I've had an interesting few weeks where I've found myself speaking up a little more than I usually do. No, I've never been a saint, but my desire to avoid conflict usually means I'll walk away before standing up for myself.
However, I've realized that not everyone operates the same way. And if they're speaking their mind...why shouldn't I?
I believe my underlying fear of conflict is that I'm ultimately afraid of being alone. There must be some part of me that thinks that at some point I'm going to go through every person on the planet, find them irritating, tell them off, and end up off the grid in the mountains somewhere.
In reality, what's happening is that I'm winnowing down who I allow into my life. Just as this quote says...I'm letting people in by invitation only.
I genuinely believe that some relationships have a season; we're not always meant to be friends with the same people for our entire lives. I realize that might sound cold, but I know it goes both ways; there's a very good chance that I brought something to someone else's life years ago and then they decided (or maybe it just happened) that it was time to move on.
It's important to take a moment every once in a while and ask yourself how someone makes you feel when you're with them. I'll never forget one moment a couple of years ago when I realized that a friend I'd had for years actually made me feel pretty terrible. And THEN I realized that I didn't have to feel that way anymore - that I had the choice to walk away. Oh, the sense of freedom I felt in that moment!
I have other friends who are going through similar transitions; in fact, I went to lunch with a friend who recently told someone she's known for 30 years that she felt it was time for both of them to move on.
I know it feels selfish. I know it feels cold. But here's what you should remember:
When you say no to one thing, you're saying yes to something else.
Something I've noticed as I've parted ways with a couple of people is that I've suddenly met OTHER people at the same time. I've freed up time, energy, and resources that have allowed new relationships to come into my life that might better fit the person I'm becoming.
Life is about change and growth. It makes sense that not everyone grows in the same direction. The older we get the more we become who we really are.
It's okay to surround yourself with relationships that fit who that person is.