Tis the season to say YES to Love

my latest painting, "HOME" (details on MY ARTWORK page)

my latest painting, “HOME” (details on MY ARTWORK page)

Many years ago a friend’s husband died. In the months that followed his death, she told me that she could no longer trust me because I wasn’t there for her during his illness and after he had died. When we were on “active friendship” status, I’d always felt that I had gone above and beyond what I could have, to be a good friend and to be there for her, but as the years passed, I realized that this had just been my ego. There were so many times that I didn’t want to do something (attend one of her many functions or events) but I was always worried that if I didn’t go, she’d be mad at me so I went (and considered myself to be a very good friend and human being for going out of my way and sacrificing my time to do something that I really didn’t want to do…I could go on but the absurdity of my thinking just makes me laugh).

Eventually this kind of relationship must come to an end, but I’m not talking about the relationship that I had with her, I’m talking about the relationship with myself. Eventually I need to become honest with myself (and my motives for doing anything) or I will live in a state of fear, anger or guilt (or all of these) that I am not enough and not trust-worthy because in truth, I am not being honest and I am not to be trusted if I do not dare follow my own guidance.

Back to my friend.

I really wasn’t there for her when her husband died. But if I had been honest and said no to her during the years that preceded his death, maybe the relationship would have ended earlier. I met with this woman many years after her husband’s passing and was struck by how guarded she seemed as she talked about several men she’d dated and how she’d been hurt and betrayed. She told me that she had always taken the morally higher road and was so disappointed in people who didn’t. At one point she said, “Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me” and I thought, “Wow. That is a limiting way to live”. Because in my experience, people who I am close to are going hurt me and am going to hurt them too…. and not just once or twice. Do people who I love lie to me? Yes. Do I lie to people I love? Yes. Am I inconsiderate, short-tempered, or mean at times? Yes. Are they inconsiderate, short-tempered and mean to me at times? Yes. Do I stay in intimate contact with everyone from my past? No. Do they stay in contact with me? No. Why? In my experience, the answer to this is that there just isn’t a yes in it anymore. Could this change? Yes.

I’ve come to see that people who consider themselves to be “morally superior” are usually the least honest (with themselves) people, and this includes me. When I am engaged in moral finger-pointing I am, in that moment, a dishonest hypocrite. So, where to go with this? Well, it is the holiday season. A time for getting together (or thinking about past get-togethers) with the people whom we have had the toughest time with. I can drag all of my past hurts, slights, insults, and horror shows to mind, or I can laugh, look at myself as a major player in all of this past drama and go forward as a lighter human being. I can come home to my own heart which never calls me bad, and never calls another bad. I can celebrate being alive as a multi-faceted being, no better than any other. I can say yes to invitations that feel life-affirming and I can extend these invitations too. I can say no to invitations that don’t feel like a yes, but I can do it in a spirit of Love (love of self, love of other). I can become free now.

“Reality is always the story of a past and what I love about the past is that it’s over.” Byron Katie (from the book, A Friendly Universe)

10 thoughts on “Tis the season to say YES to Love

  1. Dear Mary, thank you for such an honest and clear-seeing post. Being truthful with oneself is challenging, to say the least. I’m learning this lesson myself…..following my own instincts, yet not abandoning compassion and loving kindness when it comes to setting limits. I’m learning that not everyone will always understand, embrace or even like the decisions I make and the attitudes I believe in. Yet, at the end of the day, I have only myself to make peace with…..and by following my own loving heart, I know I am creating the kind of energy that is healing and beneficial for everyone, not just myself.

  2. Thank you so much, Mary, for this lovely message. It hit home in several ways. I have a friend (?)who feels superior in knowledge and is so competitive in everything we do, be it a computer game or a hobby we share. It was getting to the point where I started to feel inferior. I had a good talk with myself and compared my life to hers and I feel that by her trying to make me feel inferior makes herself feel superior. I don’t know the answer and that probably is wrong, but your message taught me a great deal. Thank you. Have a lovely week-end.

  3. Just seeing the title of your post made me smile. And I wondered…how can I, every single day, open my heart as wide as I feel it opening during this magical season? And the simple answer that spoke to me right away was…”That’s easy. Look for the magic in every day…it is there…I AM there.” But.., I said to my inner voice, …one of the reasons the holidays feel so magical is because others are feeling it too…and it’s sharing that merry feeling with others that just grows and grows. “So…spend your time with those who also look for the magic in every day…and spread that merry feeling amongst yourselves and watch it grow and grow…”. I like this conversation with my inner voice…and it occurs to me that it is often the merry feeling I get when I’m reading Mary’s blog and all the wonderful comments here. I DO feel my heart opening……gotta go back and hear more…

    …see what your written stories do for me…for us…Mary! Thank you! I want to say, and who cares if it is “early”, have a Merry day! (So…just this very moment, I realize how much I love the feeling and the meaning of the word ‘merry’…and I only ever use it at Christmastime…I want to use it all year long…).
    Thanks for making me pause and think, Mary…Merry…Mary. XO

  4. couldn’t find the place on your website to comment so doing it here (darn computers!) . . . .this entry really resonated with me. . .I kept thinking, wow, if this wonderful person can feel the things that I do. . .then maybe I’m not so ‘bad’! Yes, I’ve lied to people close to me, been inconsiderate, short tempered and mean. . .and also so judgmental of my own sister. . (i feel like i’m going to confession to you!). . .

    so thank you, thank you, for your goodness and your honesty. . .what a gift! love across the miles, veronica in california

  5. I lost a friendship almost exactly as you did. After my friend’s husband died she ambushed me in a letter telling me how she wanted to end our friendship because I was not there for her after her husband died. I had done everything I thought would help her but kept a certain distance because I knew that I got on her nerves when I chattered. I tend to talk a lot when I’m concerned or nervous. I tried to explain this to her but she wouldn’t listen. It was very painful for me to have this friendship end. It was like a death. We had met in high school and had been friends for almost 50 years. I’ve had a very troublesome life. She was always there for me during the rough times. I have come to terms with the loss. I remember the good times with her and cherish them.

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