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A friendship cannot survive forever on the basis of gratefulness; true friendship needs mutual respect and equality.
I met her in 2007 and we soon swore that we would be best friends forever. In 2011, she started having troubles with me and left. Come 2014, I tried to revive the friendship and this time she had issues with the ‘new’ me. And finally our chapter together ended.
When I met her, I was the clingy girl who needed to please and stay in the shadows. I did not have the self-esteem or courage that I have today. In the garb of a friend, she was my teacher and I mostly played the obedient pupil. Now that I look back, the relationship was about her and about the advice I took from her. I needed approval. I only expressed myself when I knew I’d be approved of.
It worked very well until I befriended her friend, with whom she had issues later. I still did not quite see the light. I missed our conversations. I missed the good times we had. When you are parted from someone you love, they stay on in your head. You can have almost any conversation with them. And the best part is that in your head, all conversations go the way you want. No one from the outside world can interfere there.
But as they say, tables turn and destiny change. After my friend left me, I started learning many things on my own. I saw my light, found my voice and most importantly learnt the art of self-love and self-forgiveness. It changed the game. When you love yourself, you do not wait for anyone else’s approval. You are in a space where you know you are imperfect but you are okay with it. The world treats you the way you treat yourself. It is you who sets your standard and tells the world how to treat you. That is the gift of self-love.
When you love yourself, you do not wait for anyone else’s approval. You are in a space where you know you are imperfect but you are okay with it.
Now, that I was the ‘new’ me, the grammar of my language, the texture of my voice and the stories that I told changed. This happens when you grow. I no longer spoke of myself as a victim of circumstance or of my suffering. I had reframed myself as a victor who beat the odds. She was nice in the beginning, and I did sincerely thank her for the support she offered in my dark days. But you do not run a relationship on the basis of gratefulness; what you need is mutual respect and equality. This time, I had a new voice, but her voice and her story hadn’t changed. She was still the girl who was tormented by a cruel world yet walked the path that led her to love and other things. But this time, I was in no mood to curse other people. I did say that I always found her past relationship with someone to be unhealthy. This caused her to write me a vitriolic mail stating that my thoughts scared her and that her life was now engulfed by ‘soft love’ and so on.
This was when I paused and took a deep breath. I knew from within, that this right here was a life lesson. It took a day for my thoughts to crystallise: When you do not love yourself or have healthy self-esteem, you will cling to the first person whom you look up to. You are in desperate need of a hero, so you will make one. I did not respect who I was, so it was okay for me to be with people with whom I had to walk around on eggshells. They could walk in and out according to their convenience. Nothing stays in your life until you allow it to stay. I allowed the disrespect. I allowed the hate mails, by my apologies. I put myself there.
This time, there was no apology or explanation. This time I was a woman full of self-esteem and pride. I walked out. She was not the only person that I misguidedly looked up to, in my younger days. There was this boy in the university who read all the books in the world and could speak intelligently. And there was another who would quote Ghalib and Mir and write poems. But when I met them much later in life, I learnt that I missed what never was. I learnt that I created images out of my own need to be with better people who could save me from my dungeon. But no one can save you, if you do not save yourself. You are your victor. That is what life taught me the hard way.
The wise will say there are patterns in life that will repeat until you learn the lesson. Nothing goes away until it teaches you what you need to learn. I learned that the Universe is perfect, it does not waste anything. Everything finally conspires to make you what you were meant to be. But if you refuse to learn, the patterns will repeat, the hurts will be deeper and the payback higher, each time.
I have learnt that it takes courage to stand in your own power and be responsible for it. When you stop looking for a saviour or playing the victim, you are accountable for your actions. No one else will be there to assume blame. That is the day you have your first date with freedom. And the type of relationship you create with it will provide the blueprint of the life you will live and the legacy you will leave in this world.
First published here
Young woman free concept image courtesy Shutterstock
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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