For all my bravado and bluntness, I'm just a softie. If I feel like there's even a chance I could hurt someone's feelings, it bothers me. I'm kind to everyone, but I don't always want to bring people into my circle or bring them back when they've left. In the past, that's made me feel guilty. It's taken me a while, but I'm getting to a place where I forgive myself for protecting my energy.
Why can't we be friends?
I'm coming into the understanding that I don't have to be friends with everyone who wants to be friends. If there is something about them I don't align with, that's okay. I tend to feel unkind or snobby if I don't want to hang out with them.
That feeling of being unkind crept in recently when I created a boundary with a new acquaintance. I talk to her in passing for the sake of civility, but she's asked me to have coffee, do yoga, or engage in some other activity. I've politely told her no because I find her chaotic overall. Declining her invites didn't feel great because I felt judgmental.
A wise woman helped me keep that feeling in check when she said, "That's your gut." My gut tells me what fits in my life and what doesn't. It's not always a judgment or a condemnation. Most of the time, it's me maintaining my peace of mind. I've accepted that now.
Not understanding that has led me to bring people in that shouldn't have been there in the first place. One time, a neighbor complained he wanted to hang out, but it hadn't happened. Of course, I felt terrible. In my mind, I felt obligated to spend time with him because he wanted to spend time with me. If I didn't, that made me feel arrogant.
Thus, I opened the door for one of the most toxic people who has ever been in my life.
Fortunately, when I decided to remove him, I stuck with it.
Sometimes, it takes a minute to feel comfortable letting go. For a long time, I struggled with a friendship where the other person had this need to prove she knew best all the time and could be belittling in the process. I excused the behavior because I knew deep down care existed. I've done that many times in my life.
Not anymore. When I care about someone, I act like it. I expect others to do the same for me.
As women, our families or society teach us to put others' needs ahead of our own. I'm still learning that one. That persistent feeling of selfishness nags at me when my yes to me, means no to someone else.
When that happens, I remind myself, or someone else does, that I matter as much as anyone. My time, my energy, my feelings are valuable and need nurturing. If I already know another person's presence will cause a hit to me somehow, I have every right to keep it away from me.
Now, I understand this doesn't make me unkind. I'm showing kindness to myself, and I deserve my compassion as much as anyone else does.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer