When friends or family let us down, it hurts. It just does. And there’s no way around the associated pain. It sucks. When friends or family let me down, I can feel isolated, alone… and maybe even feel as if I’m not important to them. So… What to do when Friends or Family Let Us Down?
Some say to not have any expectations or to lower them. I think most of us know this is an easy phrase to say, but not so easy to live. When family or friends dismiss us or ignore us or worse yet, promise us something but don’t follow through, what do we do? How do we feel?
I can guess, like me, your reaction to a broken promise might often be negative and sometimes lead to self-doubt. I understand. It’s hard to push aside our expectations. After all, we’re not robots. We have thoughts and emotions. We feel joy and we feel pain. And sometimes, we feel alone.
It may seem as if everyone else has tons and tons of support from family and friends—or even from hundreds or thousands of total strangers. Social media has everything to do with this manipulation of our perspective.
In reality, no one is immune to feelings of self-doubt or loneliness.
Every person feels let down from time to time. People of all makes and shapes can feel alone. The sting of emotional pain is something every person knows.
Social media has distorted the meaning of the words: friends and followers.
An authentic smile from one person in one moment of any day means more to lifting one’s spirits—even if it comes from a stranger.
For many of us, expectations are hard to suppress, almost impossible in our digital age of instant information or disinformation, our desire for immediate gratification, and our tendency to measure self-worth by quantities of likes, loves, shares or retweets.
Better said than ‘don’t have expectations, is ‘don’t become attached to the outcome’.
Of course, I didn’t come up with this sage piece of advice. But it makes sense to me, so I share it with you. The hard part is to remember to live it.
My sense of success, inner calm, self-worth, and self-realization isn’t solely measured by the sense of a good or bad outcome. Nor is it defined by what family or friends do or don’t say or do. It also isn’t determined by the number of people, especially strangers, who click ‘like’, or ‘follow’ on social media. Sure, those things can feel good. But the good feeling is fleeting… because it holds no depth of value.
How we feel about ourselves doesn’t come from outside of us. And a “good” sense of self-worth isn’t hidden so deep within that we need some kind of special skill or magic key to access it. It might seem buried beneath years of emotional debris, never to see the light of day. But it’s there… and waiting for us to discover it. For some, the dig can be scary and arduous. But it can also be rewarding. Successful feelings or achievements don’t have to wait until some future time when everything falls neatly into place. And they sure as heck don’t depend on family and friends to manifest and thrive.
For me, I long ago learned that I can navigate and cultivate my sense of success and self-worth all by myself.
I can realize happiness and joy any second of the day. Sure, sometimes life will be too hard, too fast, too heavy. It’s like meditating when I’m experiencing too much emotional or physical pain; that’s way too rough a ride, and too easily promotes a sense of failure. In those tougher moments, I just breathe… and keep moving.
On other days, I practice patience and self-compassion, and self-love and kindness go a long way, too. These are not attributes granted by a genie. They’re already part of who I am.
It may take a lot of hard work, but in time, many of us who question our abilities or the value of our creations, learn to stop looking for the answers from outside of us.
We can try to understand the perceived dismissiveness of our friends or family members… but we’ll never know the answer because we are not them. We don’t know what’s going on in their lives. We can guess, but where does that get us? We end up telling ourselves made-up stories. Let it be.
Instead, why not choose to settle into the moment? Why not learn to embody it, feelings and all, without trying to solve it like a puzzle? For me, by choosing this quiet, introspective way of being, I’ve found I’ve got all the support I’ll ever need… from within; and I’ve discovered I can keep learning how to become the best I can be.
I’ve got this. And you do too.
As a side note, no particular recent friend’s or family member’s lack of support toward me inspired this post. Like my other posts, this one is about sharing some general thoughts about being human. I am profoundly grateful for my family members and friends who show up to support me, and who keep their promises. I wholly respect their time and consideration. They are stellar people (not that they need me to realize this).