Friday, December 21, 2018

When being nice isn't always wise

Is niceness overrated? Could I have been shielding myself with it? Am I grounded enough in wisdom now to know when to step out from behind it and return fire? If I don't return an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth in certain situations—strictly as a mirror, you understand, without the baggage of vengeance—have I wasted the teachable moment? Have I allowed nastiness to spread?

Let's say I've been chosen as the target and my warrior heart took that bullet and vaporized it: If I watch the bully walk away to find another, weaker target, have I neglected my duty to humanity? By duty I don't mean stepping in front of the next target and taking that bullet again. I mean taking Godzilla down. Before it goes on its rampage.

Is this the new lesson I'm supposed to be learning? First I learned to see what the world looks like when it's loved. Then I learned to spot where love is missing. Satya—Sanskrit for truth; to see things as they are. Now I think I'm being called to act when necessary. And my need to be nice, to be loved, needs to be sacrificed. Alrighty then. Oh, by the way—only nice people can comment. haha!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

When commitment leads to mistreatment

It is the irony of (many) human relationships that the more they think they have you the less they treat you like the gem you've been to them.

The conquest is done, they have you in their pocket; on to the next chase.

The younger mistress, the new star employee, the client they're trying to land, the novelty of an untested partnership. Quite a catch. Dazzling new possibilities. More money. That air of unavailability. And the newbie won't know all their faults (yet)! They guzzle the hero worship like cold beer on a sweltering afternoon.

This is how the older brother of the Prodigal Son felt. What, no fatted calf for me, after I have served you all these years?

They've asked for your total loyalty but still lust for the next bright shiny object of their ambition. As a former 40-something bachelor acquaintance once put it, "There might be someone better out there."

Undoubtedly, there is someone better out there. Better than they are. Someone who practices gratitude, who expresses appreciation, who gives you the benefit of the doubt and never takes your commitment for granted.

Sometimes we are the neglected, the overlooked, the underappreciated locked into what started as a bond but feels like bondage.

Sometimes we are the ungrateful wretches and don't know or don't care that we are. And we are in a prison of a different sort.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The poison in friendships between women

    There are subtle ways that supposed friends one up each other, and I've observed two. I'll talk about the first one. Do you have people like these in your life?
    One woman found my vulnerable spot and gave me a lot of unsolicited advice. Take action now, she urged, it will only get worse as time goes on. I felt myself lose hope whenever I listened to her paint my situation in terms more dire than they really were. I told her, "If I woke up looking at my life the way you see it, I wouldn't get out of bed." She was generous with little gifts. I thought she was being thoughtful until it started to feel like every time we hung out I was her personal social work project. Some people get off on being indispensable. But first they have to convince you you're weak.
    Once, she even answered for me, as though I was a child incapable of speaking for myself. I'd been encouraged to get an app by the owner of a fitness studio, and she piped up, "Oh, she doesn't have a smart phone." I said, "But I do have an iPad." Another time, someone asked me to assess her alignment in a yoga pose. This "friend" jumped right in and gave her critique before I could say a word. She is without any training as a teacher whatsoever.
    I might've stayed blind to the deterioration of our friendship had she not started comparing herself aloud to me. We happened to be in front of a full-length mirror in the bathroom of a dance studio, and she noted how her thighs were double the size of mine. Now, OK, maybe this is a common thing among women friends? Not for me. Even jokingly, I don't relish being set up against anyone, least of all by someone I consider a friend. I had a flashback to the time decades ago when someone told me that women's friendships are done in when competitiveness becomes a wedge.
    And you know how competitiveness starts? It starts with comparisons. Which sometimes leads to copying. Which later reveals its ugly self as competitiveness.
    See, the revelation for me in all this is why I minded when another supposed friend kept copying me. No, it wasn't flattering. Despite the cliché about that. It was one upwomanship. "Anything you can do I can do better." But if we were really friends, why would you feel a need to prove I'm less? All that proves is that you feel so inadequate when you compare yourself to me that you have to one-up me to overcompensate for it.