As I've been moving along in my goal of putting myself first, I've realized how much I dislike conflict. I always knew I didn't like it, after all, who does? People who thrive on winning an argument often win nothing else, and like Dr. Phil says, "Do you wanna be right? Or do you wanna be happy?"
What I'm realizing most recently is that I also find it upsetting when my values conflict with another's. Perhaps because I see no resolution, after all, our values are central to how we engage in the world, so when I run into someone who has a fundamentally opposite approach to me, I don't really know where, or if, any middle ground might be.
I don't want to become someone who insists that everyone around me think as I do, that is so annoying! And boring, really. I love differences. But I suppose difference can go too far.
And when it comes right down to it, when I look at someone else's life and think it's just a soap opera, I don't want to be part of it.
Obviously, in most cases, how people raise their kids, relate to their spouses, or choose to spend their time and money, is none of my business. But most people don't cross my imaginary lines. From time to time, I feel trapped. I have had friends where, all of a sudden, I am shocked by what they set as a priority. It's not my place to say whether their priorities are right or wrong, but I guess I have to recognize that the friendship has shifted an awful lot for me to be shocked by them.
Perhaps the friend has gone through some changes recently, perhaps I just never noticed where their values lay. Perhaps the friendship was just never deep enough for me to know their character very well.
It's hard to love someone, to enjoy their company, and yet to find myself thinking, Hmmm... maybe I'm happier with you further away from my heart.
On the other hand, I do appreciate the growth I've made in this area. As sad as it is, it's still nice to recognize that I'm not wasting my time or energy, or hurting myself or my friend, by trying to make things different. I will honour the friendship by finding out more, and withholding judgement as much as I can. But if that friend's life is the soap opera I seem to have been seeing lately, I don't want to join the cast. I don't even want to watch. I'll just change the channel.
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