Friday, October 5, 2012

Loss, regret and betrayal

There are many things that happen in life that shape and define a person.  All of which serve as object lessons and to be a springboard to the future, whether good or bad.  The human condition is one of change and of acceptance or rejection.  One either grows or one sits still.
Recently I lost a very dear friend and neighbor who had battled many setbacks in his life.  He had lived a relatively long life and had the good fortune to have a family and friends that cared for him until the end.
One thing that can serve as a learning experience for you, even if it is a painful lesson, is the letdown you experience when you find out that supposed friends who love you have nothing for you when you're down.
It's easy to label the entire human race as flawed and to become extremely jaded over the circumstances that have left you bereft of those that supposedly care for you.
I, like many of you, had a difficult childhood.  A minefield to walk though, in which you had to step lightly and carefully to make it through as best you could to hopefully become a decent person on the other side.
And I, like many of you, once grown, have been keen to have friends and others in your life that confirm your faith in humanity and in yourself by being supportive and comforting when it is needed.  It's an attempted rejection of the flawed paradigm we experienced as children and an effort to be "adult" about it.
So when people come into your life that you feel an immediate connection with and which you feel are going to turn out to be people that truly love and care for you as you truly love and care for them you are naturally ebullient.  And often we throw caution to the wind and put ourselves into that relationship because the heart tells us that it is the right thing to do.  These are the rocks that our hopes and dreams are dashed upon so many times.
So do we give up on people?  Do we consign the human race to that box of avoidance and pull back and choose not to experience life and relationships?  Or do we feel a sense of regret and betrayal so much that we want to get back at them?  Do we choose to pay betrayal with betrayal?
What's the right course of action?
I will detail a betrayal that will probably sound very familiar to most if not all of you.
I had the good fortune to come across one of those rare finds in life.  I found a kindred spirit that seemingly had similar thoughts and feelings to my own and someone that I found to be in connection with.  All of these things seem to be very profound at the time and to have some significance in your life.  In hindsight it is not always so clear.
So in spending time with a new friend one makes every effort to make their life better.  It is the nature of relationships that one seeks to give so that the other feels wanted and appreciated.  That means that you buy them gifts and do nice things for them.  But more importantly you make time or them, to listen to their concerns and learn about their life as you share your experiences with them.
Time and appreciation is the key.
When you reach a certain point you come to expect that appreciation in one form or another.  And when you don't get it you start down a long road of unhappiness in which, in nearly all cases, your worst fears are merely confirmed.  Suddenly your close friend, the one that professes love for you is seen to be a person that is not what you thought they were.
One thing that you may be keen to do is to think that it is something that you did that might have ruined things.  And then you get to the point where you think, no, it was that person that simply was able to fool you and once again have confirmed some of your worst thoughts about people.
Then you might want to pay that back with harsh words and your own level of betrayal and vitriol.  That starts the cycle over again.
One of the hardest things in life to do is to rise above the need to lash out and instead take what life gives you and work it into your life as something that you can use for your own growth rather than becoming that which you have been victimized by.
I'm no master at it and still have those urges but am working on it, like I will be for a long time to come.
I guess the message is that one should not become that which you have been hurt by and one should not lash out at those who have hurt you but one should use the experiences that life gives you to make yourself into a better person.  You can't be responsible for other people and certainly not for humanity in general.  One can only take responsibility for ones self and learn to make the best of it.
I hope that I can continue to grow in this regard and become a better friend to those that I meet in the future.
If I stumble in that I hope I can be forgiven.