Friday, May 16, 2014

When It's Okay NOT To Keep Your Word

This past weekend was Mother’s Day, and my son’s gift to me, which he procured on his own, shopping with the assistance of a kindly department store manager and sales associate, was this lovely black and white sunhat.

I was thrilled.

I was also impressed by his remembering I wanted a sun hat to take to the beach in a few weeks, as well as my passion for any and all things black and white. 

 This reminded me once again that our children are always paying attention. And that’s pretty huge, for me. As my son’s only parent, I am and will always be the primary role model in his life. Of course I tell him things that I think he needs to know about life, but I’m aware, at all times, it is my actions that speak louder than anything I can say. 

It is very important to me that my son respects me. That I set a good example, by treating others well and demonstrating love, forgiveness, and compassion in my actions, not only my words.

I’ve always told him to be careful making promises, because once you give your word, you should keep it. No excuses. But is that really true? Does there come a time when it is perfectly okay not to keep your word any longer? Is ever okay to simply stop being there for someone, even though you've sworn on more than one occasion you'd never abandon them?

I'm going to have to say YES. 

When it is causing me more pain to remain in a situation than it would to leave, I know I need to make a choice. And honestly, choices like this should be no-brainers when...

-          …you begin to feel that you have been/are being used as a support system, rather than actually valued as a person (there is a tremendous difference). 

-          …what once felt like a deep friendship has began to feel more and more imbalanced, and the give/take ratio is not at all in your favor.

-          …evening comes and you feel that you haven’t had time to think about your own stuff all day because you had to focus on the other person’s problems and pull them through.

-          …you begin to feel that every single thing they have ever done for you and/or said to you has been merely to serve their own agenda (never really, actually, about you) of keeping you in place as their go-to person.

-          …there has been a significant passage of time after a difficult situation they blame for all their issues, but they are still stuck. And you just can’t do any more than you’ve already done to help them move forward. And you’re tired of the wallowing. (Remaining stuck is a choice, and you know this, because you chose to do it once yourself.)

-          …you start to wonder if perhaps you are enabling them, and you begin to think it might be better for both of you if they learned to stand on their own.

And most importantly…

-          …you remember that your child is always learning from you not only how to treat other people, but what type of treatment to accept from others as well. Personally, the last thing I would ever want to teach my son is that it is okay to accept less than what he deserves from another person, regardless of what he may have promised them at one time.

And at the end of the day, I need to be at peace with myself, my actions, and the way I live my life, not only how I treat other people, but also how I allow myself to be treated, because my life is not only an example to  my son, it is my one and only wild and sacred time here on this earth. So again, yes, it is okay to go back on your word when a person you've promised to stand by is taking far more from you than they are offering in return. And while it may be difficult at first to let them go, sometimes it is the only path to your peace.


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