Monday, January 2, 2012

Listening

Well, so yesterday I shared my deepest thoughts with someone I want to be close to, someone very precious to me. I could tell she wasn't that interested, but convinced myself that as soon as she heard what I was sharing she would definitely be interested. Since it was about my life's course and something very important to me, and all. She wasn't. She gave all the signs of not being interested. They were strong, strong signs. Which I ignored.

I so wanted to be close to her. I ignored her reactions and I kept revealing myself and my heart.

Incidentally, I mentioned something related to money and continued on sharing. She said, "NOW, you've got my attention. This is something I'm VERY interested in." She said it with a tone implying that the rest of what I'd shared was not that interesting. Still I continued on, mainly because I don't want to see her as someone who is materialistic. I wanted to be close, and I wanted her not to be materialistic but to really care about me, and since that was the way I wanted things to be, I was going to soldier on, by golly.

Towards the end of our ten minute conversation, she was looking down at my book and seeming (still) uninterested. As a last desperate plea, I said I needed eye contact. First she stared at me. Stared and stared, without blinking. I kept talking. She kept staring. I said, "Please don't do that. Please blink." She did. Really, really fast. Fluttering her eyelids, as though it was a joke. Ridiculing my need for eye contact, and for closeness. I felt humiliated and rejected. It felt like she'd rejected my heart.

But the thing is, I set myself up for it. I ignored the feedback from her, which was completely consistent, that she had no interest in what I had to share.

I felt ashamed, but not by her--by myself, because I know better than to keep on sharing with someone who is not interested and who does not value me enough to listen or respect me enough to be kind. I twisted reality into what I wanted it to be rather than seeing it for what it was.

And then I decided not to beat myself up about it. I had a good cry and wrote about it here. And cried some more. And I also did not use emotional eating to cope with my feelings. Say for maybe the first time in a few decades. I prayed for help from my Higher Power and felt gratitude for what I experienced since it obviously is what I need to learn.

This is what I want 2012 to be about--learning the lessons I need to learn from what happens to me--feeling my feelings, making mistakes, and then moving forward. And sharing what I learn with you. Thank you, my dear friends, for listening.

Artwork: "Two Women And A Crow" by Colleen Couves at colleencouves.com

20 comments:

patti said...

Tears are so healing! I am sorry this friend hurt you and that she was not able to hear you out.

This reflects on her, not you.

It helps to laugh about it, hard though it may be. I am trying to laugh at similar situations that I have had. They are past tense and I choose my now to be carefree and contain people that support me. So I laugh at the relationships that didn't work out and let them go and I feel better!

I so hope you are feeling better today O. xoxox

kate i said...

Olivia, it sounds like you've had a huge epiphany which is something to be celebrated! (it's just sad that we sometimes have to feel so hurt to get there)

I've had similar incidents happen to me and it's all experience that takes us to a place of honoring and respecting ourselves...realizing and knowing our self worth. This friend unkowningly gave you a huge gift of understanding your value.

You're so right about choosing to own our experiences and using them for growth! Thanks for sharing this O.

couragetocreatewriteandlove said...

it hurts me to know someone was mean to you BUT it makes me proud to know of your courage on sharing and giving her more chances to change and be a friend. Don’t worry too much about her and keep on trying to be friends with others, it is hard I know I am a loner and even that I love this about me I know that we all need each other and we have to do our best to create community and be nice and kind and compassionate (your friend really needs to practice all of those and you are in the right way, still go slowly don’t go too fast and open little by little baby steps sweet Oli we all deserve to be validated and listen we are worth it
big hugs and wishing to give you one in person one day real soon (we are planning a visit to the northwest :-)

Kim Mailhot said...

I agree that the tears and letting yourself feel all that hurt is important and good, especially instead of trying to numb it all with food (something I know a lot about too!).
It sounds like your friend needs to improve her support skills ! It also sounds like she may not be the best person to share your vulnerable heart with, and that you may have needed this lesson to learn that. We can't always get the loving we need from the people we think we want it from - sometimes they just aren't capable of that. But that is a hurtful and hard lesson to learn...
Sending hugs on your tender heart. I hope your prayers of peace and gratitude continue to help you through...
Much love !

CrystalChick said...

Imperfect reactions, imperfect relationships. Hmm... you are diving right into your word huh!

(hug) I'm very sorry that you had to have that happen. I do know how that feels though. I have tried to share things with people that had no interest. And I've done it a few times with the same people, getting the same basic reaction from them each time. So like you felt that you had set yourself up, I realized that too. I wonder if I'll do it again at some point in the future or if I've learned? I don't know.

I like the picture you chose to go with the post.

Olivia said...

Patti,

I am feeling much better, thanks...I almost immediately did after I wrote the post. i guess in writing it I processed everything.

I liked what you wrote about it reflecting on her, not me.

It is good to laugh and feel compassion and a lightness about the person who could not extend herself. What a perfect attitude to have...this is indeed where I am now with this.

It is a gift that she gave me of focusing in on my value, and that it exists independently of her estimation. What a positive outlook you have, and you're right.

Love and peace, Patti, xoO

Olivia said...

kate,

It WAS a huge epiphany, a ginormous breakthrough. I think that often growth comes through pain and the hard things, don't you?

Oh my, I just saw that I attributed your beautiful remark about the gift she gave me to Patti :) Imperfection! Well, you both have positive attitudes, and I learn so much from both of you!

Merci beaucoup, my friend! xoO

Olivia said...

Patti,

So, imperfection at work, and I mixed up the comments of two of my wisest friends :) I now see that kate actually wrote about the gift delivered by this friend. But I am sure it is something you would also have said!

May we see and enjoy all of the gifts that each day brings, xoO

Olivia said...

Carmen, I would love to see you, so if you do come here, it would be great to visit with you. Please let me know. My email is oliviamercedesbrown at (there is more and I'm writing this to confuse the bots) gmail dot com.

Yes, this friend needs love and compassion. And I do think I need to choose other people, and safer people to open up to, and slowly.

I hope to see you someday soon, Carmen! xoO

Olivia said...

Oh yes, Kim, I wish that we could be intimate with all of those we truly love...it does hurt so much when those we want to be close to are incapable for whatever reason. I am amazed though, after processing something like this, how quickly the hurt passes. I would expect to be feeling badly for a long, long time, but that's not the case. I am convinced that a lot of it is because I sat with the feelings, processed them, and wrote about them here. For me this is a very rare thing, although I hope to do it more and more.

Thank you as always for Your Big Love, xoO

Olivia said...

I want to tell everyone that a big part of my speedy recovery of this today has been reading your comments, thinking about them, and processing them more. Thank you...

Olivia said...

Mary,

Yes, I do feel like I jumped in with both feet. On purpose! It feels good.

I hope that this event was huge enough that I'll remember with this person. I may repeat it with someone else, but I think that's a necessary thing when you take risks with new people.

I'm hoping is that overall I learn more about how to listen to what people say, how to absolutely respect their boundaries (even if I don't like them), and accept that people I want to be close to may not be ready to be that way with me. I hope I learn how to accept people more for who they really are, whether or not I like it.

I hope I learn to accept the gifts people give me, even when they are cruel. And that I am more likely to face my problems instead of eat over them.

Thank you, Mary Catherine! xoO

kikipotamus said...

Olivia,
That is really sad, but it sounds like you got something very juicy and useful from it. The powerful thing about it, to me, is that you recognized your own denial. You opened your eyes and were able to see reality. Even though that's very painful, you allowed yourself to feel the hurt and go forward...writing about it to process the experience further. This is very good, I think! When we let go of our false pretty pictures, we make room for growth. I am also really impressed that you turned to your Higher Power.

Olivia said...

Kelly,
Yes, it was very powerful. I TASTED my own denial right at the time. And it was painful. I couldn't believe how much it helped to blog it.

I'm not used to turning things over to a Higher Power. I'm just beginning. I am working the 12 Steps of recovery though, and am on Step 3 (turning your life and will over to a Higher Power of your understanding). It's challenging to change lifetime patterns. Even though I've been religious, I've never really trusted anything or anyone beyond myself. It's pretty darn exciting to have an adventure like this, that's for sure.

Thanks, Kelly, xoO

laundrygirl said...

It's like offering pearls to swine.
Obviously this person doesn't recognize your value. I'm just sorry you had to find out this way. I am so proud of the way you dealt with it though and the way in which you honored your own feelings of hurt and disappointment at the same time. The need for connection is always there because we were created this way yet it's seems that many times, it's situations like this which reveal the people who truly 'get' us and those who don't.

Olivia said...

That's IT, Kristine! I felt as though I had offered a beautiful, beautiful pearl to a swine who couldn't appreciate it and didn't want to try. So I felt embarassed and ashamed of myself for even trying...at first...then quickly moved through that instead of staying in it.

You are so right in your assessment, Kristine, and I know that you get this and have been through it yourself. I appreciate the understanding you offer to me, xoO

Angie D in Ohio said...

I'm excited for 2012 for you and me. I'm happy you were able to pray and not turn to emotional eating. I'm also happy you felt gratitude from that experience. Life is filled with lessons and sometimes we just don't get it....

I just read your latest entry about the reason you changed your name. And I'm just curious. This person you were meeting with... were some of their traits similar to your Mom's?

My very best for you this year. My word hasn't presented itself to me...

EB

Olivia said...

EB, I know your word will present itself at the exact right time. It may just pop in and surprise you (this is what mine did).

Yes, this person has many traits like my mom. They are both very angry and frustrated, they both were abused themselves, and have lots of fear and very low self-esteem. They both love me the best they can. They both look forward to death and call it "being with Jesus". It's pretty amazing, isn't it. I didn't really think of this perspective until you mentioned it, EB, so thank you.

Love and blessings to you this new year, xoO

C Golightly said...

I have done the same exact thing by talking too much to someone who did not want to listen. I think I so needed nurturance that I overlooked what was going on. And my lesson is that there are persons who want to listen and I have to be open to allow them in and that I can nurture myself. Great post, Glad I found it! I write a blog for myself as well - mainly to allow my voice out. I had the same wallpaper for a while but it was purple!

Olivia said...

Carolyn,

Great to see you here! It's like seeing someone in public that you're used to seeing in another setting (like in scrubs in a doctor's office) and it's hard to orient yourself to how THEY are HERE! (Carolyn is from an online group I'm in...)

Anyway, I didn't know you had a blog so I'm subscribing, I'll love getting to know you better, Carolyn.

Yes, I think that I did need nurturance. And I so wanted it from this particular person because I not only WANT to be intimate with her, because of who she is to me, I have this belief that we "SHOULD" be intimate as well. Ah, yes, we need to wait for those people who are ABLE and INTERESTED as well...

That's so funny that we had the same background. I think that I can MAKE this purple, but I like the gray. In fact, I think I'd do it all in neutrals, except that Karen Smithey made that great logo for me years ago and I love it so much, so my blog will always have color.

Thank you for commenting, Carolyn, xoO