Dear Diary – Seeing ourselves through someone else’s eyes..

June 15, 2014

Dear Diary

True friends have the ability to hold a mirror in front of us so that we can really see how someone else might have seen us at a particular time, and for me that happened this week. I consider myself to be very blessed with my friends. I don’t keep many close, but I have three true male and three true female friends all who offer different perspectives just when I need them.

Earlier this week I had B over for dinner. He’s a real character, funny, loyal and often pretty insightful and we’ve known each other for nearly two decades. He’s an actor, presenter and business man, and whilst at times he can be an outright lovey, he’s far from being the self absorbed lovey type you often come across in the entertainment world, and he loves women and has a very healthy approach to relationships, where he sees the beauty in all descriptions.

I was recounting a time from 10 years ago when I had this brief relationship with this younger chap. We’d seen each other for a couple of months, maybe once a week, maybe once every couple of weeks, but to  me it wasn’t at all serious. From my perspective it didn’t appear to be going anywhere. The sex was great and he was attractive and a nice guy, but we didn’t have that much in common once we got passed the physical attraction and we never really had bonding conversations where you share your hopes and dreams. And after a while I just thought there was little point in continuing.

We communicated mostly by text, so assuming (I know I know!) he felt the same, I ended it by text.  I can hear you now – seriously? you ended it by text? what a bitch move!

The response I received from him was a 3 page text, calling me everything under the sun, targeting every possible weakness of mine and firing it back with brutal accuracy, designed to hurt me as much as possible, and it did. (in hindsight that was my karma). I was so deeply hurt at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to respond. At this point it was about winning, and I was damned if I was going to give him the satisfaction of sending a long angry text back. So in a couple of days, I sent him a simple, ‘I didn’t know you cared.’ text back, feeling smug for supposedly batting him down, and there it ended.

My focus had been on his long and nasty response to my ending it and I felt justified. But as I told the story to B, B made me realise that it had been a pretty cold way to end things. That from a blokes point of view, he must have liked me to  be still coming to see me in the first place. I had thought I was just a novelty to him, an older woman he was toying with. Because we had never really spoken about ‘us’ I had made all my own assumptions.

Through B’s eyes, I could now see that his text had come from a place where he was clearly hurt and might have thought it was something more, and that I had been a bit of a bitch for not even communicating with him in person to at least consider the possibility that he may have had feelings for me.

I know there were times when I was younger and less experienced where I had been insensitive and lacking in compassion, but tough life lessons had developed these attributes within me, or so I thought, so it was a surprise to find that there were still points where I was that callous teenager and it obviously came from a defensive place.

Underneath it all, it was down to my own lack of confidence and self worth, that caused me to treat someone else in a worthless manner, and it makes me feel ashamed. Ashamed how I dealt with the situation in the first place, and ashamed that it’s taken 10yrs for me to even realise that I had been the one in the wrong and not him.

Then something else happened. I was watching ‘that awkward moment’ film with Zac Efron, and there’s this scene where he is genuinely surprised when this girl breaks up with him and he’s surprised not because she is dumping him, but because he hadn’t even realised they were in a relationship that needed breaking up from. They’d been seeing each other for 6 weeks but he just thought they were hooking up. Does that mean I approached relationships more like a guy??

It was so much easier when I was in my teens and guys asked you if you wanted to go out with them and then you knew you were ‘going out’, i.e. boyfriend girlfriend.

After that episode, for sometime I steered clear of younger men as it left me suspicious of why they were interested in someone who was older in the first place. (I did say for sometime, not indefinitely!) He tried to make me feel that I should be grateful and I didn’t want to feel that way again. I also decided that I didn’t want to be in a relationship unless I felt a truly special connection (and that one’s a fairly tall order too!)

So the lesson learnt is never to assume that just because I feel one way, that that’s the way someone else must feel; and before I react I must give the other person an opportunity to express themselves, and not let my own insecurities raise my defences so that I don’t hear what someone else might need to say.

But I’m also grateful. Grateful that I have a friend like B who could let me see what I had done without judging me.  A friend who cracks me up with laughter and unwittingly helps with my own spiritual growth.

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About The Cooking and Life Goddess

Writer, creative cook, and novice Paleo in training! Join me as I create and learn on my Cooking, Paleo and Writing journey :)

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