Guest post by Jenny Boykin
One really important thing that I didn’t know about happiness was that I don’t have to catch other people’s misery. Or anger. Or whatever. I didn’t know that loving you didn’t mean following you down into your own abyss. Besides, I’ve got my own abyss to deal with.
I used to get really unhappy that people I cared about wouldn’t get down in my misery muck with me. I can remember calling a friend who was supposed to be part of my inner circle and prattling on about my unhappy this or my tragic that and she would interrupt me mid-sentence and say, “Look Jen, I know you are going to do the right thing. But right now I gotta run and take care of my fish tank. You wanna call me tomorrow and tell me how it worked out?”
How effin’ rude! What kind of friend are you? Your tetras are more important than my tragedy?
Well, now I get it.
It’s not that my metaphorical tetras are more important than your rant-du-jour. (Well, maybe they are.) It’s just that if you are a ranter by nature, then everything in your life will trigger justifiable anger. And, if I’m your “go to” rant receiver, then I never get fed what I need from our relationship. And why would I want that?
If you are someone I love and hang out with, then I trust that you are fully capable of handling the stuff that comes your way. There will certainly be times when I need to be there in a deeper way for you, but if you are an emotionally healthy person, it won’t be every damn time we talk.
I want to continue to attract and be with people who take responsibility for the way their lives look. If you are a blamer or whiner or complainer, I want to love you too, But in smaller bits, from over there on the other side of the room.
In other words, I want to help, if I can. But I don’t want to lose myself in the process.
Live your beautiful life. Really, really, it’s okay to start now. You don’t have to be responsible for the crappolla of everyone in your life, but you do have to be responsible for your own. So allow less of that and more of the joy.
(Will somebody please remind me that I actually wrote these words when I call you tomorrow to complain about my whozits and whatnots? Here’s our code phrase: “I love you, Jen, and I just know you’re gonna work this out. Right now, though, I gotta go clean tetra poop. Call me tomorrow and let me know how you chose to handle that.”)
About the author:
My name is Jenny Boykin. Next year, my body will be 50. I keep meaning to make my life an art piece, but no one else I’m attached to seems to share in that objective. Apparently, I’m not the only woman with that dilemma. If, like me, you’re curious to answer that age old question, “Is there life after tampons?,” please visit me at www.couragetochange.us or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.