If you ever have any doubts as to who your best friend is, or whom you want your best friend to be, take a look at all of your impulses regarding the best news in your life. When the BF and I split a couple of weeks ago the first two people who knew were the Housemate and the Pen Pal. They are the first to know everything. Clearly, the proximity issue with the housemate is an advantage. But lets face it... we wouldn't be housemates if we were not already good friends. They were the first to know about the BF when he was new. They are the first two people that I tell anything to. Then you guys. But this time Facebook got the announcement first.
The person or persons that you instinctively tell anything to, the first people that come to mind when anything happens, or you want to plan an adventure.... those are the people who should know what is going on at all times. They have to be safe, supportive and trustworthy. They can not be dream killers. They can not have an agenda that undermines your efforts. You have to have a good history with them. They should always want what is best for you and they should be the kind of people who are telling you when you are being self harmful and not rush to hand you the tools of your own destruction. Those are the kind of people that you want to be your best friend.
We all have rough patches. We all have areas of our lives that take a nose dive, hopefully one area at a time. Some times work will suck. Some times it will be home. Some times your family will bring you down and other times it will be your life partner. Some times your frustrations will land in the house of your hobbies, some times in finances and some times the car or health. Each area of our lives is prone to catastrophic failure. In most cases it is just the natural progression of having or doing something for a very long time. In other cases it is because you missed a key diagnostic element, signs of wear and tear or because you just were not paying attention to the warning klaxons blaring at you from every direction. And there are times when they rough patch seems to never end.
I've been with the same company for a little over 8 years now. And I have had rough patches here too. Sometimes the rough patch is the end of a cascade failure from other areas that spills, inevitably, into work. And sometimes the rough patch has been because of the elements involved in the job. One rough patch occurred fairly early into the venture. It resulted in the constant barrage of "advice" to quit. The advice came from my brother. This is the same guy, who when he found out that I loved the new job and the new work family decided to throw his support for art into the mix as an emotional monkey wrench. He advocated moving on. Always moving on. And when I told him that I would stay and see things to the end told me what an idiot I was.
Long story short:
I survived the rough patches. I was promoted last year within in this company and now, exactly a year later have another promotion. Why? Resilience. It is nothing to quit a job in which you are unhappy or feel misunderstood. But being unhappy is no reason to quit. Unhappy is a feeling. It is a tempting lure to those ever greener pastures we seek. But those pastures, when we reach them are just as patchy as the place we left. Unhappiness is an illusion as much as happiness is. It is nothing to quit. But it is everything to stay. To stay, to work, in this case literally, through the rough patches is something that defines your character, it is a layer of resilience that you need when life decides to use you for target practice.
I'm not talking about quitting harmful relationships or smoking. I am talking about the way we easily give up when things get difficult. Suddenly, when life throws a few cast off chunks of brick at us, we shrivel up and turn into 5 year old demanding someone fix it for us. When it doesn't get fixed, we pick up our toys and leave. But what good is that? We don't learn to stand for ourselves. We don't learn endurance. We don't learn strength. And we do not learn reason. We don't learn skills.
The only thing we learn is how to run. And that bit only is helpful in an episode of Dr. Who. When was the last time you saw Captain Picard turn tail and hit warp 9? Only when safety is a factor. You leave a job, a sport or a hobby when you are in danger. Ego bruises are not dangerous.
Which brings me to my next bit of musing...
On the whole, I think we give up on those too easily. Our egos get confused as to what is more important at any given moment until we are so twisted around that we think a missed birthday is a reason to dump someone. Or, that a few choice words flung like witch fire will make someone worship us and our egos. Somehow those of us who are rather self sustaining seem to feel that a relationship with a significant other means totalitarianism. Forgiveness gets lost when the ego gets in the way and we quit.
No judgement from me though. I do it too. I've done it in the past and I will do it again. I will do it when I remember something essential about myself that I forgot... I don't belong in one on one relationships. Never have. Probably never will. I am a live alone until a community to which I know I heartily belong too emerges. And then I am only around for as long as we need each other. I am very good of letting healthy things go. I am not good at letting go of damaging people. At least I didn't used to be.
I got dumped. And I am going to make sure that I stay dumped. I could fall into that you have to forgive, you have to leave the door open mentality. But while there was a lot of fun and it showed here and in facebook there were some things that weren't. Some things that we downright emotionally dangerous. It happens. I over estimate my ability to cope with other people's crazy. I under estimate the nature of other people's beasts. But once I get the crap scared out of me there is no letting the defenses down. So there is no choice but to let the one who dumped me stay gone. And not chose a similar path next time. I'm taking heat for being a "quitter" on that one. But I am chosing to be around healthy people. I know... unhealthy people need others and deserve to be supported with love and kindness. Without a doubt I believe that. I just don't think that it has to be me all the time.
And it is the same with leaving my brother out of my life. Far more dangerous than any boyfriend I have ever had, that was a relationship that I spent 39 years trying to get out of and always guilted into remaining on the grounds that we were family. I saw that quote today on Google+. It's always to early to quit. But it is never too early to save yourself.
Family ties and romantic bonds get used to trap us in places with people who can sap our strength. And we are always expected because of those ties to forgive and stay in whatever behavioral cycles we are in. So I wonder.... why doesn't that bond mean we have to be treated better than we are? Why is my brother allowed to undermine me, emotionally twist things to make me dependent on his approval to live, physically intimidate me? If family ties mean that much he should behave better. When he hurts me and I tell him to stop he should stop. That is what he wants of me. But his response has always been "Make me." Taking the "high road" is great. We should always take the high road...
But do we still keep on the high road when we notice the signs have been switched? I say no. When it comes to protecting yourself it is ok to quit. But when you aren't in danger, when it is only an ego that is bruised and there is no real and lasting harm, I say stick with it. Keep at it. Work through that hard time and learn from it. If it makes you stronger, it is always too early to quit.