I’ve been a having a bit of a rubbish week this week, but when I saw this story it snapped me out of my unhelpful thought processes.
Matthew Rees, from Swansea Harriers Athletics Club, helped exhausted David Wyeth, from Chorlton Runners to finish the London Marathon.
On Monday I found out that I’m starting to get arthritis in my feet which isn’t brilliant, so that set me off to a bad start. Then I had to spent the last of my very little money on a doctors note for my PIP form, so I started feeling pretty sorry for myself. I’d made plans with a couple of friends throughout the week to cheer myself up and they all cancelled on me last minute. The thing which was upsetting, was that the reasons they gave were pretty offensive to me. I’m the most understanding person when it comes to changing/cancelling plans. My health problems mean I often have to change things.
The reasons they gave were basically that they had other offers (after we’d made the plans) which appealed to them more. The fact they felt it was even ok to tell me this as a reason…well, it hurt my feelings. In a way, I’d rather they’d lied to me, to spare my feelings. One message read ‘Oh, I forgot to message you, my friends are making me dinner, so I’m gonna do that instead.’ They didn’t even say the word sorry!
I also had a couple of friends ignore my messages all week (which is out of character), then contact me when they wanted to phone me to talk about themselves.
This experience isn’t anything new to me, I’ve had quite a few one-sided friendships or fair weather friends. I’ve had friends that don’t bother to invite me to social events, but are very quick to call me when they need a favour or advice. I spend a lot of time trying to work out what it is about me and why it happens so often to me. I think it’s because I generally avoid confrontations and I’d like to think I’m good at being supportive and giving advice.
I’ve invited friends to live at my house when they’ve had trouble, I’ve lent people money, I’ve sat on the phone talking through things for hours…and a lot of these people decided to cut me off once they’ve got a steady partner. I once stood in a queue on my own for 5 hours to get a CD signed for a friend because I knew he loved the band, and then he stopped talking to me when he got a girlfriend. It’s made me feel pretty used and a bit lonely.
I wallowed in all this over the weekend, and just started to feel quite bitter. I started saying to myself ‘I don’t want to be someone who helps anyone anymore’. ‘I’m just going to be selfish from now on’.
I’m not going to do that. I want to always be the person who helps others to the finishing line, because that’s what life is about. Just because other people might run by, doesn’t mean you have to. Some of the richest moments of my life come from crossing the finishing line with someone else. If I let these negative experiences rule my future, it would be me missing out.
The people who use others or don’t help others are missing out on the rewarding and fulfilling parts of life. I genuinely believe that although I feel a bit lonely now, when it comes down to it, I will have the more worthwhile people in my life and deeper friendships than people who I feel are selfish but more ‘popular’ than me.
Just to add: I do have some really amazing friends in my life, for which I am so grateful for. You are what makes my life a lucky one and I love you.