Keep Your Side of the Street Clean, Then Let Go

reberSometimes we can get really caught up in someone else’s drama. There are all kinds of people in this world, and many of them are suffering in some way or another. You really have no idea about the interior world of another human being unless they choose to share it with you. There are people coming out of abuse, neglect and abandonment. People trying to overcome betrayal. People clinging and trying to control whatever and whomever they can so they don’t feel so afraid. People with personality disorders, people suffering from depression, people grasping onto their anger like a shield, people numbing out so they don’t have to feel anything at all. If you get too close, you’re going to get some spillover. It’s just the nature of things.

It’s possible that a person in pain has been that way for so long, it isn’t immediately obvious. Everyone has coping mechanisms, some are healthy, some are not. It takes a good long while to truly know another person. If we’re speaking romantically, it takes even longer, because you have to let the dust/lust clear before you can really see what’s there. Regardless, people will show you who they are, and/or where they are on their path if you give them enough time. Some people have walls up. Some people are angry and nasty because they’ve been hurt and disappointed so much, they can’t think of anything else to do but keep people out. You cannot negotiate with a caged animal.

When people are in fear or in anger, there’s no point trying to communicate. There’s also no need to take it personally, unless you did something hurtful intentionally, or not. If you have something to own, by all means own it. The art of the apology has gotten lost in recent years. “I’m sorry you feel that way” is not a satisfying apology, nor is yelling, “I’m sorry!”, or justifying what you did because what they did was worse. Unless you’re five, “He made me do it” isn’t going to fly, but if you haven’t done anything except cross this person’s path at a time when they can’t or won’t do anything but rage at you or shut you out, move along.

We can only manage our own side of the street. Honest communication is always good. By all means, try to speak about how you feel, or what you want, or what your fears are. Try a few times if it’s very important to you. Try in person first. An email is never as good as a face-to-face conversation, because so much can get lost in translation. You cannot see the expression on someone’s face, or hear the tone in their voice over an email, but if a person won’t see you, or get on the phone with you, that’s your next best option. Texting is never the way to go when emotions are high. Do your best to say how you feel, and then leave it. Your apology will or will not be accepted. Your attempt at connection will or will not be received. Your desire to make things better will or will not be shared.

You have power over how much time and energy you give a thing. Sometimes we want closure, or we’re attached to a particular outcome so much, we obsess. We spend hours, days, weeks, ruminating over details, replaying conversations, writing new ones in our heads. Sometimes we look back with rose-colored glasses, or we idealize someone, or we confuse our desire to be seen and heard and understood with a need to have those things happen with someone who is not available to us for whatever reason. People can only be where they are, and they can only have the tools they have. Drama is for the stage. Life is too short and too precious for that.

Sending you love,

Ally Hamilton

You can find my books here <3

2 thoughts on “Keep Your Side of the Street Clean, Then Let Go”

  1. Thank you for this. I recently had someone working with me for a very short time who was very troubled. This article helps me with my confusion as to what I could have and couldn’t have done.

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