“Here’s the truth:
You can be a really good friend, and still not be liked. You can hold someone dear and still not be valued. You can say all the right things, and still have someone twist your words, brush off your words, or worse—use your words against you. You can give it your absolute best, and still not have it work out.
You can be straight-up sunshine in the flesh, and still walk into some heavy rain clouds. You can play your heart out, and still lose the game. You can place the highest bid, and still walk away empty-handed.
You can be pure as humanly possible, and still be painted as the bad guy.
You can be kind, and love well. You can be funny, and charming, and smart. You can be warm, and welcoming, and all-around wonderful, and still be rejected.
Relationships are tricky. People are messy, and us all trying to do life together is complicated like crazy. No one will ever convince me that it’s a simple thing to live hand-in-hand with each other while still holding space for all our differences, yet alone our own baggage.
It’s gonna go wrong sometimes. Stuff is gonna hit the fan. That’s just the way it is. There’s really no sugar-coating it, and there’s no easy way around it. Sometimes it just doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to, or the way you envision it despite giving it your all.
I’m learning a few things, though, after years and years and years of being wrecked with guilt over losing a friend, or having someone walk away and never knowing why. Over not being invited, or included. Over being too much, or not enough. Over being convinced that they were all guilty, and I was completely squeaky clean:
1. You can’t control other people. Not even in the slightest, and it is a complete waste to ever assume you can. It will make you angry, and exhausted, and chasing something you don’t have a chance to catch, so switch gears and control you. Control your mouth. Control how you treat people. Control your attitude. Guard your heart, and keep it genuine. Keep showing up, and let that be enough.
2. Other people aren’t you. They don’t think like you, or feel like you. Their experiences belong to them alone. They approach situations differently, and their outlook is nothing like yours. Don’t expect them to handle things exactly like you do. They aren’t you. They’re them. Do your best to love them for it. Differences don’t have to divide us.
3. Some people are never going to like you, and there isn’t necessarily a rhyme, or any real reason. Your life will improve significantly as soon as you learn this.
4. Sometimes you’re actually the bad guy. Sometimes you’re the one acting foolish. Sometimes you’re the one with the toxic trait or two. Check your own heart. Clean out the junk, and grow from it. Apologize, and now that you’ve learned—take that wisdom, do better next time, stay humble, and give others an awful lot of grace along the way.
5. There is a purpose to it all. There is beauty everywhere. That failed friendship will teach you how to do the next one better. That heartache will remind you to be gentle with other people. That loneliness will help you appreciate connection when you do find it—and you will find it. Not every season lasts forever, but every season does produce something precious eventually, even if it’s just a fresh perspective.
So sleep well, my dear friend.
Life is a long series of learning to let some things go, and hold others close—a catch and release sort of cycle. Let go of needing approval. Let go of bitterness, and resentment, and any of that junk. Let go of insecurity. Let go of guilt. It will keep you shackled like nothing else, and hold close to what you have right now.
Hold close to your family, and the people in your life who have stuck around. Hold close to your morals, and your integrity. Hold close to your light, and your joy, and your hope. Hold close to today. Believe in tomorrow. Hold closest to love. At the end of the day, it’s all that really matters, and as long as you have it, you have more than enough.