Part IV, The Flood Story In My Journey

It has been two weeks since I last wrote about the flood story. I am ready to give you an explanation as to why I had to stop.

I struggle with my expectations of friends and family and how it pertains to the “Golden Rule” of “do unto others and you would have others do unto you,” and more succinctly how everyone has his/her own interpretation of that rule.

When I last left off, I had fired my brother-in-law, Frank, from doing my tile job. It hurt to be reminded of the situation because I have a strong sense of loyalty to my friends and family. If I can help you in anyway I will, without a doubt I am happy to do it. I am happy to see people succeed and encourage them to do so whenever possible. I’d like to lift up the whole planet and save the world if I could, but that is not an option. This is my rule, and how I interpret it. So firing my brother-in-law felt disloyal, but I didn’t feel like I had another option.

Life is a series of lessons, and if you do not learn the lesson you will be presented with it again and again until you do. 

Just this week I had a tiff with my dear friend, Craig, whom I admire very much and received devastating news that an old friend of ours, Mark, had died.

So there is a stew brewing here and if you will bear with me… I will mix it up and add some spice to tell you how it all pertains to the tile-flood story.

Some people, and my husband is one, will get so aggravated when things break or the car won’t start. I agree that these things are frustrating, but I have come to expect them, they are inanimate objects not meant to last forever. What I don’t expect is for people to break my trust, heart or expectations.

I am reminded of an old adage: “People give you what they want,” and so, when someone always remembers your birthday, they will be hurt if you forget theirs. If someone always shows concern and asks how you are doing they will become upset if you are too self-centered. I am sure you can think of your own examples here, if you lovingly support a friend then you want them to support you, or if you are loyal to friends and family you expect loyalty in return.

It’s called rules and we all have them, but some of us are not aware of them and so we are like proverbial bulls in the china shops of other people’s feelings. Our rules are like rote behavior, and are built into our psyche from childhood. It is all a matter of what (we think) is right and wrong, the trick to navigating a successful life is to learn that not everyone has the same rules. Having that knowledge though, doesn’t make it any easier when people break our china.

As writers we expose ourselves to public ridicule and we have to be prepared for comments whether they are justified or not, there is no reality only perception and one man’s perception is not like the others or one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We have a skull to protect our brains, and bones to protect our organs, physically, but when we reveal our inner most thoughts and expose our hearts the skull and skeleton will do little to protect our spirit. Needless to say, putting yourself out there leaves you feeling insecure, vulnerable and looking for guidance. Who do we turn to for guidance in time of need or crisis? Why “Friends and Family” of course.

Have you ever had a friend or family member that you admire, love and support, but feel that it is not mutual, yet you continue to feel hurt by their lack of support, where your expectations are never met?

Developing a writer’s platform is much like, network marketing. You need support. If you have ever been involved in direct sales you will understand what I mean. If you have a blog and no one reads it, or write a book and no one buys it, then you are sunk. A writer is dependent on their readers.

Now, it is four weeks into my blog and I am feeling unsure of myself, so I texted Craig to ask if my last blog had offended him and he replied: “No Carly I was not offended by the blog. I went to the link and couldn’t access anything all I could see was 2 pictures of flowers. They did not offend me. However I have a lot of thing going on in my life right now that supersedes spending more than a few minutes to investigate something of that nature (especially if it’s not being user friendly) much less feeling obligated to comment on it once observed.”

Which brings me to the book, Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson,  worth a watch if you haven’t read the book. It is all about adaptation and being able to move on from a situation or circumstance that is no longer suiting your needs. “Adapt, to change quickly. The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese.”

So I wasn’t getting any “cheese” from Craig or Frank. Cheese being love and support from Craig, or cheese being professionalism from Frank, so it is time to move on, but that is easier said then done and it feels terrible, because of my loyalty rule above.

Fortunately, I have met some wonderful people while developing my writer’s platform, who offer advice and encouragement, so there is, “new cheese” readily available. Close one door and another one opens, the supply is always there if you are willing to accept it, meaning that you might not get the love and support from the person you expect it from, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t look elsewhere.

While writing this blog my husband informed me of Marc’s death. We looked it up online and were shocked to discover that it had been nine months! We questioned the last time we saw, spoke or thought of Marc? It is not that we didn’t care about him. It was just that our lives had moved in different directions. Yet, I felt bad, like I disrespected him or his family by not knowing or participating in the funeral services.

This event made me pause and reflect on the spat that I had with Craig or the situation with Frank.

You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. (Click to Tweet)

If you are trying to get support from someone and they won’t support you, you have to move on. (Click to Tweet)

The same is true in business, if someone is not treating you with the respect you deserve, then, despite your rule of loyalty to family and friends, you have to move on.

Sadly we will disappoint each other, through lack of concern, or mutual respect, the trick is to not take it personally. Sometimes we disappoint each other for no other reason than being too tangled up in our own lives to look out for one another.

You have to ask yourself, what you are getting out of a particular relationship?

Perhaps, Craig and Frank do not share the same value system, or have the same innate rules, or perhaps, they are or were just too tangled up in their own lives to realize what they were doing.

The fact remains, that you cannot treat people badly just because they are long time friends or family members without a consequence, and you cannot accept bad behavior from people just because it is coming from an old friend or family member, out of some sense of loyalty.

It depends on how important the person is to you, whether you will try to rectify the situation. In some cases it is worth it, and in some cases it is not. The decision is yours. We can’t be all things to all people—but we will try for the people we love…and it is the people that try that are worth keeping in our lives.

Marc’s death signifies the reality that life is short and no one is promised a tomorrow. We are all unaware of the last day of our lives, we should try to keep that in mind on a daily basis, tread lightly, and be considerate, loving and kind to one another.

In conclusion there is this famous saying that goes: “Some people come into your life for a reason, some people come into your life for a season, but the ones that matter are the ones that are there for you through it all.” Nurture the latter and your life will run smoothly, at the same time, you also have to learn to forgive yourself too, for not being all things to all people.

I have to forgive, Craig and Frank, just like I have to forgive myself, but just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean that you have to repeat the same behavior over and over again. It just means that you will not carry anger, resentment or animosity toward them, with the realization that they simply could not fulfill your needs. You have to learn that not everyone is going to follow your rules and not everyone is worth your time and attention.

Now, I realize that you have heard many of these saying before. They are called clichés. We are inundated with them on plaques on Facebook on a daily basis, but for me it’s not enough to just read and memorize them, like you would download a computer program, you have to activate them in order to apply them to your life.

Next Week: My adventure to find the Great American Lotus Flower (near extinction and only grows in 3 places: Egypt, India and) in the Chain of Lakes of Northern Illinois.

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