This blog post was prompted by Thailand Chani's post here, and by her response to my comment. My comment was this:
[...I have very very low expectations about everyone. I've been through a lot. I expect little to nothing from others, and feel as though I must depend upon myself---just me---and no one else. It's a hard and cold attitude, but one that helps me to cope.
Then, if someone does respond lovingly, I'm delighted. If they show integrity, I'm pleasingly surprised. If they seem to care, I'm thrilled.
I'm pretty cynical, and don't expect much from people, period.
I would like to have other people that I can reliably depend upon, but at this point in my life I'm slow to trust, even slower to believe in anyone, especially any group of people (which just multiplies the probability of being let down). Even Hawaiians. Anyone.
I'm not suggesting that you be like me (because I don't even know if it's healthy), but just letting you know how I cope with the frustration and hurt...]
Her response was this:
[Olivia, I can understand how living in this place.. and with this way of life.. it could become necessary to adopt that attitude. I seem to be congenitally incapable of it. A life like that, to me, simply isn't worth living.]So then I started to wonder, why I feel my life is so worth living. Because I do! True, I do feel depressed. A lot. I don't know---I have a sort of acceptance of this depressed state, because basically I feel so fortunate, blessed, and happier than I've ever been in my whole life (note: I've had a pretty crummy life until the last 8.5 years or so).
Although I am depressed, I'm not miserable at all. Just tired a whole lot, withdrawn (very, very withdrawn---very withdrawn!), lonely (except for my online life), and sad. Maybe I just have to feel and process years of troubled feelings and this will take some time. It's only recently that I've started to feel my feelings instead of to run from them. I feel very accepting of my life and my situation. Grateful for it even. Full of gratitude for all of the many blessings in my life.
Even the challenging things in my life I believe are here to teach me something. There are lessons that I need to learn. Not that I can't change them, of course. But that if I choose to accept them, or if I can't change them right now, then my task is to learn from them what I need to so that my difficult times are not repeated over and over and over again---a problem for me when I was younger.
As far as other people go, I really do expect very little from either individuals or groups. This is based upon experience, upon years of being hurt and of expecting from people what I just don't think they can give. Even basic things like integrity, honesty, respect, totally common courtesy, and more. I no longer believe, even for things like this from those who profess to love me.
So now I prefer to think of love as something that I give, not something that I get. For me, this makes life worth living. And then sometimes, often even...well, truthfully, much of the time, I get even more back than I've given. This really makes life great. But I don't expect it.
Except with animals, of course :) That's a story for another time.
If someone is very toxic, honestly, I'll remove them from my life, and I've been criticized strongly for this. I'm estranged from my family of origin for this very reason. I will try for twenty or thirty years, but then eventually, say after 42 years, I'll give up and establish a relationship of estrangement. This allows me to work out forgiveness and to love those (in a far-off way) I'm estranged from. I explained to my father once that sometimes it is only possible to love and forgive someone from afar, when you are safe. Sometimes you just need to be safe. At least I do. This decision about my bio-family has helped me to make huge strides in my physical health. It's also partially responsible for my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome (8.5 years ago).
As I told Chani, I don't know if this attitude I have is particularly healthy. It does seem a little cold. And I've been told it's hard. Right now it works for me. I'm open to better ways of living, though...really open.
It's Wellness Wednesday, and for now this attitude makes my life not just worth living, but possible to live. And thrive. It keeps me going.
What do you think? What makes your life worth living? If no one truly truly loves you in the way you need it or want it are you content to love others and spread kindness and goodness and blessings and love to those who are in your life or whose path you will cross today? Should you be content with that? Let me know what you think.