20 December, 2012

Clutching at control

I tell myself that I'm getting better at letting go.

That's a harsh way of putting it. I am getting better at letting go, for sure. And I attribute it to practice. The flip side, unfortunately, is that, as we get better at letting go, we also become more aware of the ways in which we still struggle to maintain control. It's a necessary piece of the puzzle. But there's a bit of irony in there.

Recently, I had a falling out with a friend from my previous job. It was actually someone quite important to me, for whom I have always held a high degree of respect and regard. I have even told others in my life that I don't think there is a single colleague whom I have trusted more to "have my back" and look out for me. After I left the company, our association transitioned into friendship, rather than coworker, and I was even happy to have to opportunity to offer him counsel on a number of occasions about things that were going on in his life.

We had a misunderstanding. I won't go into it, because it's not relevant. But what happened was that I misunderstood something, then I miscommunicated, and the result was that my friend became extremely angry at me. I did not, and still do not fully understand why he became so angry, because I had actually not even realized that I had done something wrong. But he was mad. I did my best to apologize, but it really didn't seem to be accepted. Some time passed, and I thought perhaps we were "okay" because we'd tried to make a plan to spend time together. The plan fell through because of mutual schedule conflicts.

A few more weeks passed, and then I noticed that he'd removed me from his friends' list on Facebook. I don't know why. I don't know if he never got over being angry at me before. I don't know if I unwittingly angered him again? Maybe what I perceived as "mutual schedule conflicts" was actually perceived by him as being blown off by me (though, he did start the scheduling conversation by telling me that he might need to cancel on me, so that doesn't seem right). I decided to give benefit of the doubt that perhaps he didn't intentionally remove me, and I sent a message asking him why. Days passed, and there's no response.

I don't know what to do. I'm hurt. I'm sad. I feel little tinges of anger about the fact that I can't make this right. There's nothing I can do to make him talk to me, nor is there anything I can do to rectify that which might be unfixable for reasons that will never be known to me.

When I started to get angry, my mind jumped about, and landed on possible reactions. Though, there are few. One that came to mind was: "I can go on LinkedIn and delete him from my Contacts list!" Yeah, that will show him. That's my reaction. That's my ego. I am hurt. I feel offended that there is no respect being shown to me from someone for whom I hold such high regard, and my desire is to hurt him back, albeit in some petty way.

Of course, I didn't do it. But it is about control.

There actually are not that many situations in our lives over which we have no control. There are the big things... accidents... death... other unpleasant surprises. But on the day-to-day, we certainly can go about feeling the illusion of control.

What I need to do here is practice letting go. But I don't want to. I want to understand why it happened. I want to know what I did. What is wrong with me? Why wasn't I as valuable to him as he was to me? How could I have been so wrong about the relationship? Of course, there are other explanations. Perhaps it's all about him, and not me?

But what I really need to do here... is practice... letting go.

I may not like this. But this is what is happening.

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