I have been struggling lately — well, for a while now — with so many of my good intentions being overlooked, or worse. Though I know I shouldn’t be doing things in hopes of “thank yous” or reciprocation, it is trying and tiring to carry on a one-side relationship. A couple months ago, I addressed three of these people with the following letter:
I am writing you because you mean a great deal to me, and I would really like to get back in touch with you/keep in touch with you. However, after dropping the proverbial ball in your court multiple times without a return volley, I owe it myself to leave it there. Through trial and error, (and a sort of paranoia), I have come to realize that I look at relationships differently than many people. Where some are content to let past friendships go, happy for what they were, I have an innate desire to hold on to those relationships for the sake of what they were, yes, but for the way I have been forever changed by them. What I mean to say is that each of you have touched my life in such an emphatically good way that I am reluctant to let go (move on, yes, definitely, but let go, no) — and I wish you felt the same. But know that is not the case. We are different in that. One sure sign of that is the fact that none of you will speak with me on the phone…
I can’t help but wonder what I’ve done. (And, in some of your cases, I can’t help but wonder if your other relationships are so weak that jealousy or whatever runs rampant over something so simple as a phone conversation.)
That said, miss you all dearly, but I harbor no ill feelings toward you. I love each of you too much for that. I will take it as a gift if/when you decide to reestablish contact with me. I’ll probably continue to include you in any mass email updates in the future, but I’m done with one-sided “friendships.”
I thought sending that letter would free me from the frustration of trying to keep these relationships alive on my own. Instead, I guess I internalized it as a posed ultimatum. And since none of those people acted on it, I have felt angry.
Anger has no place in a healthy relationship. It is acidic and eats away at the core of it. We all experience temporary frustrations and get angry occasionally, but unless we move beyond and let go of the anger, the relationship will suffer.
Despite knowing this, I haven’t been able to shake my anger towards these “friends” who’ve dropped me. After all, where’s the harm in ill feelings here? They aren’t involved, and the relationship is essentially dissolved…
I subscribe to Jan Phillips‘ Museletter, and in her email today she included a link to the video below. “Intentional Chocolate” is chocolate that has been “infused” with good intentions. The gist, in case you can’t watch the video, is that in a double blind study, people who ate chocolates that had been prayed over with good intentions felt an uplift in mood that the other people did not experience. This is amazing.
With that in mind, I have decided to make a conscious effort to let go of the anger. After all, I’m angry because I love these people. But if I do love them, why would I want anything but good for them? So if good intentions are real enough to make chocolates into antidepressants, surely they’re strong enough to strengthen even a one-sided relationship.
Peace (& chocolate) be with you.