If only I could

I am a bit of a reader of books oriented to making sense of an emotionally turbulent world. I like to make sense of why things happen and why they impact us the way they do. I like to have some idea of what drives us and how we may suffer from our own and other people actions.

The more I read, the easier it is to choose a different way, and the more I wish I had known all of this much earlier. If I had been really aware that we are intelligent beings driven by primitive desires that served to keep us safe in ancient times; If I had realised that my anxiety made me vicious and mean to protect me when  I would prefer to be kind and compassionate; If I had truly appreciated how well we can care for each other, solve problems and communicate our needs from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion; Then there is a very great deal that I would do differently now. For myself, and most certainly for others.

Love is one of our most powerful drives as human beings, besides greed which is really a throw back to our ancestral days needing to secure the most resources to feed our tribe (at a time when resources were scarce- it has been suggested that as a species we lack a satiety button because we never needed one)… Love., I was talking about love. We yearn for connection, to belong, to be thought of in a positive way and cared for. We need it in fact.

Following a strange breakup- which eventually turned out not to be so strange since he had been seeing someone else- a friend of mine and I connected. Because we were on opposite sides of the country at first we had skype dates, and phone calls, and text messages. I mattered to someone and that person mattered to me. Sadly, meanwhile I was hurting pretty bad from the confusing breakup. I didn’t move far from my bed, I didn’t cook and I rarely changed out of my pyjamas. So these skype dates because pretty important to bring some colour back to a dreary and sad world.

A small amount of time went by, a few weeks. My dear friend flew from the other side of the country to see me. It was very exciting and incredibly romantic. No one had ever done something so grand for little old me before and predictably I felt very special. But not long after he arrived, I began to feel inexplicably sad. I wasn’t ready for this kid of relationship. My mind, with it’s scared and anxious thoughts started to make me believe that there was no way my friend could understand that it was just too much to contemplate a romance and let’s just enjoy each others company. Instead it made me bitchy, crabby, argumentative and generally unpleasant. Long way to come to be treated so poorly.

I realise now several things that could have made for a different scenario. I also understand that in the midst of my angst the kindness centre of my brain was somewhat inhibited and I was in survival mode. But what could have made it better would have been knowing that anxiety is an old world defense mechanism. Knowing this defense for what it is I could have worked at communicating my fears from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion instead of allowing myself to act from anxiety. I could have held dear how far my friend had come and honoured his hopes with kindness, gentleness and compassion instead of acting like a cornered and caged animal with the surly teeth-gnashing responses he did not deserve. I could have approached our time together as a whole from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion and allowed us to have fun and forge a lasting foundation of friendship instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater a midst waves of anxiety generated defense mechanisms based in a fear that he would not accept my need for only friendship.

This friendship was/is important to me. If I could have that time again, with the knowledge I have now, I would do so much differently. If only I could.

“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.”  ~Terri St. Cloud