The Lessons I Learnt from an Unpleasant Friendship

She was not really “my” friend, she was introduced to me as my husband’s friend’s wife. That’s how I met her for the first time. Since then this friendship became a test for my patience. Patience that could not last beyond five years and one day I had to put an end to this ordeal. Today looking back at those days I wonder if there is anything that I should have done differently?

unplesant friends

Right from the very start I felt she was boastful about almost everything she did. She talked greatly of herself, her kids, her life and carrier etc. In her view, she is never wrong and she is always the best. Every decision she took, be it great or small, she had the desperate need to explain to people what a great thing she did. The icing on the cake was how she insisted others should follow suit. If by any chance she felt that someone else is doing better than her, she would spread lies about them or put them down publicly, say hurtful things and embarrass them.

Jealousy

This level of overconfidence, overbearing attitude, intense enviousness, pompousness was too much to swallow. It gets dark and unpleasant when she looked upon others as lower in intellect and class than herself and was never shy of showering her arrogance.  She once said, “There is no one and nothing in this world that money can’t buy”. People should not be treated so cheaply I thought.

Most of the time I listen to whatever she had to say about other people and about me and responded only with a smile. Sometimes I tried explaining to her but she never tried to understand. I noticed a total lack of empathy for my feelings, needs and wishes. I did a lot of soul searching and self-assessment due to the fear that I might be misunderstanding this person. In the end it was irritation and a feeling of hurt that got me because she treated my friendship like use and throw. I redoubled my efforts to get along with her by filling my mind with positivity but the hurtful things she said already caused a lot of damage. Probably I shouldn’t have put up with all this, I should have told her right at the beginning that she is stepping on my toes.

The only people who were still her friends were those who could put up with her awful treatment and those people who were obviously in a much better position than her. Today I feel much better that I no longer have to put up with her. But it does make me wonder what could be done and how to deal with people like this.

This a list of points that came to my mind:

I am the BEST and I LOVE myself

  • Be self-reliant and expect no help or favors from them because these people will talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
  • Be prepared to shower praises on them. I know! We have to lock up our inner voice for a while. Praises, I notice, always send them to the seventh heaven.
  • Never fall for the falsehood they spread about others. Always assess people with your own fair judgement. You might be surprised that they are not as villainous as they were portrayed.
  • Keep conversations with them short and simple. Get out while you still can.
  • Never fall into the trap of show off. They love to gloat and we will definitely lose all our self-respect in a gloating contest with them.
  • Most importantly don’t lose sight of your goals and work diligently to achieve it irrespective of what anyone says.

These are the lessons I learnt from my experience. If you meet any one like this (I hope and pray that you don’t), I hope my suggestions will be of help to you. And if you have any more points to add to or correct in my list, please feel free to comment. I like to hear from all of you. All the best and wish you all a wonderful day.

Can we block unwanted thoughts??

Your mind is like a hummingbird that is constantly wandering from topic to topic, looking for a thought or feeling to latch on to. This sometimes leads to the discovery of some hidden talent that brings happiness, and sometimes it leads you into a spiral of unwelcome thoughts and undesired emotions. Many a time these unwanted thoughts are difficult to get rid of. They leave a lasting impression on you and alter your attitude and personality. Not all undesired thoughts are detrimental; in fact, some of these thoughts can trigger a change for the good. But, what happens when you encounter negative thoughts?

Time and again, one hears about how your mind just ran away with a thought and you end up feeling depressed and lonely. As the old proverb goes ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ and having a chaotic mind makes it a very busy workshop for the devil. To stop this flow of thought, many of us take up different activities. Some take up hobbies like gardening, cooking, craft work etc, while others take to penning down thoughts in blogs, journals, stories etc.

These are the more constructive ways to deal with an idle mind. There are other, more harmful, habits like drinking, drug abuse, smoking etc that trap you while you are in such a vulnerable state of mind. It is easy to get into these habits, but very difficult to get out of them. You get stuck in this quagmire with no means of escape. The downward spiral that they lead into might have deadly penalties.

So, how does one break away for this chain of events?
How can you stop your mind from wandering into these unsolicited thoughts?

I strongly feel that our mind is strong enough to stop these very thoughts that it triggers. I find that our own fight or flight instincts can be used to escape this quagmire. Everytime our mind starts wandering into this dangerous territory, our conscience always warns us. Our conscience dispels all doubts and negativity. I have experienced phases where i questioned my decisions and doubted my abilities. The only way I was able to get out of this dark place was by listening to that positive voice.

Sometimes, that positive voice is not necessarily our conscience. It can be the voice of your friend, a teacher, a parent etc. It could even be the free advice given by a random stranger. The only way to make sure that you heed it is by having a strong belief in yourself and faith in your actions.

Having a strong belief system is critical to everyone. It can be your belief in god, in a certain value like equality or justice or in your own wisdom. You can draw your beliefs from anything, but it is important to stay true and stand strong to these beliefs.

Self Awareness is the key to better life

Self Awareness quite literally means to be aware of one’s true self. It means to be aware of the true worth, one’s strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of the honest truth about oneself that we mostly hide. It sounds like a very philosophical and spiritual matter that sages and dreamers speak of. However, it is an essential and practical requirement that everyone needs to know.

Let me start with a simple example to explain the relevance. Many times, we perceive our self-image to be one thing, though in reality, our true self is very different from our own perception. Our perception of self might suggest that we are honest, straight-talking individuals or that we can give as good as we get etc. However, when the time comes to actually display these qualities, many of us are unable to. We are held back by fear or personal gain or sometimes apathy. We might give reasons for backing down, but the truth remains that we do not display any of these attributes. I do not want to speak of just negative instances. Sometimes, we might consider our self as weak or timid, yet when faced with the situation, we display great bravery and courage.

This may well be the truth about half of all people. So, how does self-awareness help us in such a situation? When I am fully aware of my abilities and my limitations, then I can be prepared better. When I am not brave enough to stand alone, I will first seek out those who are brave enough and take their support. When I need to be heard, I will speak through those who have a competent voice. We can build strong teams and work together to overcome each other’s weaknesses and capitalize on the strengths.

This might seem very whimsical and simplistic at first glance. It, however, requires great strength of mind and will power to be really honest about our limitations and weaknesses. Once we have found our weaknesses, it is crucial to align our self with the right people. We have to set aside our ego, look at the bigger picture, shed any inhibition we have etc. We all experience this on a smaller scale at different stages in life, be it the workplace, family or friends and college life.

Most of the time, self-awareness takes place unintentionally, or it goes unnoticed. We must change this and start focusing on our self more. Seek out situations to find more about our self and take to mind the lessons we learn. This will lay a strong foundation for a better and more peaceful future.