Saturday, February 9, 2008

a diet of good intentions

I have been struggling lately -- well, for a while now -- with so many of my good intentions being overlooked, or worse. Though I know I shouldn't be doing things in hopes of "thank yous" or reciprocation, it is trying and tiring to carry on a one-side relationship. A couple months ago, I addressed three of these people with the following letter:
I am writing you because you mean a great deal to me, and I would really like to get back in touch with you/keep in touch with you. However, after dropping the proverbial ball in your court multiple times without a return volley, I owe it myself to leave it there. Through trial and error, (and a sort of paranoia), I have come to realize that I look at relationships differently than many people. Where some are content to let past friendships go, happy for what they were, I have an innate desire to hold on to those relationships for the sake of what they were, yes, but for the way I have been forever changed by them. What I mean to say is that each of you have touched my life in such an emphatically good way that I am reluctant to let go (move on, yes, definitely, but let go, no) -- and I wish you felt the same. But know that is not the case. We are different in that. One sure sign of that is the fact that none of you will speak with me on the phone...

I can't help but wonder what I've done. (And, in some of your cases, I can't help but wonder if your other relationships are so weak that jealousy or whatever runs rampant over something so simple as a phone conversation.)

That said, miss you all dearly, but I harbor no ill feelings toward you. I love each of you too much for that. I will take it as a gift if/when you decide to reestablish contact with me. I'll probably continue to include you in any mass email updates in the future, but I'm done with one-sided "friendships."
I thought sending that letter would free me from the frustration of trying to keep these relationships alive on my own. Instead, I guess I internalized it as a posed ultimatum. And since none of those people acted on it, I have felt angry.

Anger has no place in a healthy relationship. It is acidic and eats away at the core of it. We all experience temporary frustrations and get angry occasionally, but unless we move beyond and let go of the anger, the relationship will suffer.

Despite knowing this, I haven't been able to shake my anger towards these "friends" who've dropped me. After all, where's the harm in ill feelings here? They aren't involved, and the relationship is essentially dissolved...


I subscribe to Jan Phillips' Museletter, and in her email today she included a link to the video below. "Intentional Chocolate" is chocolate that has been "infused" with good intentions. The gist, in case you can't watch the video, is that in a double blind study, people who ate chocolates that had been prayed over with good intentions felt an uplift in mood that the other people did not experience. This is amazing.

With that in mind, I have decided to make a conscious effort to let go of the anger. After all, I'm angry because I love these people. But if I do love them, why would I want anything but good for them? So if good intentions are real enough to make chocolates into antidepressants, surely they're strong enough to strengthen even a one-sided relationship.

Peace (& chocolate) be with you.


Ginger said...

very, very interesting stuff here julie.

i had a few relationships that i was struggling with in the same manner as this. my solution was to treat them like they were treating me ~ since the only time i ever heard from these few people was when they wanted something from me i simply just stopped responding to them.

i definitely struggled with the hurt feelings, but realized that they were only a product of my own ego. plus, if someone treats me in that fashion they're not really my friend and i have better things to spend my energy on.

people are strange sometimes, huh? i want some chocolate now.

artjewl said...

What's so hard for me is the fact that these people were all "best friends" of mine at some point. One was even in our wedding. And none of them had turned "user", but they all just will not even do so much as to return an email or phonecall.

One of these friends just had a baby -- I just found out from a mutual friend. I'd debated totally sticking to the "no contact" thing, but that isn't me. So I have a card ready to go out in tomorrow's mail. *shrug*

Yes people are strange. I am one of them.

Ginger said...

oh, yeah! we must have the same friends. my best friend, the only person i would tell anything to, moved out of state and didn't bother telling me for a month when she called to ask me a favor. she said she was planning on moving back in november and the only communication i've gotten from her since then are 2 mass-texts on thanksgiving and christmas, which i never responded to.

i think sometimes people just get so involved and change so much that stuff like that happens.

i made some chocolate chip cupcakes, they're gooood. want some?

artjewl said...

mmm... chocolate chip cupcakes. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. ;) Good intentions never tasted so ... good! :D

Anonymous said...

So this would be a good time to tell you we're preggers up here in High Point, eh?

artjewl said...

Seriously?! I'm so excited for you guys!! :D You'll have to email me the details (how's momma feeling? when's she due? etc.)

Welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood! ;)

Chucka Stone Designs said...

I went through this with a guy I considered one of my very best friends in this world. We didn't see each other for about 3 years due to moves, etc but kept in touch via email. Once we were back in the same state again he expressed how great that was and kept saying how nice it would be to see each other again. When I got the 4th email from him that he "definitely, definitely wanted to get together" & "get me your phone number" I deleted his email, address & phone number.

One sided relationships are not relationships at all but I truly feel they are projected fantasies of what we want to gain out of the person who clearly can not give it. I haven't heard from him since and I hope he is happy with his life but I do not ever want to be a part of it again because I am worth more than that!

You are too and if your old friends can't see how awesome you are then it is sadly their loss in the end. I applaud you for getting it out :)