Today did not start out a good day, but it ended a great one. I had a conversation yesterday with a friend and it left me feeling.. uncomfortable, for lack of a better word. During the conversation, my friend responded very intensely to what I saw as an innocent question. After the conversation, we exchanged several messages in which I attempted to understand what had happened. In brevity, my friend thought my question was asked with intent to manipulate and deceive, or gaslight as they stated. This genuinely injured me, I’ve never attempted to manipulate or deceive anyone, let alone a close friend. This morning, in attempt to communicate my feeling (something I’ve struggled with in the past and am attempting to improve on) I tried to explain my reasoning behind everything I said or asked the previous night, and explain how their responses wounded me. I initiated this conversation to explain the situation, establish a common agreement, and find a happy conclusion.. I thought.
The truth is, I wanted my friend to understand that their response was wrong, they hurt me; I wanted them to feel bad for that, and I wanted to hear those two little words “I’m sorry” with genuine sincerity behind them.
That was wrong of me.
I cannot, and should not, expect anyone to change, regardless of the negative emotional or psychological effect it may have on me. No one else is responsible for my happiness or well-being but me. Every person on this planet is the individual that they are, because they have chosen to be that person. Nature, nurture, and society all impact us, but we make the choice, conscious or not, on who we become.
At any point in our relationship, I had the choice to walk away from that friendship. It’s a choice I still hold this very moment, but I did not walk away. I chose to remain their friend, and in so doing, I chose to accept them for who they are, without pretext.
We are constantly evolving. I have made significant personal growth in life, especially over these last couple of years, but still clearly have much room to continue growing.
I know who I am, I know I’m a good human. How anyone else views me is their choice, but does not impact who I really am.
It was a hard lesson to learn, but a good one to remember. I will not forget.