Recently I’ve written about how I was worried about my emotional state this Christmas, in view of the fact that this past year has not been the best in my life. Well, I’m pleased to report that lately I’ve been doing really well! And, in part, I owe this surprising development to some advice I got a long time ago, but had forgotten. Someone once told me that we all should treat ourselves with as much love and compassion as we show our friends and family. Easier said than done. But I’m in a place in my life where, without a mother or a sister or significant other, I need someone to care about my feelings and my needs, not just when it’s convenient, but twenty-four hours a day. And I’ve finally found such a person…ME.
Now I’m not talking about the “Everyday Star.” I’m sorry to admit that I’ve always tended to react too emotionally to things. I’m the kind of person who can often be wounded with a dirty look and demolished by acts of disloyalty. When something goes wrong, I always wonder if it’s my fault. No, I’m talking about another part of me that I’ve just recently let emerge. Let’s call her “Sister Star” because she’s nurturing and loving and helps keep things in perspective. She’s the part of me who always takes a deep breath and thinks before reacting.
This is the part of me who, when I’ve done something really nice for someone and don’t even receive a “thanks,” steps in and says, “Don’t get angry. Their ingratitude in no way diminishes the fact that you’ve done the right thing. This says more about them than you. Let it go.”
When I see too many Christmas commercials showing the “perfect” family and am starting to sink into depression, Sister Star steps in and reminds me that being in a family is no guarantee of happiness. She recalls past stressful holidays with my stepmother and my ex-in-laws. She points out that we’re going to have a lovely Christmas because we’re free, independent and at peace. Whatever we say – goes. She points out all the blessings we have and how very lucky we are. And she’s right. God has been good.
Just this past week I had a Christmas lunch with a good friend of mine, who has moved from the city where I live to a very small town. We had a nice time, but, as we sat and talked, I realized that the shape of our friendship has changed. I could sense that she has started to distance herself from her city friends in favor of her new small town friends. They’ve become her priority. I don’t doubt that I’m still important to her, but I feel our bond is weakening with time and distance. When I was driving home, I started to feel sad, like I was being abandoned by everybody I care about.
That’s when Sister Star popped up and said, “Whoa! Slow down, sister! First of all, remember that whole Serenity Prayer thing where it says, ‘accept the things I cannot change?’ Well, you can’t change this. It is what it is. This long-time friend may be changing her life, but what about all your other friends? What are they? Chopped liver? What about your friend, Francie, with whom you’ve only been close for about three years, who was there every step of the way for you when your sister broke your heart? Remember how she called you long distance and helped you talk it out…for two hours? Doesn’t she make you feel loved? Or Charles? You and he have been email and lunch buddies for like…forever! What would you do without him? And he hasn’t gone anywhere! And your ex-neighbor, Iris, who may have moved, but is still a friend? And what about Shar and Dee? Girlfriend, you’ve got friends! I will NOT let you brood about this!”
And the miracle is – I didn’t.
I’m feeling stronger and much more positive. Maybe Sister Star has always been a part of me, since I was a little girl, but I’m just now letting her out. Maybe I’ve always been afraid to put myself first, even when it was a matter of survival. I just feel that for too long I’ve let the emotional side of me rule my life and I’ve been hurt too many times when I should have been strong. My Sister Star part of me is better, stronger and more in control of my life and my future, and I’m sure glad she showed up when she did. Better late than never.
And oh, yeah, I’m going to let her stay… As a matter of fact, I just may have to buy her a real nice Christmas present! I know just the kind of thing she’d like.