I am 44 years old now. I don’t have an issue with that. I learned a long time ago that age is in your head. I don’t connect my identity with the amount of minutes and seconds I have been breathing. HOWEVER, it amazes me when I learn something so rudimentary, so basic and obvious, that it took me this long to figure out. How have I been on this planet 44 years and not figured this out?
I recently had an incident with one of my best friends in the world. We have been pals since the early 90s. She is one of the most intelligent and ‘together’ people I have ever met. No apparent hang ups, no quirks, talented, confident, capable and successful. She has an amazing family and an envious life. Right out of a movie. We all have ‘normal’ friends, right? The ones who we look at with awe and go ‘wow, your parents didn’t f#ck you up at all. How is that possible?’. I love her life. I envy it, and if I were to be completely honest, I would probably take her life over mine. Yet, even in the most seemingly ‘perfect’ folk, you will find cracks. We all have them.
This one took me for a loop.
I can’t go into the event out of respect and privacy, but we had a conversation yesterday where I thought, ‘wow, there are things in all of us that we just aren’t willing to see’. An elephant-in-the-room, if you will. My pal is losing her marbles about something. And I mean LOSING REALITY. This is not my just my POV. This is crazy stuff. An obsession that puts her life, her family, and her decency at serious risk. It’s like an addiction. Someone willing to put a fleeting situation before her health, happiness and future.
It made me nuts. I wanted to pull my hair out. I’m jumping up and down yelling, ‘are you effing kidding me? What are you thinking!!! This is twisted!!! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE IT?!?’. Yet, I realized that no matter how much fact and reality I plagued her with, it wasn’t going to go into her totally-normal-but-in-this-case-normal-took-a-holiday brain.
Then it hit me. I almost laughed.
Intelligence, education, good intentions, good parenting and financial success are no match for our little blind spots. I think we all have at least one blind spot: one area of our life that, for whatever reason, we just can’t see. One area that is destructive and nuts, that we would recognize in a second in someone else, but for whatever reason, we just can’t see in ourselves.
Don’t stop and think what yours is. You probably don’t know what yours is. Your achilles heel. If you did know, you might probably try to work on it, but you JUST CAN’T SEE IT.
Here is what I learned is this situations. It doesn’t matter what I think or how messed up the situation is, she just isn’t going to see it. Her reality is her reality. I believe that we are all here to learn different things, and with that in mind, she has something to learn from this situation that I can’t help her with. Her reality is her reality. Mine is mine. Neither of us is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. No judgement. Right and wrong don’t play into this. What is real to you is real to you. It may not be real to me, but that is my issue.
This realization happened in the blink of an eye and when I got it, I GOT IT. The minute I recognized that I shut up. Why fight with her? Her truth and my truth were not going to meet so what was the point in fighting about it? We weren’t going to get anywhere.
So many relationships are run this way and holy JEEBUS, if more people opened their eyes to what I saw yesterday, this world would be a more peaceful (and quiet) place.
We have to let people have their thoughts, dreams, and beliefs. No matter how wrong or destructive they appear to us. It’s tough, I get it. To watch her suffer and not get it is maddening, but it’s not my job to fix. I can’t. I told her my POV and said that I didn’t want to hear about this anymore. I couldn’t stomach to watch her do this but that I loved her dearly and would always be here for her other than in this one instance.
We’ll be ok. It’ll be a bit awkward for a while but that is life. This may be her reality but I don’t have to be a part of it. Boundaries in friendships are not a bad thing.
You gotta let people learn their own mistakes. As hard as it may be. Just like you have to learn your own.