Monday, October 17, 2005

Who can say if I've been changed for the better ?

But because I knew you, I have been changed for good. The main lyric line from the chorus of my favorite song from Wicked. It applies to my relationship iwth a dear girlfriend that has gone to a deeper level in the last six months. Today I found the courage to confront this friend about an incident that happened last night, not a big deal but something that hurt my feelings quite a bit (I probably overreacted).

Now that might not sound like a big deal, but in my entire adult life, I cannot think of a time (there may have been a couple but I don't remember any) where I actually was able to step out of my comfort zone enough to tell a girlfriend, hey, so and so that you did or said really hurt my feelings or made me angry or the like. My practice has always been to just say nothing, stuff my feelings and act like it never happened, or to talk to someone else about it. Even as a child I did this, though as a teen I had my share of silly snits with girlfriends. But my innate people pleasing nature, coupled with a conflict avoidance personality and a fear that if I say what I'm really thinking people will not like me anymore, pretty much has resulted in a very unhealthy way of dealing with conflict, with the exception of those very closest people (meaning my spouse and kids - not even my parents). With them, I felt safe enough to express my true feelings (sometimes too much I guess) knowing they would love me no matter what.

So though this may seem small in the scheme of life, it was a really huge step in personal growth for me, to step out of the "safe" zone and take the risk to tell her that she hurt my feelings. And of course, she totally understood, especially since I reminded her of a similar incident that had happened to her with a couple of other friends and she got her feelings hurt. She is much like me in her difficulty in forming female friendships, desire to please everyone, and conflict avoidance. We both come from pretty dysfunctional family backgrounds and have survived and turned out relatively normal, but with our own weirdnesses that come from that.

This day was kinda sucky in that I had a lot of things weighing on my mind, but this particular personal risk that paid off kinda makes the rest of it a little less heavy. I guess I need to step out of that zone more often . . .

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