It has taken me years to be able to say that and even longer to believe it. For so long, even after years of sobriety, I did not believe I was deserving of good things. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I was taught in sobriety that it was not okay to believe I am “deserving” of anything. It was repeatedly drilled that having expectations of any kind is merely a set up for disappointment. To some extent, I believe this is true.
It is unfair of me to expect something of you even if you are capable of doing it. In most cases, this makes perfect sense to me. If I don’t have expectations of you, I will never be disappointed because you don’t meet them. This will lessen resentment, and keep the responsibility in my court. The problem is, this also somewhat enables you to not have to show up for me. If I expect something of you and you don’t follow through, it is my fault for having the expectation, and you’re off the hook. If I hold a grudge or judge you, it’s on me…not you.
I am terribly aware that I am responsible for my feelings. No one else has the power to “make” me feel anything unless I allow it. Being angry and isolated all the time is not fun for anyone. I am armed with the understanding that it is vital to my happiness and freedom to not get wrapped up in “Me-Me-Me.” If I focus too often or long on a problem or all the things I don’t have, I get miserable…quickly. I did not get sober to be miserable. I am compassionate to a fault, and tend to nurture relationships way past the point of unhealthy. Patience and tolerance are wonderful tools to have, but can also be taken advantage of. The question is, how much is too much? Is it possible to be too tolerant?
Having expectations can set us up for disappointment and resentment, true. However, pretending we don’t have expectations seems as equally ridiculous. Expectations are part of the human condition. I have lost count of how many times I have offered compassion and forgiveness to someone just to have them repeat the action or lack thereof. How many times is too many? I want to be a compassionate and forgiving person, but I don’t want to do so to the point of insanity.
This is where I must take responsibility for my part. I ask myself questions. What’s wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing right? Why do I keep nurturing relationships with people who prove to me time and again that they can’t balance friendship and follow through? Is it okay for me to walk away from a friendship at some point if it becomes clear that the other person is incapable of consistently showing up for me?
I’ve decided the answer is yes; it’s okay to move on. Letting go doesn’t have to be a resentful process; it can be one of acceptance. It doesn’t have to be in a cloud of smoke or yelling match. It can instead serve as an opportunity for personal growth and self-care. Obviously, ending a friendship is never easy, but neither is pretending.
I am a good person. I deserve to be happy, and so does everyone else.