I recently poked holes in my bucket list and had to let a hard one flow out: Be a close friend with acquaintances with whom I am not already a close friend. I do so like to be liked. This deep desire probably hearkens back to junior high when I changed schools, budded breasts, sprouted a shocking afro that won me the nickname Rosanna Rosanna Dana, lost the election for class VP, failed to make-out with a single boy conspicuously in front of my locker like other kids (you know who you are), and occasionally wore a gold lame (la-may) tube top, my homage to roller disco. But, who knows? It could be anything.
According to current pop psychology, though, we should eliminate the people in our lives who do not nurture our souls. Om shanti shanti ommmmm.
By these standards, my kids would not have made the cut when they were toddlers and would only make it 50% of the time now. Also, I'd probably have to break up with myself and I just don't know how to do that.
Still, there are those relationships where every interaction leaves us feeling like a walrus has just slapped us upside the head and then French kissed us with a mouth full of mollusks to apologize. And then there are those relationships where we feel unsettled, like something just isn't clicking but we can't pinpoint the problem.
It's all very confusing. It's possible that humans were not meant to interact in the first place. That's probably why becoming a cat person is so enticing.
I do live in a world full of people, though, and my lease prohibits cats, so I have to come up with a new plan.
Instead of gauging my relationships based upon how nice people are to me, I am going to gauge them based upon how nice I am to them. Since we tend to reflect the moods and personalities of those with whom we spend the most time and energy, a relationship that motivates me to act more uncharitably than kind is not a healthy one. This applies to how I act with the person, away from the person, and in my head (Let's face it, if we spend a disproportionate amount of brain space ruminating over our interactions with a single person, it is not a healthy relationship).
Relationships should make us better people so that we can nurture a better world. Om shanti shanti ommmmm. When a relationship makes us mean, it has to end or, at the very least, cool down. Here in my mid-40's, I don't have the patience to work on relationships where I am not reflecting, and thus generating, benevolence. That's just bad relationship mojo.
Of course, some relationships are harder than others to cull. Not everyone is in the position to up and quit their job because they think mean thoughts about their boss. And not all family members bring out the best in us. In those cases, I plan to employ the "sit-com" method of survival, wherein I picture the difficult boss/trying relative as a character in a sit-com. If I can find humor in their shenanigans, I can probably also find a way to play nice. If I cannot even get to a place of finding humor, though, then I need to detach emotionally from the person. I used to do this by pretending they were exploding every time I blinked. That was in my 20's. It doesn't seem all that peaceful now in my 40's.
What I CAN do is remember that every ugly thought I send out to a person takes the place of a lovely thought I could be putting out there for the rest of the world. In visual terms, each ugly thought is a big old pile of poo, whereas each lovely thought is a (insert your favorite botanical here; I'm going with a red wood tree). Do I want to be the person who poos on the world with my thoughts or the one who plants psychic red woods everywhere I go?
Om shanti shanti ommmmm.
"A loving person lives in a loving world; a hostile person lives in a hostile world.