Victory in Relationships

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars.” E.H.Chapin

“Character is the total of thousands of small daily strivings to live up to the best that is in us.” Lt. Gen. Arthur Trudeau

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Even having the best relationships with family, we still fight to maintain control of our thoughts and feelings. We all want to be number one and second place is never comfortable. I am working on making it satisfying. I remember as a young adult, visiting family at a wedding or gathering. I was always the one to be present when a relative needed me, or needed to talk. My siblings appeared randomly, yet they were sought after first. It was hurtful to miss out on the talks, because my siblings overshadowed me. They got the attention, big hugs and kisses, and the plans to get together. In the meantime, I was basically out in the cold, and unnoticed. At the next function of course, I would be the only attendee and the relatives were glad to see me.Suffice it to say, I never received any attention if my siblings chose to randomly appear at a family gathering. I understood logically why they were welcomed so much, because they were missing at most of the other gatherings. Like the prodigal son, everyone was happy at their momentary return. As much as all of us get the idea of it, we still anger inside at our quick displacement. It occurred to me how many times we all do this to each other. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to others, yet we disregard the simple things. The mundane tasks we received from them quite often go unnoticed.

The excitement of the new arrival, makes us disregard the silent dependable person, that we easily relegated to the background without any thought. I have been at both ends of it, and see some reasons, and some dilemmas with it. We’re looking for acknowledgement of who we are, from others. We define ourselves through the eyes of others. We want the quick stamp of approval, and yearn to be part of that persons life or group. Because of our own insecurities, we must be accepted by others in order to feel worthy.

Being so caught up in sensitive feelings, permits us little time to reflect on the many experiences we enjoyed with this group. We love the good times spent with them, even if they took us for granted. However, we decide to decline attending the next invitation, and make a silly excuse.

Perhaps at some moment, we recall the time our relative appeared at one of our parties. Wow we hadn’t seen him for years. It was a wonderful night, full of catching up. We stop and become aware and alarmed at how we spent little time with other family members that night. Suddenly we understnd the hurt we may have caused others. It causes us to change our mind, get dressed and hurry to the party.

We’ve probably all experienced the slight when a newcomer arrives, a popular character comes on the scene, or a long lost relative shows up. we’ve most likely experienced being the excited family member who ignores the regulars for the lost sheep. It works both ways, and doesn’t have much to do with love hate or meanness. In the end those who frequently  attend the party, have the most to recall and many more shared smiles and laughs to warm their hearts.

We are worthy. We are unique. We are not defined by what others think of us or do for us. We are defined by our freedom to make decisions. We can elect to stay home and miss the party. We would be missed and the next time probably get a lot of attention. Question is, do we want to miss a great social just to smooth our emotional state?

 For me it reinforces, that I am striving to accept what I cannot change. Therefore if I am relegated to second or third place in any or all relationships, I must attempt to deal with that. Those that I love have my unconditional love. That means they don’t have to earn it. They don’t have to indulge or please me. They can hurt my feelings and I will forgive them and continue to love them with my whole heart. It’s not about me and my feelings. It’s about my unconditional love for them.

Do I fall short, yes. When I am hurt do I come back for more, yes. Is it worth the effort, yes. Am I improving, yes. Our lives on earth are about learning how to love, truly love unconditionally. When we get it, and learn it, we come to realize everyone is our family. What a wonderful world we would have, or create, if that could become a reality.

“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, nor in the shouts or plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves are triumph and defeat.”

“Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.”  Arthur Christopher Benson

“When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” ― Jodi Picoult,

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ― Lao Tzu

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