What is support? Why does everyone have advice to give? And when do you draw the line when things start to feel, well, yucky, for lack of a better word?
I’m just going to come out and say that there will likely be a number of people in my circle of family and friends who will think this post is about them in some way. And that’s ok. It’s not about them, but they can feel that way. It’s not vanity that leads us to relate and wonder, and sometimes assume if it’s us that someone is talking about. It’s humanity. In my humble opinion, it’s how we learn.
In this case especially, trust me, it’s not you. It’s me.
This isn’t about who said what, when, and why. None of my posts are like that—that’s not my style. But advice and support are topics that have found their way into my thoughts and meditations—you can meditate with a glass of Malbec, right?—as I try to sort out what is right for Baby Girl, what is right for me, what is right for Hubs and I, and what is ethically right or good in general.
I’m at a time in my life where everyone is weighing in. It’s not unlike when I was pregnant and people would offer their words of wisdom, put a hand on my belly, and predict if I was having a girl or a boy. Or when I miscarried and I would hear strangers utter sage proclamations that it was ‘meant to be,’ a fact of life, or a blessing in disguise.
We don’t ask for these things, and sometimes the words others give us feel terse and uncouth in our refined situations; but sometimes the comfort of an opinion or even cold hard fact can help us navigate through change no matter what it is.
In the case of my separation, I’ve been told I’m naïve.
I’ve been told I’m selfish and manipulative.
I’ve been told I’m a dreamer and I’ll never amount to anything without my husband.
I’ve been told I think big, seize the day, and will leave my mark with or without a man in my life.
I’ve been told I’m resigning myself to spinsterhood.
I’ve been told I’ll have as many kids as I want.
I’ve been told I’m making the biggest mistake of my life.
I’ve been told that there are no mistakes.
I’ve been told I’m a good friend, sister, mother, and wife.
I’ve been told quite the opposite.
I’ve been told I listen too much to what everyone says.
I’ve been told I’m stubborn...that I won’t listen to anyone but myself.
I’ve been told that I have overstepped a line by sharing my story in this blog.
I’ve been told I’m an inspiration for staying so real.
I guess we really are all things to all people.
Here’s my advice.
I could say that ‘people are going to say what they’re going to say’ and just leave it at that. But that’s not quite the truth. I believe that people are going to say what is in their hearts. And yes, maybe I am naïve, but I also believe that the people who care enough to say anything—no matter how bizarre—are people who are operating out of some form of love or caring. Of course in some cases this may be jumbled up with anger, sadness, or resentment. In some cases it may be unconditionally supportive to the point where you’re frustrated.
At times you will ask for advice and then wonder why you did. At times you will wonder why someone can’t just give you the answers and make life easier. At others still you will feel empowered, enlightened, and thankful.
But the important thing is that no matter what you feel or hear, you continue to listen.
Listen to everything, see what resonates, and then listen to yourself.
And by resonate, I don’t mean ‘are they saying what you want to hear.’ I mean ‘has something they’ve said struck you, given you something to think about, cry over, or even laugh at as ridiculous..’
In my experience, whether negative or positive, when some nugget of information or opinion sticks it’s because it needs to be reviewed. And maybe after mulling it over for two seconds it can be dismissed. Or maybe it opens the door to realizing that someone’s right, raises a valid point.. or that they never knew you that well in the first place and yes, it may finally be time to unfriend them.
Whatever you find, listening is how we make our path.
And at the end of the day it’s up to you to walk your own talk.. not anyone else’s.