Having and maintaining friendships and relationships after our brain injury can leave us feeling baffled. For some reason friendships and relationships change. These changes leave us frustrated and feeling alone.
Because of our frustration and feeling alone, accepting what we don’t understand can leave us feeling powerless. Powerless to change the things we can’t, can leave us feeling despondent.
What I Discovered.
It is NOT all About Me
Friendships and relationships are a 2 way street and based on mutual acceptance. Mutual acceptance of who they are as individuals. Mutual acceptance based on a willingness to feel feelings and make changes. When people are not willing to feel feelings and make changes friendships and relationships don’t work.
Friendships and relationships do not work when one or both individuals are unwilling to feel feelings and make changes.
Feelings that they may not know how to feel or want to feel. Changes that they may not know how to make or want to make. In my experience, feeling these feelings and making these changes comes with a price. A price that both individuals need to be willing to pay. Willing to pay for the friendship and relationship to work.
Accepting that I can Not Change the Impact of my Brain Injury
The price involved grieving what I could not change through confronting my denial, feeling and processing my anger, and by trying to bargain my way out of not being impacted by my traumatic brain injury and an invisible disability. When bargaining did not work, I became despondent and experienced depression. The process of working through my despondency and depression was a process that took time. In my experience, I found when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of what I could not change, I reached the end of my grieving process, acceptance. Acceptance gave me the ability to stop fighting against myself.
In my experience, when I stopped fighting against my reality, I discovered the ability to get into action. Action that helped me to realize that I could do something different. In the process, I discovered the power of choice. These newly discovered choices helped me to create hope in my life, a little at a time. One day at a time. By paying the price to gain acceptance, I began to realize that I was and am powerless over having a friendship or relationship. Powerless over having a friendship or relationship with anyone who is not capable of accepting me in my reality. Anyone who is unwilling to feel feelings and make changes.
I have also found that people pleasing and approval seeking does not work, because I lose myself in the process.
Letting Go of Expectations
So, in my experience, I have discovered that my expectations of other people get in my way. If I meet people along the way that accept me in my reality, awesome. If I do not, I need to let go and trust the process, a loving God to meet my needs and my ability to learn to accept myself, as I run my race. In the process, I need to let go of friendships and relationships that no longer work. No one is to blame. It is what it is.
No One is to Blame
Acceptance of other people and their choices, gives me the power to let go. People who are meant to be in my life will stay. People who are not meant to be in my life won’t remain. I need to let go of people one day at a time, when they don’t want to be in my life. I can grieve their decision, but need to remember that decision is more about them than it is about me. I can thank them for being in my life, and then let go.
An Important Lesson — A lesson that has helped me to let go of the people who do not want to be in my life.
When people don’t want to be in my life, don’t chase after them. God is doing for me what I can not do for myself. Letting go of the people who do not want to be in my life frees my energy. Frees my energy to pursue my purpose, by running my own race and by staying in my own lane. By letting people come in and out of my life, as they choose, I am given the gift to fulfill my purpose a day at a time
“Purpose is about a process and a journey, not a destination. I can not know until I know and knowing just takes what it takes. There are no shortcuts, “silver bullets” or “magic potions”. By accepting that reality, I am given the gift of knowing by not giving up. I am given the gift of knowing by trusting the process, a loving God and myself.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA