I’ve been thinking a lot about aloneness and loneliness lately. Can’t imagine why, with that day coming up and all. I have so many friends that are in the same situation I am in right now.
I wish I could just fast forward through this week.
No matter how much healing has come, and how ready I am to get on with it already, every “first time alone on……. in 18 years” I experience as a (soon-to-be) single person has been, is, and will be hard.
One of my best qualities – fierce loyalty – is also one of my biggest faults. I tend to expect too much from people. I simply don’t know how to be anything other than a devoted best friend/wife/partner/mom.
Learning how to be just me/mom and navigating new friendships/relationships with people that don’t owe me any sort of loyalty is excruciatingly hard. Much more so than I thought it would be.
I’m not a person with a ton of casual friends. I never have been. I have a lot of acquaintances, but I’ve only had a few close friends. I know that is because I tend to give everything to the people closest to me, and it’s exhausting when you try to do that with too many people. I simply don’t have the energy or the personality to not be all there in any kind of relationship. I have a hard time accepting that not many other people are like that. So I’m probably not going to get that in return. So it takes a while for me to figure out if a person is someone I want to really let in. But once I decide you’re in, then you’re in.
Sometimes whether you like it or not.
Or whether you’ve decided I’m in or not.
And that’s where the problem begins. When I let someone in who hasn’t told me they want to be in. And I start behaving as if we have an understanding, when we clearly don’t. And then I get upset at perceived slights that don’t exist because the relationship in my head is not the relationship that is actually there.
I know a lot of that comes from the 18 years I spent walking on eggshells with people who’s picture is in the dictionary under “passive-aggressive” and “silent treatment.” That has made me prone to viewing all lapses in communication as such. Which leads to me obsessing over what I might have done that is annoying/frustrating/wrong and worrying about it or trying to fix it.
And I don’t need to do that.
I don’t want to be that person anymore.
And, like celebrating Advent in December for the first time in my life, I am actually going to observe Lent this year.
And it couldn’t come at a better time. Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent – is tomorrow, February 13.
So, for this, my first Lenten observance, I am going to give up the unrealistic, unfair expectations I’ve placed on others.
But I am going to actively try to guard against obsessing about, worrying about, over-analyzing and over-thinking the actions of others by removing things from my life that encourage such non-productive wastes of time and energy.
Like social media.
I have several church groups that use Facebook for communication, so I can’t completely unplug, though I have thought about it. But I am going to limit my actual “on Facebook” activity to those things and only check it once a day, probably in the evening. And I’m going to set a reminder on my calendar, so that I only check it when that goes off. I have even removed the icon from my phone, and will be leaving the iPad at home.
I need to chill out and re-adjust my focus.
40 days sounds like a good start.
Edited to add: This is the devo I am going to be doing during Lent – 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I’ve tried to start it twice already, and stuff always came up. But it’s a 40 day devotional, so I figure that’s a sign. 🙂
- Preparing for Lent: Choices to Transform (catholiccharitiesdioceseofkalamazoo.wordpress.com)
- A simple exercise for Lent (300wordsaday.com)
- Changing Something for Forty Days (nationalavenuecc.com)
- Resources for Lent 2013 (godspace.wordpress.com)
- Sometimes you must abstain so that you might more fully engage (joshuarhone.com)
- Discipleship Practices for Lent (youngadultministries.wordpress.com)