In recent months, Your Jane has had several breakthroughs- with health, with mental clarity, even with overall happiness. I am doing well, amigos and amigas- better than I have in a long time. It's due to the help I've received along the way as well as the strength I've built within myself. I've tackled problems and solved them. I've been applauded and rewarded for my work. I've taken care of the things that in turn take care of me, and I've got to say, life is good.
It seems like this has gone unnoticed by a few friends of mine. Given, they are not my closest friends, but others whom I see from time to time. They seem to want to offer advice I haven't asked for, and try to encourage some sort of relationship in which Your Jane is in distress and They swoop in to save the day. Then, Your Jane puts the back of her hand to her forehead, utters "My Hero! You've saved the day!" and said people feel great.
But the thing is, I just want to have friendships with these people. I am not interested in what they think I should do with my life or how I should go about my day-to-day living. Happily, I'm no longer in the place where I need to go to either one for help, and I'm not so weak anymore that I need saving. Incidentally, what I hear from one in particular is unsolicited (and sometimes out of left field in Projectionland).
There is a pattern I've observed with a few family members, where they need to churn and sputter and tell you what they think until they are all worn out, and I just listen. I don't agree, I don't acquiesce, I just listen. I've employed this tactic, with limited success. With one amiga, I will likely need to shift into Confrontation status, in which I will say, "Are you going to tell me to do this thing or that thing until I agree to it? If so, prepare to talk for a really long time because I didn't ask for any help, I didn't wonder what your opinion was, and frankly, I'm not that interested in being told what to do!"
Yeah, it's gotten a bit out of control.
Then there are the babies. Not real babies, just the chronologically grown-up adults who look to Your Jane as some sort of life preserver out in the Real World ocean. Your Jane doesn't take on your problems. I literally had someone who would bring in her bills (problems) and dump them onto my desk. It's a gesture that says, "Here, I'm making this your problem too. Now, take some ownership of this situation."
I would say, "Why are these bills on my desk? It's not my job to figure out what to do with them."
Yeah, I kind of feel like I'm being a bitch when I do that... but why in the hell should anyone else burden me with their problems? First of all, that's terrible manners. Second of all, those are your problems, not mine. You own them. Maybe someone could help you with them... but for what I'm talking about, that is a different discussion.
So it seems we've come full circle. Your Jane is strong enough to be looked at by some as the life preserver, but others still want to see her in the flailing girl in search of a life preserver role.
For those who are looking for life preservers, you have to understand that other people can't make you want to live and enjoy your life. Other people can't force you to stop taking painkillers or sleeping 16 hours a day and pushing things you love out of your life. Other people have a limited role in what you decide to do. The decisions you make, the thoughts you think, the way you live your life and spend your time is up to YOU. If you think that you can rely on other people to give you the incentive to live a good life, you need to check yourself. That is a DECISION that you have to make for YOURSELF.
I have been known to brush off the more difficult hangers-on who want to use me to feel better. I find that I just can't handle the dependency and end up feeling resentful and annoyed. I know this is my issue, somehow.
People who help us with our physical and emotional selves can be really great resources. Feeling good physically makes us feel better mentally, often times. There is nothing like the boost you can get from nutritious food, massage, acupuncture, yoga, exercise, and so on; sometimes others have to be there to treat you (or cook for you) so that your physical body can benefit from these things. This contribution to your life is something to be celebrated and appreciated! But these people, as loving as they may be, are not responsible for making you want to live a good life. Happiness (or maybe even just the pursuit of it) begins within.
Friendship is what life's all about- not taking on the problems of others and trying to solve them, not secretly feeling superior to people in your life who are going through hard times and whom you are "helping" to "get better." Friendships don't exist on the My Fair Lady level; if you're looking for a fixer-upper, it's not going to turn out to be much of a friendship. Friendship shows the give and take, the acceptance, the letting go of the need to parent or boss around the person. Accept a friend as a peer, not a fixer-upper or a life preserver. Nobody's the same and we all are working on becoming better people, but the dynamic of friendship should be tolerance, acceptance, and a willingness to laugh at (and accept!) your friend's quirks rather than condemn and try to correct them.
Whew! Well, that was my rant, and now I'm spent. I hope you have a great week.