Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Watermark risen

Given the fact that I am a writer, some people may be surprised to learn that I am a very private person. After all, here I sit on a regular basis, tapping out my innermost feelings to be published on a blog that is readily available to anyone in the world...a mere click of the mouse away. Writing those innermost feelings for the eyes of so many 'out there' is a curious interplay. Yet, I am very self-contained when it comes to revealing details of my private life. There are lines that I feel are necessary to be drawn for all of us, with each person having their own personal watermark that is to remain sacrosanct.

For the most part, in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter and this blog, you will rarely hear me reveal truly personal details about my life. I am happy to share stories from my childhood, and also to open up about topics and experiences that touch me deeply. I feel this is my way of fulfilling one of my life's gifts, which is that of healing. Again, for the most part, you will see me post very positive, uplifting blog articles, Facebook and Twitter posts. While we all have difficult days and negative experiences, I strive to see the positive in every moment and every person.

Today I had a personal Waterloo moment. It was a situation that I have alluded to in recent blogs, (Tend your bucket!) about an individual that I labeled an emotional vampire. This was my way of exercising the frustrations I had about this person. My nature is to forgive, so much so that it can become a detriment. I forgive, I understand, I sympathize, I lift up, I encourage....and in the midst of all that kindness, I overlook the fact that I am allowing another person to literally bleed me empty.

Please know that I am not suggesting that forgiveness is wrong or foolhardy. I will never truly change in this regard; I am a loving, caring, nurturing Soul and this is intrinsic to my nature to see the good and positive in others. However, there does come a day where it is graphically demonstrated that the kindness doled out has been gleefully, and most likely, selfishly consumed while the recipient of your care is laughing at your foolishness.

My watermark has risen. I weathered a very unpleasant experience today as the result of trusting someone who did not deserve that grace. I admit to struggling with the resulting fallout. I was angry, disappointed, disillusioned to a degree...with all of these emotions self-directed. Why did I aim all of those emotions at myself? Because I knew better.

Stepping completely outside of my regular comfort zone, this is what I wrote on my Facebook page:

You know that inner voice that tells you a situation is shady, as well as the people involved, yet you try your best to see the good in all involved? Trust the inner voice FIRST, and avoid the inevitable drama and disappointment in the whole dynamic. People do show you their true colors, and sometimes those colors are weak & lacking in depth and substance. #Lesson Learned

My lesson here is to forgive myself first, this other person next, and move forward with no intention of allowing this person back into my life. I can count on one hand the number of times I have come to this point in my life. It is a sad moment to truly cut ties with someone that you genuinely cared about. It is a death of expectations, possibilities and hopes, if you at one point had intentions for a strong friendship to grow and endure.

I had no idea how people would react to the Facebook statement above. It was out of character for me to the extent that I spoke of a negative personal situation. Hours after posting it, I came back and was surprised to see the response to the post. Thus far, there has not been a single negative comment. To the contrary, every comment was positive, uplifting and supportive - all true examples of people that I am blessed to call friends. This tells me that I was right to follow my instincts with the Facebook post. It also reminds me that this very instinct is sharp and clear; I need but to pay attention to that still quiet voice in the future to avoid similar negative experiences.

I cannot fault myself for wanting to see the good in others. This is actually a trait that I am happy to own. I will continue to do this, live my life this way, and continue to give more second chances than most people probably merit. I say this with a smile, now, hours later in the day when my own heart has lightened from the wonderful support of true friends. I can't change my own true colors, but I can recognize when those around me are displaying conduct and behavior that is a screaming, neon, flashing warning sign. True colors are displayed in abundance if we're willing to recognize them for what they are.

My personal watermark has risen. I have higher, more stringent standards for allowing people into my life. While this may sound judgmental and strident, it really isn't. It is me making a choice to honor myself first. This can be a difficult lesson to learn and embrace, and I daresay I will struggle with it in the future. Today has made a permanent impact and this time I am making changes that are equally permanent. Forgiveness is a conscious choice....for myself as much as for those with whom I have negative interactions.

The beauty of this experience today is that I have shed the weight of a fully grown person who was dragging me down on a regular basis. I have shed the negative emotions of someone who is motivated by selfishness. I have shed the need to feel responsible for a great number of unnecessary ties. The conscious choice to forgive and move forward, while also excising someone requires a lot of contemplation. It is not a choice made easily or with haste. It is, in this instance, necessary and I am at peace with it.

As we all know, when one door closes, God/Universe opens another. When one person exits, that space is left open for a new, beautiful energy to come in. The repercussions of today's events have some ripples. I will be dealing with those ripples for a while, but the wonderful thing to recognize and remember is that this door is wide open. This means that my life and my expectations have no boundaries.

There's another old piece of wisdom that tells us,

            Water seeks its own level.
Another way of expressing this concept is that there comes a time when vibrations no longer match up. In essence, regardless of the dramatic tone or lack thereof, people will vibrate themselves out of your reality. Sometimes we're the ones left behind. In this situation, I am the one doing the walking away. This is not done with a light heart, as I never enjoy breaking ties with someone who once mattered a great deal to me. It is done, however, with a sure heart, and perhaps that is the stronger part of this particular lesson. Of a necessity, I have looked at my own culpability with this situation. I knew better. I knew better months ago, yet I continued to offer those second chances. I wanted to believe that the spark of beauty that I know resides in each living, breathing being was burning strongly enough in that person to eventually negate the unpleasant traits that I didn't want to look at.

While I cannot speak for this person's interactions with anyone else, what I know now is that the interaction with me has been predominantly self-serving. Even as I write this, it pains me. I could revert to habit, forgive and give another chance to this person, but this time, I am walking away. Forgiveness isn't a question here; I will get to that point within a few days. It isn't in my heart to harbor grudges and simmer in resentment and ill feelings. That will do nothing but bring harm to me in the long run, while this other person will blithely go on about their life, not sparing a thought to the repercussions of their actions. I need to implement an equally purposeful action in my life with this decision and move forward with the assurance that I am better for this experience and better for making this choice.

It is curious that I've used water analogies throughout this blog. Water seems appropriate to apply, as it can exhibit physical manifestations of emotions - we call them "stormy seas", or placid, calm, quiet, tempestuous, soothing, peaceful, angry. All descriptive words that can be applied to relationships and behavior patterns. I rode some stormy seas with this whole situation, and today I can admit that much of this could have been avoided had I heeded my intuition months ago and cut ties. I didn't do that, choosing instead to give more chances. That bit me in the end.

Today, with several hours of distance from the actual unpleasant event, I am sitting on the proverbial dock, gazing out at calm waters. The water level is higher than it used to be, but the view is lovely. Peaceful. Calm. Full of possibilities and brighter for coming to a determined, thoughtful choice. I am appreciative for recognizing that this whole situation was truly a blessing in disguise. Occasionally, there come these moments where it is necessary to adjust our own personal watermark. I would go so far as to suggest it is one of the most healthy, loving gifts any of us can give ourselves.
If you enjoyed this blog and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.


Missie said...

Beautifully written. I think there are times though when forgiveness cannot happen until the other person changes to some degree or it may be that we do not feel like we have forgiven "enough" if they are still not forgiving to us.

Healing Morning said...

Hi Missie,
I agree with you - forgiveness is one of the biggest challenges we all face! I always focus on the fact that unless we forgive others, we will not be forgiven when we stumble. Today is a new day and I have done a lot of processing. I have also had some wonderful responses to this blog post, yours included, that have shown me the beauty of people around me. My forgiving this other person was never in doubt; in fact, I am 90% there now. The remaining 10% may take a bit longer, but I'll get there! Forgiving myself is always the bigger challenge and I'm working on that too. Now I'm off to visit your blog in return. Thank you for taking time to read this post and leave me such a thoughtful comment!


Cynthia Pittmann said...

Forgiveness- so much to be said here! I agree with you that sometimes you have to move on with determination. Other times, you have to compromise because of the larger picture. In marriage, for example, it makes sense to forgive more readily because of the history of the couple, the common social goals, and the commitment given.

Marriage includes an impact on others that no one every addresses- we change others lives when we change our own. I think more about this relationship because it is the most constant over the years. But there are other more difficult situations, where forgiveness is required for your own sake (for example- in the case of my mother's murder) but it's not ever going to be accepted.

It's just a burden to carry around anger. I find most words on this topic too distant from the actual pain of betrayal, and the feelings of rejection that get tied together in a particular event. It's difficult to be honest- with others and with ourselves.
I appreciate your strength and the way you made a decision to move on.

May your healing be rapid- and may joy return to your heart.