I just read a blog by Beth Donovan entitled, Toxic People Eat Your Soul. As I began to respond to her, I realized there might be some meat and potatoes in what I had to say, with a little spice, that I could probably share, so here it is.
Truthfully, I experienced toxicity lately. My family separated from some close members of my family last year because there were some lies spread among them about us. I had NO IDEA that I would feel so FREE and CAPABLE to make any decision I wanted to without a lingering feeling that it would have to be explained. I NEVER considered this person toxic, as she had been a very great influence in my life and I considered her a best friend. I failed to realize that she didn't feel the same way about me. She believed lies (or at least had misunderstandings) about me that must have caused her to have negative feelings. In retrospect, no matter whether she had good intentions or not, I think I was treated more like a 'project' than a friend. She gave advice, but was not the kind to take it. If she was 'in' to a project, she insisted that I be 'in' to that project, too. In some things she would have an abundance of enthusiasm. She wanted me to do it, too, regardless of whether that was my gift or interest or calling, or not.
And I guess that's where some of my freedom comes in, now that we have separated, I can do my own thing, in my own way, in my own time. It is very sad, but it is true.
I am my own person now, DEFINITIVELY. I had never felt that I was not, we had so much in common (well, I THOUGHT we did; maybe not).
I am not a shadow. I have power. I have choices. And it's okay if SHE has choices different than mine. Because they no longer effect me.
This power really ADDED to my sparking. I somehow felt that NOTHING could get in my way now.
Sometimes things in life shift around and your position changes. When both my parents died very close in time to one another, this happened to me. I had to be The Adult. I had no parent to seek out their viewpoint. That was a major shift. A painful one, but a part of the Circle of Life. Nothing stays the same.
Sometimes, WE have to cause the shift.
Right this minute it came to my mind a picture of a LIGHTHOUSE with it's strong light spinning slowly at the top shining upon the surrounding land and sea scape; revealing beauty, exposing darkness. I pictured myself at the top, looking out. The light spins and searches out my acquaintances, friends, loved ones. Which of those friends would I invite up the long, winding staircase to the close quarters at the top, to share the beautiful view with me? Which would I rather have some precious space between? Which brings joy? Which brings tension, stress, or sadness? Which person is uplifting? Which feels like a dumbbell on my shoulder?
Which makes me laugh? Which makes me feel like I can achieve my own dreams? Which thinks the view from the top is stunningly, breath-takingly beautiful?
The rest? Just be an encouragement to them. Do NOT become toxic toward them, yourself.
And do not feel guilty about that space. My Toxic Friend did not feel guilty when she began pushing ME away; now that I recognize HER toxicity, I can do the same, and do it with a confidence--- knowing I love her, but she's not quite at the place right now to 'not be' harmful to me.
Last year, after some time was between us, I wrote this poem:
Free to be me, not you, just me
Free to serve God in the way that I please.
Not your way, but mine.
And I'll do it just fine,
Serving God with the gifts that He gave to just me.
Free to serve God in my time, not yours
Waiting on God's time, to me- it means more.
Every word that I choose-
Every touch- can be used
Serving God as He opens and closes the door.
Free to be me, in my corner, content
Nurturing my gift, investing my talents
Uniquely my own
For God's heart alone,
Serving God in my way, and in my way, God-blessed."
As you can see, I must have really been effected by this! As you can probably surmise, this person is a fellow Christian who often wanted me to join her pursuits. And though they are wonderful pursuits...they are not MY pursuits.
Like I said, I hadn't realized I was feeling pressure until we separated for another reason. Weird.
I came across these quotes about friendship:
“Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow."
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
“Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.'
'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
― Linda Grayson
It was good to get these thoughts out of my head and into written form. I always feel grounded that way. Maybe the words will help a fellow sparker.
Be blessed, and continue to BE a blessing,
Thanks for popping in for a chat.