Whatever Happened to Getting Along?

I finally got myself an Instagram account and I just love some of the posts. I follow gardeners, recipe type stuff and of course my daughter. I love that I can just click a button that say’s “what is this crap?” and I stop seeing it. I am paraphrasing. I don’t personally post anything because frankly I’m not too sure how to do maneuver Instagram. And it seems like work. But I do enjoy so many of the things I see.

One trend is extremely common in the posts that appear. I follow a couple of accounts regarding ADHD and Autism for personal reasons as well as Narcissism healing info also for personal reasons. So, I think I understand why I see what I see. And that trend is basically this. If you don’t bring value to my life, you’re out. If you don’t accept me as I am, you’re done. If a man doesn’t treat you like the Goddess you are, move on. Find another. Basically, there is no room for anyone in my life that doesn’t understand me, accept me, embrace me or plain old love me just because. This isn’t just Instagram… It is the world!

I have one brother I have tussled with for over sixty years. We’ve tried. We have been civil. We even were kind of friends a few times as our lives meshed. But we have also had run ins at times. We aren’t tight but we do contact each other now and again. See each other once in a while. We are siblings, not friends. He follows my blog and leaves messages sometimes. We are old. But we are family. We are so not the same. Our dust ups are between us, and my husband heard lots of complaining as I am sure my brother’s wife did as well. Yet it didn’t really spill over to our kids. His daughter got married and we were invited. Same with my girls. We had grandkids and great grand kids and told each other. Pictures are sent. I can sum it up with this story. After one disagreement my brother’s daughter went to the same University as my son’s friend. One weekend my son went to visit his buddy and ended up in a bar. He ran into his cousin and after the surprise and accompanying “what are you doing here” comments, my niece said, “So what is going on with your Mom and my Dad?” To which my son replied “I don’t know. I think it has something to do with Grandma.” They eye-rolled, laughed, and had a great night. Not their problem. The thing is we do both make an effort of some sort. We get along. We aren’t friends but we do love each other. We just aren’t able to give each other what is needed. And that is okay.

Now I admit I have walked away from people in my life. For my part it is often I just don’t make the effort and they stop calling. No fights. No confrontation. No nothing really. I was never keen on my in-laws and when my husband died, I tried a bit with my mother-in-law. A few calls. Visits with my grandkids because I knew my husband would want that. In time I realized it was up to my kids to see her and bring their kids. There were things came to light after his death that were hurtful, and I realized that I didn’t want to try anymore. So, I didn’t. And they stopped as well.

My college roommate dropped me after seventeen years and I only recently found out the reason from a mutual friend. I was a little surprised and yet…. Not really. Looking back as an old lady I find it silly, but I guess for her, a young woman in her thirties, it was a big thing. Hindsight right? I see the friendship for what it was back then. We both needed something from the other and as we grew up, we were unable to fulfill those needs. We grew. We changed. She dropped me in a short conversation where she didn’t give me the reasons. She just matter-of-factly listed my character flaws and said adios. It was hurtful and yet I know now it was meant to be hurtful. I grieved and in time I recovered and now, eh… I am good. We had some fun.

There is that poem about people being in your life for a reason, a season, and a lifetime. It goes on at some length explaining why and where and when and what you can do and what they can do. But the title says it all. No need to explain. People weave in and out of our lives every day. If we overanalyze it there is too much pressure. On us. On them. On us both putting pressure on each other. It is a spiral that soon gets out of control. It boils down to expectations. What we want from other people. What we think is best for us and them. People form groups, be it family or friends because there are commonalities. That is normal. It the common goals and ideas within the group are not doing it for you then you feel it. You are off in some way. Perhaps there is one person in the group that messes with you in some way. How do you deal with it? Well, you can try to get along, leave the group, or turn the group against the other person. That last one looks pretty horrible when written down and yet it is very common.

I know there are personal relationships which are so toxic and even physically damaging that there is no way other than going no contact. I know there are parents out there that are horrible. That is a real thing these days too. So many young people want to break away from their families. There is trauma from their childhood, and they are unable to resolve it with their parents. I understand this. Yet I see it from the other side. My own daughter has broken contact with me for almost two years. It isn’t the first time. When people ask me why, I am unable to give them an answer. Not because she hasn’t shared her feelings. But because my list of sins is so long, I just wouldn’t know where to begin. I have my own version of events which puts me in a less villainous role, but it doesn’t matter. It isn’t her version. I can’t fault her. She is the only one who knows her life. She is the one who knows the entire story of why it came to this. I miss her children but not the angst. But again, it is her right to walk away. I don’t bring value to her life.

Soon it will be three years since my husband died. COVID was right on the heels of his death, and it was good for me to be locked away from the world with my grief. The roller coaster ride of events and emotions strained my resolve to a breaking point, but I feel like I have emerged from a dark, dark place. I see the goodness in the world. I understand there are toxic people. More than that though I see there are people who are afraid. Who hurt. Who just want to be loved and want a kind world to live in. Life is so much easier if the people around us are kind. Caring. Loving. Accepting us for who we are. But there is a darker side which has been evolving for decades. I am reminded of the Pepsi/Coca-Cola advertising wars from years ago. My favourite was a little boy who carried a case of Coke and placed it in the floor. Then a case of Pepsi was placed on top of the coke. The young boy stood on the two case to reach high up on the shelf to grab a bottle of RC Cola. A brilliant ad in my opinion. Sadly, this type of advertising has evolved into an almost chilling and horrifying type of everyday control. Whether it is politics, religion, advertising, the underlying message is to vilify your opponent. Divide and conquer. Control! All for the love of money. Prestige. Power. This is where we have come in the world. But along with all of these things comes anger and that permeates the energy in the entire world. If we don’t stop contributing to the anger, it will kill us all. Our bodies aren’t able to fight disease when it is constantly bombarded with anger and hate and overloads of toxic information.

I guess what I am gathering from all of the stuff I see on social media and in the news is this. Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are. Conversely, they don’t want to accept others for who they are. And you can’t have it both ways folks. You just can’t. It is called hypocrisy. Not entirely the correct word I know but it really is a do as I say and not as I do scenario. If we wish the world was a better place it is up to us to make it a better place. My Mama used to say people needed to sweep off their own doorsteps before they started to complain about other people’s stoops. Look inside. My girlfriend Rhonda says other people are a mirror to our souls. What we don’t like in them is often a negative trait we see hidden within ourselves. We can hide our dirty secrets from others but not from ourselves. It leads to shame and anger and illness. When we start to accept others as they are we will learn to accept ourselves and live lives full of joy and peace rather than hiding behind a facade we create to show the world. I’m not saying you can’t turn away from other people. But what I have learned is that if you’re going to keep them around you might as well just try to get along. When they are with you and when they are not. In time it will become easy and just natural to accept others as they are. The first person we need to accept is ourselves and face the truth. We are damaged. We are sad. We do feel unloved. And no one can fix that but us. Stop believing the lies you tell yourself. Speak kindly to yourself and about yourself and in time you will do the same to others. Then maybe we can all just get along. Maybe…

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