If we haven’t spoken for 18 months then this is for you.

I do not know what you have been told. But what I do know is that it is not the full truth. I’m not saying that you’ve been told blatant lies, but there are certainly things that will have been omitted in the version of the story that you heard.

I’m more than happy to fill in some of those blanks but I can’t do that because you haven’t spoken to me. If you want to know anything, go ahead and ask.

I used to have so many friends and acquaintances through church. They are the ones who have been most distant. I don’t know why you have all found it so difficult to speak to me, but I do know that it’s certainly an easier life for you by not having to acknowledge the pain and hurt.

It’s not very compassionate though is it? Burying your head in the sand and not reaching out to someone who was struggling, just to make things easier for yourself?

Is it because you are afraid to cause offence or be accused of discrimination? What about standing up for what you believe in. Forget about the “complications” in my case and think about the actual basic behaviour. Dishonestly. Deceit. Cheating. Betrayal. Disrespect. Disregard. Are you OK with those traits? Is this how you want your friend to treat you? Would you want to be labelled as those things? Would you still ignore these behaviours if the “complications” didn’t exist? That shouldn’t make a difference to how you treat people.

Morals are standards of behaviour, principles of right and wrong. They are what our parents instil in us from an early age. We aren’t taught that some people can be wrong but others can be right (or even a lesser type of wrong) because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or disabilities. So many people are campaigning for equality at the minute but how is it unbiased if some people are more equal than others?

Maybe you’ve already made up your mind but if you’ve taken the time to read this and any of it has made you think then perhaps things don’t sit right with you after all.

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What a difference a day (or week, or month or year) makes

I could never have imagined how my life was going to turn out. It hasn’t followed the plan I had in my head, that’s for sure.

How the worst time of your life can be followed by some of the best is crazy!

But I can honestly say I am happy now.

I know I might not always feel this positive but the most valuable lesson I have learnt is that I am strong. When my world imploded I really had no idea how I would rebuild it. But I did it, even though I didn’t believe I could.

Now, I know that no matter what life throws at me I really can do it. Yes it’s a bit of a cliché but your strength will come through weakness. How can anyone who has never faced hard times learn how to be resilient?

But I haven’t done it alone. I’ve had support from my family and close friends. They’ve listened to me rant and rave, they’ve held me while I cried, and they’ve just been there when all I wanted to do was sit in silence. I really hope that everyone has those people who will support them when things get tough.

I’ve had support from other people too. People that might not even realise they had an impact on me. People who got back in touch just to say they were shocked by what they had heard and they were there if I wanted to chat. I wasn’t in a place to be reaching out to people so it meant a lot for people just to send a quick message.

Whatever it is you might be going through, I promise you you can do it. Trust me, I actually know. Find people to talk to. Deal with it however you need to. But know that you will be a stronger person once you come out the other side.

And if you’re not sure how to talk to you people or how to ask for help, I will listen. It doesn’t matter if I don’t know you or haven’t spoken to you in years. Support is vital and if I can help by just listening then please message me. Share a bit of your story. Ask me about mine. Whatever it takes.

I got through it.

And you can too.

Dig a bit deeper

Just one of the feelings I have experienced (and continue to feel) is anger.

Anger at the time that was wasted.

Anger that I was made a fool of.

Anger that other people were strung along.

And anger at the worlds acceptance of such deceitful behaviour.

It’s also difficult to see how life is continuing. People do not seem to care much about character when making judgements about people or forming new friendships. I can assure you that what you see on the surface is sometimes not even a tiny bit of the picture of who someone really is.

Don’t be shallow. Find out who the person really is. Consider their past, how they have treated others – is this someone you’d really want to be friends with? If they have treated other people poorly in the past they might very well do the same to you.

What about the people who they treated poorly? How do you think it would feel to be the one left behind while the other person moves on flaunting their “wonderful” life and new friends with no consequences for their actions?

A friendly, bubbly exterior does not mean a genuine person. They might very well be dishonest, deceitful, disloyal but they can put on a very good act to hide it. They can be the life and soul of the party and have so many people round them but how many of these so called “friends” really know the true person inside? A desire for popularity is a result of insecurity.

Discovering the truth can be painful, believe me I know. But ignoring it is foolish. Don’t bury your head in the sand because you are afraid of what might happen. Yes it will involve change but don’t compromise your morals because you are afraid.

People judge you because of who you are friends with. Do you want to be considered as someone who is inconsiderate and selfish? So choose wisely. Surround yourself with people who are genuine. People who are honest, trustworthy and loyal. I know I have.

Ignoring is condoning. Ask don’t assume.

What you ignore you permit. What you permit you condone.

If you want to know something just ask. Don’t assume and DON’T listen to gossip.

In the last 13 months a lot has happened. It has led me to be disappointed in people. I thought that as humans, we were compassionate, kind and empathetic. Now I know that, unfortunately, it is only the minority of us who possess these traits. I have been through what can only be described as the toughest time of my life and people, who I thought would be there for me, were not.

I’m not going to try and make excuses for them or explain why they have behaved in this way. I can’t do that because I simply don’t understand their actions at all.

Rather than go into the details of what happened (maybe another time), I want to help you understand how to react if someone you know is struggling. Don’t get me wrong -the friends who were with me through everything did a great job of supporting me but I was disappointed in the lack of support from some people.

Yes people have their own lives, work, family etc and in our culture today we are always “busy”. But, to me, it is completely unfathomable that people would simply forget about someone who they knew was going through something so difficult.

I don’t know anyone who has gone through what I did, but I would like to think that if any of my friends were struggling I would be there for them. I’m not talking about turning up at their house every day for an hour long update of how they are feeling; I just mean checking in, acknowledging what has happened, listening to them and trying my best to offer words of comfort. I can count on one hand the number of people who did that for me.

I would by no means call myself popular, but there were previously a lot more people in my life than what there are now and I expected more of them.

Perhaps that’s where the flaw is – I set my expectations too high. Yet I don’t think it is too much to expect people to want to be there for their friends. Surely that’s what friendship is.

In our world of busy-ness which friend do you want to be? Take the time to stay in touch. Even if you haven’t spoken for a while, just send a message and say “I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch, I wasn’t sure what to say to you but I’m sorry about what has happened. I’m here to listen if you want to talk about it.” Nothing complicated or scary and it will be appreciated more than you know. It doesn’t matter how much time may have passed. Take the time to find out how things felt from this person’s perspective. Don’t be afraid that you will be perceived as nosey, it is better for you to hear the story from the person who experienced it, rather than listen to gossip or hearsay.

If you don’t address what has happened you are condoning it by your lack of condemnation. And yet if you haven’t heard the full story it would be foolish of you to condone what has gone on. You might have heard the story from others but you don’t know what it was like to live through the situation and you are probably not aware of the full details. There are two sides to every story and if you’ve only heard one then you are in no position to make any judgement.

What you ignore you permit. What you permit you condone.

If you want to know something just ask. Don’t assume and DON’T listen to gossip.