"When one's has one's hand full of truth
it is not always wise to open it."
I share a house with three other beautiful women, each of us different ages and more clearly, at different life stages. All of this would be okay, if we could respect where one another currently stands. Yet, the other day, my housemates called a meeting, which I thought would be to talk about bills and responsibilities. It started off as such, but soon turned into the three of them sharing how they feel about how I've changed since I moved in three months ago.
"You're not the same person as you used to be," one of them stated.
"We feel like you're annoyed that we're home," another chimed in.
"We're not trying to gang up on you," the third added.
I listened. I heard their feelings, watched their body language, interpreted what they actually meant. Quietly, calmly, without defense. Everyone has a right to think what they think, to feel what they feel. I explained to them the things that are going on in my life (health issues, a mind-body therapy program, work objectives, interpersonal relationships, and so on) and that nothing I'm doing is designed to offend them or to have them take personally.
"Yes, I was more social when I first moved in, but I was also going through a break up and I was at a different place in my life. Now, my focus has shifted. It doesn't mean that I've become a different person, or that when I am quiet, that I'm upset with you. I'm just in my own world, working on my own stuff."
A couple of months ago, I prefaced to them that my life would be undergoing transitions. They said they supported me. I feel what has morphed the most has been my withdrawing into myself, which I felt was more respectful than burdening them with a relentless retelling of my inner concerns, something I did do, but with a select close few friends.
One of the greatest gifts my ex gave me in the time we were together was to test my will, my resolve, and my conviction. By constantly challenging me with his inability to understand where I was coming from and where I was moving towards, often with a lack of respect or honor for my thoughts and needs, it helped me to stand firmer in my space, as well as learn how not to let someone else's reaction affect me any more than it needed to. Being with him showed how I would not like to treat another human being. These lessons came into play during the interplay amongst the four of us that night, where I could see that what I have to say may not come across.
I mentioned to them that there had been a couple of times where they partied until the wee hours of the morning, knowing I had to work early the next day. Immediately, their response was, "It only happened two times! And we apologized for it!!"
I took note of how quick they were to defend themselves. I was using the example as a way to explain why I have pulled back a bit from our interactions, giving them space to be who they are and in turn, asking for the same respect. I'm not sure if they saw the irony in what they were doing, that though they said they didn't want me to feel like they were "ganging up" on me, that's essentially what they did. Any one of them could have talked to me individually about how they felt versus speaking to one another without my knowledge and bringing this all up as part of their agenda for the night, something I was not privy to. Or, how I told them that I now feel I must be happy all the time in order that they're comfortable around me, to which they said, "No no, that's not how we want you to feel." But actually, it is, otherwise this meeting wouldn't have taken the direction it did and they would've remembered when I had told them months before that I would be looking at things more deeply in my life and it might cause me to be less forthcoming.
It usually takes me a few days to process experiences anyway, and in the days after, I drafted up a couple of emails I did not send. I tend to teeter in the balance between saying something, which could provide growth opportunities for both myself and the other person or let things evaporate on their own. How do you know when to act versus when to put up your hands and say, "Please think what you'd like to think, believe what you'd like to believe, and I will do the same."
I spoke to a few friends and of course friends are likely going to take our sides, but I tend to form relationships with individuals who honestly also point out areas of improvement when I need to make them. In this case, my friends affirmed that by living my life, I am likely reflecting back to them areas of discomfort with themselves, which rather than deal with on their own, they've deflected back towards me.
We are all, every one of us, mirrors to everyone else we encounter. In yoga, I learned that first and foremost to take the finger and point it back to ourselves before we start pointing them at anyone else. My feelings were very hurt, but I've moved through them. I've gained clarity on the situation and seen where I could behave differently that would benefit the greater good.
Now, I'm practicing the art of letting go and continuing to be in my truth with as much respect for everyone else around me. In the end, there may not be a right answer, just an intention to live the best we know how to do. For today, I believe that's enough.