A couple of years ago, I lost a friend.
She chose to part ways because she felt I was consumed by my joys and sorrows to such an extent that I never allowed a pause to listen to her. She did not feel heard and valued in our friendship which set her off on a negative spiral.
The biggest good she did for me was she communicated clearly what she felt and why she was ending our friendship of many years. Now, what would a majority of people do in such a situation? They would give their explanations, negate the emotions of the aggrieved, attempt to hold the other at fault for feeling the way they have been feeling and create even greater hurt for themselves due to the accusation, therefore increasing the collateral damage.
I did exactly the same. She had to shut me off.
As time passed, I delved deeper into my mind and heart to understand the meaning of what she meant to tell me to realize she was right. It never occurred to me carrying on my conduct, howsoever unintentional it was, was a huge error on my part and there could be no validation for it. The most important person in my life who stood by me in my difficult times in addition to my parents was she and this was how I returned her the favour.
I finally accepted it, made peace with it and wished her to be better off without me.
I was doing fine when 8 months later I received an email from her saying things with the pain as intense as it was the first time. She accused me and abused me on the basis of all the personal stuff she knew about me. I felt angry at the abuses.
I took half-a-day before responding during which I was to catch a Delhi-Bangalore flight to get home with Dhruv. The 2 and a half hour flight and an elevation of 38000 ft gave me the right perspective – “It was not about me or the abuses, it was about her and her hurt.” At that moment, I felt extremely sorry for her for the fact although I had moved on in my life for the positive, she was still stuck there bearing the heavy burden for how long – 8 months. 8 months is a long time to do wonderful things with one’s life which she could not for being broken.
In my reply, I embraced all her accusations, abuses and personal attacks telling her she was perfectly entitled to hold all her emotions against me and I was a nobody to deny them because intentionally or unintentionally the hurt had happened and I was responsible. I asked her to kick me out. She deserved every chance to move forward for good in her life and hence people like me are irrelevant to be given any mind space.
This was no strategy to repair the broken friendship or to put myself on a pedestal a notch higher. I had to do this because I owed this to her. That day ended on a slightly positive note. After a few more email exchanges, back and forth, her heart began to open up. How do I know this? I know this as on the closing note she mentioned love to Dhruv whom she used to totally adore. I get teary-eyed whenever I think of that day.
Time progressed and 6 months later we had a long heart-to-heart chat (on phone being in different cities. We had always been in different cities and countries.) and what it meant for both of us to spend a year without being there for each other. We promised another phone call a few months later which never happened.
What breaks once, it is never easy to get back in the full sense.
This was one of the life lessons for me that year. If you wish to read about it along with the other life lessons, you can click here.
The reason why I thought of telling this story is to remind ourselves whether we are listening and whether we are listening enough to the other person in the said relationship be it friendship, marriage, parent-child relationship, family, or even mere acquaintances. We all might know how does it feel when we do not feel heard or wronged so can we make efforts or keep on with our efforts to prevent relationships from breaking up by being more aware in containing our over-indulgences with ourselves, the need to prove one-upmanship, the constant need to overdo displaying our kids’ abilities and achievements, passing judgements based on what we consider acceptable or not and so much more.
Just refrain and listen with a patient ear.
Linking this post with #MondayMusings