I had a life coaching client call the other day from a place of total frustration. “What Am I doing wrong?” she asked. “I’m being the best friend I know how to be. I work really hard at being a good friend, being there for people, being supportive. Then as soon as I reach out for support they disappear. What am I doing wrong? Is it not okay to ask for support? Why can’t I get what I give to others? This has been happening throughout my life. I’ve worked really hard at being a good friend, and still, when I look to them for support, they abandon me. What am I doing wrong?”
Have you ever gotten to that place of total frustration. You’re doing all the right things, doing everything you know to do, but it’s just not turning out the way you want. Do you then ask yourself “What am I doing wrong?”
It’s likely that you’re not doing anything wrong. It may just be what you’re thinking that sets you up to feel that something is wrong. Very often what we are “doing wrong” is thinking that we (or others) are doing something wrong. That mind set throws us into judgment. It doesn’t feel good to be judging yourself, especially when you’re really knocking yourself out doing the right thing. It’s not the way you think it should be, so there must be something wrong. What they’re doing is not what you want. So you think, either they are doing something wrong or I am. Some of us choose to blame others, some of us choose to blame ourselves. Either way, it’s not a viable path. Either we go about trying to change them to our liking, or we try to be what we think will (should) elicit the response we want from them. It all gets pretty stinky!
So, here’s another take on the whole situation. It’s all perfect!
Yeah, right. Well. It’s not the way I want it to be!
I understand that, and that’s the root of the “problem.”
Try this on.
Life is wise. Life has been around a very long time and it’s doing just fine. So instead of making Life wrong for the way it shows up in the circumstances and situations of your life, let’s take another look at how all this could really be just right for you (and others) at this time.
So here’s the situation: your experience of life, your disappointments around friends and friendship, has motivated you to take on a life long study of friendship (substitute the topic of your choice here-love, health, teamwork, fixing things, money…). You’ve observed what works for you and what doesn’t. You have some deeply held beliefs about what friendship should look like. So you’ve worked very hard to be that. You’ve become a very conscientious, supportive, aware friend, always there for your friends, always going the extra mile, very attuned to their needs. You’ve trained long and hard and you’ve become a “marathoner” of friendship. Bravo! You’ve figured out how to do it right!
But… oops! Why don’t others do the same, after all, this is the most important problem in the world. You’ve figured it all out. Why can’t they do the same? Why don’t they do it your way? Why don’t they see it? Why don’t they respond the way they’re supposed to?
Well, there are lots of possible reasons. Perhaps this is not their most important issue. Perhaps your being such an outstanding friend triggers their sense of inadequacy or they feel burdened by your expectation that they should go all out the way you do. As I said, there are as many possibilities as there are people. This isn’t a fruitful path, unless we can explore it in depth with someone who is willing to share a deep conversation with us.
So what do we do with this?
Well, if we’re doing and being the best that we can, and we’re still not getting the results we want, best to take a look on the inside. Remember, whatever is showing up in our lives is a reflection of our inner world.
So let’s take a look on the inner. Let’s have that deep conversation about ourselves. Am I being a good friend to myself? I get that I’m really good at being there for others. How am I at being there for myself? How do I treat myself when I’m in need of support? Can I be there for myself, even when I’m not the strong one? Or do I abandon myself in times of need?
What happens to your relationship to yourself when you go into the “what am I doing wrong?” story? How does that feel when you’re doing the best you can and really putting your all into what some part of you knows is the right thing, and another part of you starts second-guessing, doubting that all that effort has been the right thing? If that showed up in your outer world there would likely be some hard feelings. On the inner world too! It hurts to be doubted, to work really hard and be told you’re still not doing it right. What kind of a friend would do that? Is that the kind of friend you want to be to yourself?
Usually when we take care of the inner world, the issues on the outer resolve themselves or become non-issues. Sometimes it seems magical. But quantum physics makes it quite clear that our outer reality is actually a reflection of our inner reality. We just have not gotten out of the habit of trying to resolve things on the outer. When we remember to look at the circumstances and situations of our life as reflections of our inner reality, we have a whole different approach to resolution.
Yes, what’s happening in our outer world is perfect… a perfect reflection of our inner world. How helpful that it shows up in our outer world in a way that is easier to see and keeps presenting itself in many different circumstances until we see it for the reflection it is, and do the work on the inner to bring ourselves more into alignment with our vision for what’s possible in the world. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
If you want friendship to look different in the outer world, you must be that friendship on the inner.
To find help or training in this type of work, search under mirroring, parts work, projection … or contact MariePatrice Masse at http://www.SacredSpiralLifeWork.com for more information on inner work. MariePatrice is an intuitive healer, holistic counselor and spiritual life coach guiding the way to wellness in all aspects of life. Ask about phone, distance and in-person consultations or check out our blog at http://innergrowth.wordpress.com.