Monday, June 16, 2014

the way I see it: 'everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.'

Confrontation is never easy. Some people say they're confrontational by nature, but when the going gets tough, they're the first ones off the boat. Recently, I confronted a friend over something that was bothering me. She's always painted herself as a confrontational person herself, so I figured, "Let'sdo this, let's hash it out." She responded by cutting me out of her life and accusing me of being someone I'm not. Her judgement that my life was perfect and that I made her feel insecure was hard to hear, and we haven't really spoken since. In typical "water off a duck's back" fashion, I've been courteous and kind to her, messaging her occasionally and forwarding emails with fun summery things, but she's made it pretty clear she's not interested in being too friendly anymore.

There's this Plato quote that gets shared all over Pinterest and Tumblr all the time: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." 

I think we all say things we regret from time-to-time, and real friends know when to take a breath, spend a day or two cooling off, and then pick things back up with the understanding and the knowledge that they've hurt one another and they'll do better--because a friendship is worth more than one's pride and ego. You can still be close to someone you've fought with. Fighting doesn't mean it's all over.

But when you prioritize your pride over a friend, you lose something important: not just that friend, but something inside yourself as well. Remember that Boy Meets World episode where the gang gets into a prank war and then fights over who "belongs" in what group? And then the fighting drags on and the episode flash forwards into the future, where everyone is still fighting and hasn't spoken in years, but then Eric shows up at their college reunion and reads his manifesto: "Lose one friend, lose all friends, lose yourself." When asked why he didn't write anything else but that, he responds, "Because nothing else seemed important."

You can stand in the midst of a storm and declare you are stronger than the pain coming your way, but shouldn't you want someone to celebrate it with when it's over? I don't believe we are meant to walk through this life alone. I crave that others believe the same.

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