Sometimes you have moments of soul searching that reveal something you didn’t expect. In looking back over the last decade since Hubbin and I got married, I am amazed at how much change we have weathered together. Sometimes I’m amazed that we weathered it at all. Although being a military spouse comes with the expectation of flexibility in the face of regular change, there have been other difficult seasons that we didn’t necessarily expect.
What surprised me even more than the realities of some of those changes is how our community and support network has shifted with each of life’s alterations. There’s nothing like a major life event to force you to evaluate where – and to whom – you are giving your energy.
When Hubbin got out of the Marine Corps and we moved halfway across the country, we were astonished at how quickly most of our friends dropped out of touch. To be honest we felt super hurt at the time but, as time marched on, we learned to value those of our friends who remained. Those who stayed in touch and those who go out of their way to see us when we go back to visit are truly precious to us.
Later, when we hit a bumpy patch in our marriage, the people who stood by our sides were not the people we expected and we are stronger for their unexpected and beautiful support.
And again, when we had our sweet Tiny, there were people I truly thought would be a part of our daughter’s life who have simply disappeared. Yet new and beautiful friendships have risen and their love and support of us and our daughter has meant so much.
Looking back I can recognize that I’ve learned two important lessons over the last several years.
First, I’ve learned that I don’t have the energy to dig for friendship; this lesson has only become more pronounced as I’ve tried finding my village. I need friends who don’t speak in code or expect me to meet them 75% of the way all the time. As we get older we get to choose how and to whom we give our energy – and we learn that we don’t have to feel guilty when we choose to stop pouring energy into friendship sieves. I don’t have the time to chase down friends who never return texts or calls. I simply don’t have the energy to be the person who constantly reminds people that we made plans because they can’t use their calendars. It’s okay to reserve my energy for people who reflect the same deliberate companionship. More importantly, this careful conservation of my energy is actually an act of self-care.
Secondly, I can honestly say – although this was not always true – that I’m not bitter about the loss of these friendships. The disappointment eventually fades. Holding a grudge does not bring them back or change the past; it only serves to use up my own precious energy. I know some people are part of our lives for a short period and some for the long haul. So I choose to be thankful for all of them.
To support my pensive mood today, I’ve chosen to diffuse Young Living’s Acceptance. I did have a bit of a debate between utilizing Gratitude or Surrender but felt that the fragrance of Acceptance, with Frankincense and Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, suited my mood better. This oil blend is great for support the emotional balance as you learn to be at peace with yourself and others.
What do feel compelled to do with the relationships in your life? Are you holding onto to the feelings of being letdown by others or are you cultivating an attitude of gratitude for all those who have influenced your life? Do you have some relationships that you need to evaluate? Or do you need some help filtering your relationships? My hope for you is that, no matter where you are in this part of your journey, that you will continue to do consider thoughtfully the best investments for your energy.
I really love this post about quality friendships by Scary Mommy. This is such an open and honest discussion of how hard it is to chase friendships when you’re already over-invested with your own family of small people.
You can find more information on Acceptance in the Essential Oils Pocket Reference by Life Science Publishing (I am currently using the fifth edition) and Healing Oils of the Bible by David Stewart Ph.D., as well as The Young Living Website. Acceptance is also mentioned on these blogs about healthy relationships and balanced lifestyles by Young Living.