Self awareness and selfishness

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I am sitting curled up in my library, mulling over a very enjoyable few days during which I have partaken of an activity that I view with extreme caution these days; I have been socialising. It has given me a lot of food for thought.

On Thursday I went out for a walk with a friend who used to live in my village. She has been through a great deal in the past year or so, but appears to be in a better place now than she has been for some time. Although I have known her for quite a number of years, it is only recently that I have been spending time alone with her. As we walk and chat I find myself at ease in her company, which for me is relatively rare. I hope that we can find time to get to know each other better. It has been a long time since I have felt inclined to try to get closer to someone.

This weekend we have had long established friends down to visit. One of these friends shared some issues that I had not previously been aware of, which make her active participation in so many endeavours all the more commendable. I know that these are lovely, generous people and I value their friendship highly. They have made me think about how I cope with my own little life and my relationships with others.

I believe that I can be quite a jealous friend. Perhaps I have read too many books or watched too many films where each woman has a best friend, who they can and do turn to at every juncture in their lives. I have never been short of friends, but neither have I had that one and only best friend forever. My good friends have always had other good friends alongside me, and I have allowed that to colour my perception of how they value me. I have allowed myself to consider that I am less important to them because of the others in their lives.

Just as an elder sibling can feel jealous of a new addition to the family, so I have felt less valued when friends have talked of activities they have enjoyed with those closer to their everyday lives. I have not allowed for the fact that our capacity to love knows no bounds when nurtured and cherished as it deserves. My friends made the effort to visit us this weekend, even though their lives are full and busy, and I appreciate and value their willingness to spend time in our company.

I find it very easy to put myself down. It was mentioned how often I do this: I pointed out the flaws in the welcome cakes and cookies that I baked for their arrival; I booked a table at a restaurant so that I would not have to cook a meal that I expected would be a disaster; when dressed for dinner I pointed out that I had put on weight. I was not performing some foolish act whereby I expect to be contradicted when I speak negatively of myself or my abilities, this is simply how I think. Nevertheless, it is not comfortable conversation for others to listen to. I need to concern myself less with me.

My lovely friends brought us thoughtful gifts. I intended to send them home with a box of fresh eggs from our little flock of hens and had selected for them the very best from last week’s laying. In the flurry of goodbyes I forgot to hand them over and feel disappointed that I could not manage even this small gesture of appreciation. It somehow sums up my inabilities, yet if I am to learn the lesson that lurked in the background over these past few days I must not dwell on my unimportant failure.

We had a very enjoyable meal out last night and a lovely walk this morning. It is these aspects, along with the non stop conversation and comfortable sharing that I must focus on. I lack confidence in myself, not something that I can simply set aside, but I can recognise that there are people who choose to spend their valuable time in my company. I must try harder to focus on this and be grateful that I am so blessed.


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