Hardest lesson I've had to learn
Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Someone asked me what the hardest lesson I ever had to learn was.
I sat there and thought.
I tried to think of ways I could sugar coat it or tiptoe around the truth. I thought of ways I could tell you without going into the details that transpired to cause this lesson to finally sink in.
And you know what? I thought of plenty of ways to achieve that.
But then I thought… fuck it.
I was not put here on this earth, in the position I’m in to water down my own truth. It’s MY truth!
I won’t let my fear of being intimate on the internet hold me back from being the helper and nurturer that I am.
I’m sharing this to show empathy to those who need it.
To show you that you are not alone.
Or even just to give you a glimpse into the hard lessons I have learned so that learning them might be a tad easier for you when it’s your turn.
So, here it goes.
The hardest lesson I ever had to learn was as simple as this- Not everyone is my friend.
To delve deeper into that we could say that not everyone cares as deeply as you, not everyone is as good of a human as you. That may be true, but to keep it simple… Not. Everyone. Is. Your. Friend.
The sentence is simple. The lesson is not.
This has so many different layers to it. In a literal sense, you can’t trust just anyone. You should be cautious of strangers on the street and you shouldn’t spill deep, dark secrets with people you barely know. But, today’s lesson is more about finding out that old friends aren’t always forever friends.
And that it's okay to let go. Change is good, it means you're growing.
Now, I can’t say that this is the most profound lesson I have had to learn. Because it is definitely not. But, hardest, it was.
This was the longest and most heartbreaking lesson I’ve had to learn. And it is STILL a lesson that comes back to me every now and again.
Because learning is not linear. We can know something, like full-heartedly KNOW something and still react as if we are brand new to the situation.
Lessons are meant to help us change our reactions, to help us grow and ultimately lead us to our higher selves. These lessons will continue to repeat themselves until we actively accept them and integrate them into our daily lives.
So now, when I start to recognize a frenemy, I have the knowledge and confidence to say, “I have had really shitty friends, I know how that ends and I also know what it is to have really, really great friends. I don’t need this friendship in my life.” And just like that, I cut it off.
This lesson did not come easily to me. It did not come quickly.
It bubbled up slowly, splashing and leaving small burns here and there until it overflowed and I simply could not go on getting burned by the same people over and over again.
I’ll go into a little detail, just the big pieces of the puzzle that this lesson handed to me. I hope that this will remind you that you are not wrong for not learning your lesson the first or even the tenth time. You are human.
We want to believe the very best in people, it’s in our nature.
These lessons can take years to transpire.
So, as we all know. Shit happens. We may all go through some really, really terrible things throughout our lives and the most important thing is to have people on your side rooting for you.
The first lesson I did not learn right away was friend jealousy. I had a best friend who would send me long paragraphs of how hurt her feelings were, how I was a terrible friend for hanging out with our other best friend without her. I would be the only one of the two of us to receive these kinds of messages. I would sit there and wonder if I had really done something terribly wrong. I’d cry, of course, because I hate confrontation and I hate feeling like I have done something to hurt someone I care about.
But, this is crazy! You are allowed to have your own friendships. You are allowed to have 1 on 1 time with your friends. You should not feel guilty for having a relationship of your own with someone you care about!
Let me repeat that.
You should never be made to feel guilty for having a relationship with your friend. Mature, meaningful friendships will want you to cultivate your own friendships within your friend group. Find those people.
But, at the time, I did not learn that lesson. Instead, I felt guilty and it ruined my friendship with the other friend. We went from being inseparable to never seeing each other unless it was with our trio.
That was tough. It was also the fault of no one involved.
You start to learn that you cannot control how people treat you, you can only control your reactions.
I didn’t have to let that interfere with my friendship. But, it was all I knew at the time.
The point of friendships is to push you forward. Sometimes, that just means being pushed forward without the others.
Lesson two was possibly the biggest red flag I could have ever seen. But, I didn’t see it. I normalized it to keep my friendships.
I’m going to combine a few of the lessons in this one, because I’m not quite ready to share all of the personal details of my past, but we are going to get a little deep.
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assult
A few years ago, I was assaulted by a mutual friend.
I trusted my best friends at the time when I finally fully realized what had happened. I felt broken for days before finally opening up to them. I never expected this to put such a strain on our relationship.
The second I told them, rumors started to spread.
No, like literally seconds after. One of my closest friends immediately left the room to gossip to her big sister, who was also a close friend of mine.
I could handle the rumors. I hated it but I could live with them.
The rumors were nothing compared to the way they would hug my abuser in front of me. The way they knew and stayed friends with him, openly, right in front of my face while still calling me their best friend.
If I could take it back, I probably would have never told them.
But, knowing what I know now, I’m glad I did. It eventually made letting go a lot easier.
That was an exceptionally hard year for me. I felt like I could not escape the traumatic events that were piling up on me.
They knew the details of my traumas and would make jokes about them to me in passing.
But, even still, I accepted it and went on considering them my best friends.
Pausing to remind you that I am sharing these details to help show you that you are NOT weak for misinterpreting or postponing lessons. You are working with all you know at the time. Having to relearn lessons until you finally get it is the most human thing. It’s okay.
I am strong, I am powerful and I am fully aware of my worth- yet, it still took me years to learn this particular lesson, despite how blatantly obvious it seems now.
The rest of this story consists of the classic, “My best friends chose my ex over me.”
For reasons I do not know or care to understand.
That’s when I realized that we were not friends.
That’s when allll the little and big lessons I should have been learning over the years finally started flowing in.
And they hit me like a tidal wave.
I FINALLY understood that the Universe was showing me time and time again that I had outgrown these friendships.
I will say this, I loved those friends. They loved me through some of the toughest eras of my life, as well as some of the best times. They were living life to the capacity that they knew how to at the time, just as I was, and I cannot blame us for that.
The point of this story is not to hate on my past or the people that were in it, it is to share the experiences that have led me to this lesson. Not everyone is your friend.
The people who were once your friends, may not be your friends forever.
We are all learning and growing, some faster than others and some in opposite directions.
Everyone has that one really hard lesson to learn. It may be as simple as mine. It may be way deeper. But some lessons just take longer to sink in.
This lesson is the one that taught me that my unconditional love and forgiveness is not necessarily always a blessing. I have learned to be discerning when it comes to what deserves my time and energy. I no longer waste it on people that do not have my best interest in mind.
I no longer settle for less than what I give.
I no longer give less than I expect to recieve.
I have come full circle in terms of how I view relationships, as well as myself in them.
I am sure I will have to continue to relearn bits and pieces but I can finally say that I have this lesson particularly secured under my belt.
Sharing this was not easy, but this lesson has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. So, when I was asked what the biggest lesson I have ever learned was, I knew I would be doing myself and those who are reading this a disservice if I did not share.
I love you. Thank you for caring and for loving, thank you for reading and thank you for understanding.
I hope that I have helped you in some way. Please feel free to send me a message if anything resonates, if you have any questions or you need any extra love. I would love to hear about your biggest lessons as well!
Comment on this if you want to dig deep into some of my other life lessons!