The first (and so far only) time I went to Maui, Hawaii, I was sure I wanted to live there. One deterrent, though, was the fact that I don’t know anyone who lives there, and I might start to feel isolated and lonely.
But OTOH, I thought, once the word started getting around that I lived in Hawaii, I’d probably have a steady stream of friends and extended family who’d want to come and visit me. So I really wouldn’t ever be alone, and that would make it easier to decide to go.
Watching our cold and dreary weather lately, the idea of moving to Maui and having people visit came up again, but this time with the thought, what if I start to feel taken advantage of? I mean, what if all of a sudden, all these people who I may not have seen regularly on the mainland suddenly wanted to visit me for a week or a month or a year? Wouldn’t it start to feel like I’m just the convenient (meaning free) hotel for a bunch of phony BFF’s? Wouldn’t it start to feel like they don’t really care about seeing me — they just care about getting to Hawaii on the cheap???
Yes, my higher wisdom replied, you will feel resentful and taken advantage of — if you forget either of two things.
First, if you forget that you have an investment in saying “Yes” that has more to do with you than with them. Remember how we started this conversation: you don’t want to be lonely. You said, “I won’t be lonely because I’ll have a steady stream of visitors.” So remember that you have reasons for people coming to see you that are really more about you than about them. If you’re feeling resentful, perhaps one reason is that you’re not feeling isolated and lonely, or you’re just wanting some alone time, and visitors might feel like an intrusion.
And of course there’s always the very subtle but powerful, “They didn’t visit me when I lived on the mainland – how come all of a sudden now they want to be my friend?” That’s a really important and necessary question to ask of yourself and of the other person(s) in order for you to feel good about them coming to your home. What really is the nature of this relationship? Are they (literally) fair-weather friends who only want this relationship for what they get out of it? Or is it possible that, given the structure of their lives, clearing their calendar for a week or two is their best way of giving the relationship what they can offer. Or perhaps their “sudden” availability is an indication of their realization that, “Hey, wow, Adele isn’t always going to be in my life, and I need to make an effort to keep this relationship nurtured and healthy.”
And, my higher wisdom gently chided, what about you, my dear? Might you be the friend who only wants the relationship for what you get out of it? Are you wanting just anyone to visit you to prevent your feelings of loneliness and isolation, or are you prepared to clearly discern who comes to your home and who does not, even if it might mean some lonely times?
That leads right to the second point: you might feel resentful if you forget that you can – and sometimes should – say “No.” For one thing, regardless of where you live on the planet, if you don’t want visitors in your home, it’s your responsibility to tell them that. Resentment is a wonderful signal that a boundary has been crossed within you. Perhaps you’ve created an obligation in you that says, since I’ve said “please come and visit me,” I don’t have the right or the privilege to say “No.” That’s an illusion often created from fear and scarcity, ala, “If I say no to them one time, they’ll never ask again.” Honestly, if that is the truth of your relationship, perhaps that’s a good thing to know! Remember, if you say “Yes” when you really mean “No,” you’re doing a disservice and dishonor to yourself, to them, and to the relationship. They may be disappointed, that’s true — we’re frequently disappointed when we hear “No.” But, as a person who’s choosing to be in integrity, you would need to speak your truth to them, and trust that the relationship can tolerate their disappointment and your truth.
Remember, dear one, when you forget that you can say “No” or that you have a personal investment in them saying “Yes,” you will also forget that you have a part to play in feeling “taken advantage of.”
And now, my higher wisdom concluded, go live in Maui – enjoy your visitors, enjoy your solitude, and enjoy your truth.
I am open to hearing your thoughts.
Adele Cox, MA, CMT
Youniversoul Health & Wellness
2305 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705