Hello Wild Ones 🌼🌼🌼,
I hope you are well and that great things are happening for you. My prayer is that you know how awesome you are. I am currently really proud of how awesome I am and the dope things I continue to do.
When we are growing up, so many things, happen to us, and we are bound to face some sort of trauma or learn some unhealthy behavior. I was recently talking to a friend about our similar bad experiences with a mutual friend, and we concluded that we need to have more grace. Then I got thinking about how much grace is too much grace. How much should I take from this person just because they are clearly struggling with something?
After a lot of thinking I came up with resolved into a few things. The first thing I realized is the I come first. As much as I wanted to keep being a good friend, I should never jeopardize my mental health for them. I can show grace but it should never be at my expense. I can be their shoulder to lean on but I can’t be their doormat just because they are struggling. Also, I have to come first because I cannot pour from an empty cup. I need to take care of me if I want to be a good friend.
I shouldn’t be afraid to correct them with love. I owed to them to point out how they behave, how it makes me feel, and what I think they need to do to get better. To be honest, I would have been okay with either keeping quiet or just avoiding them, but these past few months, I have been working on being more open about my feelings to myself and others. I can let them know how I can support them too and keep emphasizing that I care about them.
I also learn that it’s not my job to fix them. I have a tendency to want to fix people. There was a time I was mostly attracted to people who seemed to have something going on. I would move up and down for them. I have taken courses to be a better ‘Fixer’ before. I cannot fight their battles for them just offer encouragement and love from a safe distance. I can show up to the game to watch them play but I cannot kick the ball for them.
I reminded myself it’s not personal. I will not allow what they say to me to steal my joy. How they behave towards me is mostly about what is going on inside them. This doesn’t mean that I invalidate my feelings but it means I understand that sometimes the lashing out and rude remarks have nothing to do with me and what I did but how they currently perceive things.
I also figured that they are responsible for getting better. I owe it to them to be patient with them because they are struggling and offer the best support. But I cannot keep using excusing their shitty behavior towards me with the fact that they are struggling. They have an obligation to work on themselves and heal. It’s not their fault they were hurt but it’s their responsibility to pick up the pieces and move forward. I can neither do it for them nor can I stand by and accept abuse in the name of their trauma.
It is also okay to love my friend from a distance. At first, I felt guilty for choosing to reduce contact with them then I realized that it was for the best for both of us and our friendship. I made sure they knew I cared for them but stopped engaging with them too often. It doesn’t mean that I love them any less for choosing to keep away if their behavior is affecting me negatively.
How do you show up for friends who are lashing out in their struggle while still protecting yourself?
With loooove and joy,