What makes friendships, relationships, careers, marriages, any connection that survives over an extended time either long-lasting or a train wreck? Yes, I know there are a gazillion reasons for both results. But common reasons aside, why do some obviously good connections still fail? Am I brave enough to open this can of worms?
If you have ever watched the movie Amadeus, you know the story of the Italian composer Salieri. He was a devout man who only wanted to praise God through his music. Sadly, he harbored very destructive resentment toward a young musician he deemed an impish, petulant child named Mozart who simply had more talent than he. Salieri had so much he might have learned from Mozart, but envy blocked his vision and jealousy tortured his soul. Connections always seem to suffer when we look outward for our self-worth instead of inward.
I am lucky that envy and jealously have rarely darkened my doorstep. For me, just "being enough" is the psychological dungeon that confines my comprehension and control of acceptance, self-worth, and longevity.
I can shamefully say that my longest corporate job lasted only four years until I launched my own business and grew it successfully for almost 30 years. I joked about it endlessly gloating that I finally found a boss I liked and respected. She actually worked as hard as I did. And while I did find it comical, I still wondered what made me so unable to thrive in mediocrity. I even secretly battled with the fear of narcissism.
Experts say that lack of control, and lack of a fight, is what drives a narcissist crazy. And, because they never think they are wrong, they never apologize. Ah, but I am often wrong, hate confrontation, and apologize probably more often than necessary. So, I lifted that burden from my heart a long time ago. Yet, I still found it impossible to work for companies that turned a blind eye to employee complacency and operational mismanagement. Me doing my best was never enough. I needed everyone to do their best. Sure, lady, that is definitely realistic. Can you see my eyeballs rolling?
Interpersonal connections are the next topic of never-ending curiosity. There is often no consistent black and white/right or wrong battleground. Love, honesty, and mutual respect must intertwine seamlessly with the art of compromise and trust to endure a long haul. When that breaks down cohesion is lost, and the train jumps the tracks. If the train derails in a busy, high traffic area there may be many resources available to rebuild. But, if it happens in a desolate desert, that mode of travel may be irretrievably lost. Those who successfully complete that long journey with only mere bumps in the road are nothing less than superheroes to me.
Lastly, understanding relational friendships is an even bigger black hole I try to avoid. Why can't opposite-sex friendships be judged on the purest of emotion instead of a shameful desire or a guilty pleasure? For reasons unknown, some cannot differentiate between the science of attraction and the chemistry of attraction. And I, for one, cannot understand why one can’t exist without the other. Tickets on those trains are hugely overpriced and way too easy to book. My advice: vacation elsewhere!
I presume these analogies will seem but a jumble of words to many. I somehow melt it down to one simple theme - being enough. I often feel I am unable to fully satisfy anyone including myself on a myriad of levels. Until, at least, a new blog topic jumps in front of me and takes me on another wondrous journey of thought. I would go into more detail on this topic, but I fear you would quite rationally deduce that I am one taco short of a combo plate. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
2/3/2021 07:54:23 am
BRAVO my dear. Great work, good analysis and a somewhat cumbersome(but the truth) conclusion. I share/ed many of the same thoughts and deductions over my past years and remain, as you, uncertain of what it is that make things last. Looking for more brain fodder, keep writing.
2/3/2021 03:31:28 pm
Thanks, T... Your situation is very different from mine as I am very certain you would have been one of those unsung long haul superheroes had you not suffered such a sad loss so young. It is nice, however, to not float in this level of ozone alone...
2/3/2021 10:17:12 am
This is a good examination and worthy of my personal consideration and evaluation. I'll read it a few times. I appreciate the unexpected and unsassy prompt for inner appraisal. I also applaud your lack of jealousy and envy; it is mutual in our friendship. You have been a true relationshipper.
2/3/2021 03:43:01 pm
Mike, I always look so forward to your insight. My ability to focus and continue down this path is truly driven by the poignant and thoughtful response of readers. I appreciate you! Thanks!
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Jacque Jarrett Stratman