All it takes is ONE: ONE person, ONE interaction, ONE word, ONE look, ONE action, ONE touch, ONE conversation, ONE intention, ONE judgement, ONE disregard. Only ONE. All it takes is ONE to change a moment, a day, a feeling, a conversation, a relationship, a memory, a friendship, an activity, an attitude, an expectation, a lifetime.
We never know what that “ONE” is to another person.
We all know this as we have been on both sides of this equation. Somedays we have been on polar opposite sides. How are we managing our passions, anger, despair, happiness, exuberance and distain? We know what we are going through, however, what we are not privy to is what is happening on the other end of the interchange. What we see is only a tiny sliver into the psyche of the other person. We truly do not know what demons someone else is wresting with and what is make or break.
How do we choose our words? Do we say the one that will uplift or the one that will cut down? Do we approach a situation with patience and understanding or with resentment, anger and judgement? Do we lash out or do we reach out? It is all in the words. ONE word can build or destroy a soul. How do we choose ours?
By taking ONE small step back and taking a breath, we give ourselves the opportunity to escape from the situation long enough to rethink; rethink our words, actions, deeds, thoughts and perspectives. A great friend once told me, “Think before you speak, and don’t say all you think.” ONE extra moment can change everything.
Like a stone dropped into a still pond, ONE word does not drop without making an impact. It will ripple on and make an impact until the furthest reaches of the shore. It may be small, but the impact is still there and will leave a wake. As minute as it may be, the effect is still there.
Today, I experienced both extremes. A friend came to visit and spend a few hours catching up. Whereas we used to live down the street from each other and saw each other every day, multiple times a day, we now only see each other every few months. It is a painful reality of this era of our lives with both of us now full time working moms. We found a moment where all of us were healthy and available and took time to catch up.
While she was at my home, I got a barrage of messages from a seemingly very good friend that commenced to tell me what a disappointment I was. I was told that I was not meeting expectations and that I was not measuring up. I was told that I was a terrible friend and that I was insensitive and uncaring. I was caught extremely off guard as I haven’t ever been spoken to that way. I honestly didn’t know what to do as I had a totally different perspective on the situation. From my point of view, I had spent the week previously trying to reach out and be understanding through problems that were going on that side of friendship.
Without any further clarification, I was told that the friendship was over and that I wasn’t worth the effort. The conversation shut off. After trying to call and message with no reply, I was left at a loss. Why is it that people feel entitled to treat people with disrespect and anger when their unstated expectations are not met? That I will never understand.
I sat looking at my phone in complete disbelief. I didn’t know what to think. My head was spinning. I was grateful at that moment for my dear friend who has been by my side and has lived with me through my very goods and my very very bads. She has seen me at my best and my worse and if anyone has the right to be able to call it quits with me, it is her. At that moment, I needed THAT friend who knows all of my faults and all of my shortcomings. I was grateful for the peace that she brought to me as I slowly worked myself out of the deep pit that I had been hammered into.
As she watched my face change, she helped build me back up. She had patiently listened to me for the previous hour talk about the stresses that I was having in my life (some major ones lately) and helping me think through any possible solution to fix them. She has been with me through thick and thin and knows of my concerns and where my heart lies. She watched as I had gone from a stressed out mess to being broken down even further. She was there when I needed someone to tell me that it was ok.
I know that I am far from perfect and that I certainly have my fair share of weaknesses and flaws. I am sure that I am extremely aggravating to some people. I know for certain that my limited time and resources and ability to spend time with people is irritating and frustrating to those around me. I get that, as I am frustrated that I don’t have more time myself. However, why is ok to berate and punish out of anger and aggravation.
In the end, we only have today. We only have now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We are not guaranteed tonight. Every moment, every word, every look, every interaction and every attitude may be the last one that we have with that person. How do we want to leave it? Will we leave with peace or regret? If we never have the chance to see that person in this life, will we be ok with that ONE last? In the end, we are the ONES that live with that ONE.