let people treat me like I didn’t deserve kindness and respect.
I can’t control karma. I can’t make people face the horrible things they say and do and that was very hard for me to deal with and accept because it made me feel so powerless for so long. But there are always consequences even if we can’t control them for others, karma is the most natural part of life. It’s literal science. What comes up must come down. What you put out to others is what comes back to you. I’ve seen karma work so heavily to make up for the past, but I also realize now that karma is only part of it. I didn’t change myself as a person one bit, but what I did change was my willingness to accept anyone in my life who treats me with less respect, kindness, and consideration than I deserve. That freed up so much room for so many wonderful people to come into my life.
I’ve learned to trust my gut and not “punish myself” for knowing when someone is being shady toward me. It’s one thing to make a vow not to allow anyone to treat me poorly, but it’s another to recognize it and push it away from myself especially when it’s someone I do genuinely care about. Recently, I’ve been getting a very shady vibe from a friend I’ve known for years. This is someone whom I’ve had many fairly extreme ups and downs with, and the thing is, I know her pretty well, at least well enough to know how she, as a person, generally operates. At first, when I started feeling that “shady” vibe I actually tried to invalidate my own feelings by saying to myself”I shouldn’t feel this way” and “I’m just being paranoid” to myself, but that’s an old, bad habit. I also know how she would react if I were to confront her with my suspicions, and it would only cause me to feel more frustrated. I talked to someone about this issue this week who has a lot of the same struggles I do, the same person who told me the wonderful quote this blog started with, and she helped me remind myself that I can’t excuse my instincts. They exist for a reason. They are trying to keep me from going down a path that will only lead to me being hurt. I need to listen to and trust my instincts, compare them to what I know of this person, and make the best choice I can that goes in line with respecting myself and not tolerating certain negativities in my life. I know that means I need to cut this person out of it. I am not making this choice out of anger toward this person, nor am I going to try and get in “the last word.” Ultimately, a certain behavioral pattern that is signature-move of this person (which is what I know, instinctually, is going on) is just not something that is healthy for me to be around, and it’s as simple as that. I’m not angry with this person, I will always care about them, but if I don’t want to receive negativity, I cannot tolerate it in my life in any form, direct or subtle, from someone I know or from a second-degree proxy. I just need to step away from this person and remind myself that life is too short to spend trying to get someone to treat you with the respect you feel you deserve when they just can’t or won’t. That’s because of their issues, and not because of me. It’s not my responsibility to try and get this person to recognize a pattern they are not willing to recognize or change.
I’m proud of myself for how I’ve handled this situation. In the past I would have struggled far more with this issue, I would have felt a compulsive need to confront this person even though I know exactly how they would react, and I would just end up feeling very hurt and alone. But the thing is, I’m not alone because I have people in my life who are in line with my values and who not only accept, but even celebrate, me for who I am. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to explain myself to this person and then step away, or if I should step away quietly and only explain myself if this person confronts me and asks. I might have to ask my friends for more advice on this… I just want to do what is best. I’ve got a bit of anxiety about how this person might react (they are a very reactive person) but I can’t let that cause me to hesitate on my decision. I need to look after myself and my emotional health first and foremost, if we’re not good to ourselves, we’re never any good to others.
Which leads me to last week. I went on a business trip with some co-workers to Vegas for an expo relating heavily to our field of work. One of the many fabulous things about my job is that we are all very united under the cause of the non-profit we work for. With such a compassionate and important thing in common, we share a lot of the same core values. In past friendships, we often had a passion in common but little else and not allowing myself to realize that is part of what lead to so much drama and pain for me.
I’m glad I went to the expo for work-related reasons, I learned a lot, but I also learned a lot about myself and about the people I work with – which I can confidently refer to now as friends and not just as co-workers, as well. I didn’t realize prior to this trip how important it was for us to spend time together outside of the walls of our workplace and how much we would learn about each other. We got almost no sleep because when we weren’t doing many work-related things at the expo, we were hanging out together getting to know one another much better outside of the passion we share for our line of work. I knew with confidence that in the incredible luck (or as I view it, karma) of finding this amazing job, I had found a place I belong as far as jobs go and a livable income, but now I know that there is an even greater reason I was lead to this line a work; because I longed for, and deserved, to know that I am not alone in this world. I can’t describe the isolation and loneliness of investing in people and caring about them only to end up feeling completely powerless and helpless as they took every advantage of my vulnerabilities and hurt me in such manipulative and sinister ways that I struggle to even describe in words. I accept responsibility for allowing things to get as bad as they did because I allowed people to treat me so negatively for so long, but it is human nature to crave connection and even companionship on some level with other people. I’m just glad that I finally feel confident that I have people in my life who actually share not only my passion but my values as well, and I’m glad I’m learning that if someone is behaving in a way that I don’t feel is healthy for me, I’m able to recognize it for what it is and to make a choice with my own best interest in mind instead of just the fear of losing that person and feeling lonely.
It’s one thing to realize what needs to change in your life, but it’s another to be put in a situation where your realizations are put to the test. Will you let your fears dictate your choices, or will you put yourself and what you need and deserve as the first consideration? This time, I’m pushing through my fears and focusing on what I know is best for me. I’m proud of myself for that. I not only know I deserve far better than how I allowed people to treat me in the past, but I recogonize when it’s happening in the present. That is growth. That is proof of growth.
I’m glad that the second I let go of negative people, karma practically lead me by the hand to the life, and people, I deserve in order to be healthy and happy. For those in my past who did horrible things to me, that’s their karma. If people fail to realize I have value as a human being, that says nothing about me and everything about them. In the end we all get what we deserve… I’m glad I finally realize that. People who did horrible things to me will get their karma if they haven’t already – but it’s not really my concern. I just want to enjoy and appreciate the positive karma that just keeps coming. 🙂