Compromise has been touted for multiple generations as the necessary factor in all successful relationships. Having tested this theory, I can assure you that compromising weakens all relationships, including those with friends. Unfortunately, most folks confuse fake niceness with kindness, forcing their relationships to be inauthentic, shallow, and dishonest.
Gillian’s Secret Confession
Gillian: It’s been years since my last confession.
QB: Why is that?
Gillian: Because I’m a good person and I generally treat people like I want to be treated.
QB: So, why are you here now? Have you mistreated someone?
Gillian: Well, I wouldn’t say that. Actually I’m not sure.
QB: Okay, let’s hear it.
Gillian: Last night met 3 girlfriends for dinner and drinks. While driving there, wondered off…will tonight will be the same as our last time together…and the one before that one… and the one before that one? OMG, will they eventually end up whining about the people who they take spin classes with? Will they bellyache about their coworkers and how awful their work environment is? Will they trash their husbands, boyfriends, and booty call dude?”
I started to feel anxiety building in my chest…why do I continue to do this over and over? I fantasized about turning the car around, returning to the comfort of my apartment, sitting with a cozy blanket, being alone with a bowl of popcorn and a chick flick or some reality show.
But, as usual, I continued driving. The night ended up being exactly what I anticipated and I came home feeling empty, pissed off, and full of questions.
I love my friends but honestly, I don’t know why. I think it’s because they are willing to be friends with me. I’m not sure I like them. The way they trash other people on and on is draining to listen to. It makes me wonder if they trash me too.
Do you know anyone like Gillian? Maybe you might know people like her friends.
Seriously now, have you seen Gillian in the mirror a few times? I used to see her in the mirror and hang out with her buddies every weekend about 20 years ago.
Why do people, you and me included, settle for who and what we don’t really want? I’m talking about compromising, in some form or another, in all areas, across the board. We compromise and settle for mediocre in social circles, careers, intimate relationships, and most definitely politicians. Are we afraid of appearing greedy, wanting too much? After all, shouldn’t we be grateful for what we have? Maybe it’s true, we don’t know what we want so we take whatever comes our way.
To get the answers, we need to go back to a time where you surrounded by people who were guiding you in a direction that they believed was best for you to FIT into this world.
Perhaps you had elements of the same codes Gillian was given, like; do everything to the best of your ability, play nicely with others, try to get along with everybody, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything, small minds get amused quickly, so, don’t be too quick to laugh, too often, or too loud, it’s lonely at the top, people who don’t fit in won’t have friends, don’t show off, don’t brag, don’t be too picky, don’t argue, don’t be too needy, compromise. There are endless examples more but you get the idea, right?
When Gillian was showing up in my mirror often, I wish I would have known then to ask myself “Why don’t I want them to know how I really feel?” If I would have sat with this question everyday for a month and taken just 5 minutes to answer myself (on paper) without BS, it would have quickly become evident how effortlessly I used to slip into playing small, blending in, to feel like I belonged, I would have been able to identify the specific conditionings installed with loving intention in my childhood. I must admit, there was a part of me that was aware it was all a coward’s act, completely inauthentic.
Years ago, as newly weds, my husband and I used to hang out with another newly wed couple almost every weekend. They were our fun couple friends. We had loads of fun. I noticed that as time on, Nina opened up to me personally. She would present issues in her job, with her husband, other friends, and I became her main sounding board. Eventually, I started giving her recommendations to “fix” the problems. What I soon came to realize, that unfortunately for me, when I needed someone to talk with, Nina was not available. Basically, our friendship began to revolve around her and making her life better. Maybe you have known a Nina or 2 and can relate.
The sad part is not what Nina was doing, but what I wasn’t doing. I was too chicken to confront her with how I felt. I started to lose sleep over it and still did nothing. I would go on and on about Nina to my husband but never directly to her, just like Gillian’s friends. I was committed to complaining. This went on for over a year and then, good luck found its way to me. Nina and her husband had to move to a different country. I was thrilled, not for her, I am embarrassed to admit, but for no longer having to avoid the discussion. It was my way out. Can’t have the talk if she’s not here. Yes, it’s true. I was a BIG coward.
I consciously chose mediocrity over greatness, coward over courage to potentially step into something better, and something real. Do you know this feeling? Sometimes it’s combined with ‘whateva’. But when you’re all alone, TV isn’t on, you aren’t in front of the computer or playing crap on your phone, when you aren’t doing shit to distract yourself from you, then you feel it. If the essence of who you are, let’s call it your soul, was like a tree, it would feel like losing a leaf. And because you have so many leaves, nobody would notice. But you, you know, you would, do, and will always know, at some level.
Where are you holding on to the comfort of a coward just to hold on to a friend, a spouse, a parent, a child, an employee, an employer? What is the real reason have you been unwilling to show or tell them, whoever they are, who you can be and how you really feel? What if they already know you’ve been bullshitting and don’t really like you anyway? Would you try harder to get them to like you or, would you be willing to divorce the coward within to engage with authenticity?
Reporting confessions one blog post at a time,