I just got off the phone, exhausted. Spent an hour talking to a relative that I make a point of checking in on every few weeks. Our conversations consistently drain the life out of me. It's just one complaint after another, one "poor me" story followed by the next. And no matter how I try to lift her spirits by veering her towards a positive note, she expertly manages to steer the conversation back to a cloudy disposition.
Her negative energy is so powerful it manages to travel the thousands of miles that separates us and affects me so badly that by the time I put the phone down, I literally have to shake it off for a few minutes just to clear my head.
Our conversations would also almost always revolve around her. A full hour, sometimes two, just about the different occasions where she felt she was either blindsided, cheated, taken advantage of, disrespected and so on. It's always the world is against her in one form or another.
On one occasion, after an extraordinarily depressing conversation, I didn't connect with her for a while. She eventually asked why and I told her how I felt. She was astonished, clearly unaware of her ways and almost as if on cue, continued to complain about how I didn't tell her sooner. Again, blaming others out of habit without a shred of accountability nor an attempt to look inwards.
The habit is so strong, having practiced it for so long, that it developed into a hardwired part of her personality. She does it on instinct.
I still love her and will continue to keep in touch. But I will never stop reminding her of the positive side of things because in relationships and in life, hope begets hope.
Compassion begets compassion.
Love begets love.
And we should always try to be the spark, especially when it's dark.
To living in the light in 2023.
Written by Lillian Too's Mandala Member, Marge
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