Truth Byte #28
"If you’re not supported, you are the one to blame."
People tell me they are lonely. That they have no friends. That no one supports them. And maybe to a point, this is true. But let’s get honest: if you have no one to turn to, it’s probably your own fault.
I know that sounds harsh, especially when you are used to me being kind and loving and hopeful. But today I have decided it’s time to tell it like it is and stop coddling you. Because you are a grown up and you can handle it. And you deserve to have a cheering section, even when you are struggling.
If you find yourself alone, cut out from life’s big party, chances are you created that scenario with your own beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours.
Let me give you an example. There is someone in my life who is very lovable. Funny, thoughtful, and a great friend when you are on his good side. Then, all of a sudden, he will get upset about something (sometimes something obvious, and sometimes something invisible), and suddenly he just disappears. Sometimes he disappears for years.
I wonder what happens to him during this disappearing act.
I imagine he stews about how he was wronged and judges and blames the person who upset him for his unhappiness. I imagine he makes new friends, new connections, and demonstrates his love and care with them. I imagine at some point one of them pisses him off and the whole thing begins again. I imagine he must be very lonely and irritated during these cycles.
See, from his perspective it must look like people are always letting him down.
But from my perspective it looks like he is throwing a tantrum and not letting people have flaws and be human. He is not really comfortable with adult relationships where people evolve and grow, sometimes in different directions.
Now, I am not talking about situations where there is blatant violence and abuse. It is actually healthy to remove yourself from those people who cannot handle their feelings maturely and put you in harm's way. With many of these people, it is likely you will never see them again, unless they get the help they need.
I am talking instead about hurt feelings and misunderstandings. If we keep cutting off people who care about us, we end up very isolated.
If no one wants to hang out with you, you have to ask yourself “why?”
Are you the one who is always complaining about the latest problem, pulling the conversation like a blanket around yourself while your friend freezes out in the cold? Is it always about you and what you need, or are you giving something to others too? When you give, is it because you expect that same treatment back (also called score-keeping) or is it purely to demonstrate your care and affection?
One-sided relationships eventually become exhausting, and whether you are the one who has pulled away or others have stopped engaging with you, chances are there is something you can do to change it. Instead of thinking of your friendships as just about filling your tank, maybe you can think about what you could bring instead of what just you can get.
On the other hand, sometimes we just outgrow people.
And when that happens, you can gently let those people go, without drama, without heartache, without a big fight. Just gently and kindly let them go (even if they are the ones “cutting you off”) and know that as long as you keep smiling that smile and keep shining that light, the right people will find you and start to fill the vacancies in your tribe. And until they find you, enjoy getting to know the new you that is emerging!
As of today, you are not allowed to complain about loneliness. Because there are people who are dying to see you and spend time with you.
Start with them, and the rest will show up.
Want to learn how to let people in? Want to deepen the relationships you already have? Take advantage of the summer slash sale: $99 + GST for the Relationships Workshop in Vancouver on Oct 1, 2016. In a single day, people go from focusing only on their problems to having a roadmap for their next steps. You will be glad you took the plunge. Register now at http://www.talktosaira.com/our-events