Two To Tango
I just watched the Banshees of Inisherin on HBO Max. Quite a long name for a movie, I know. But it talks about the trials and tribulations of friendship. And about finding purpose in life. Basically, long story short, one guy, Colm, wants to end his friendship with another guy, Padraic.
And Padraic is devastated because of it. Colm, who is older, wants to focus on more meaningful pursuits like his music, rather than just mindless everyday chatter with Padraic. And in the movie, he takes drastic measures to convince Padraic not to talk to him ever again. Padraic is also a little mentally deficient, so he has it hard and is quite agitated by the results of Colm ending their friendship.
I think it shows that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it really takes two to tango when it comes to a relationship. You can pray and persuade and try your hardest to get someone to like you or approve of you, whether it be romantically or platonically. But at the end of the day, you simply do not control how other people think of you. And that’s for better or worse.
Sometimes, we just need to come to accept that what we can control in this lifetime is very little. And we need to accept the fact that things will not work out ideally the way we plan in our visions and our dreams. Curveballs and pitfalls will come our way whether we like it or not.
If someone rejects you or does not want to hang out with you anymore, there’s essentially nothing much you can do to convince them otherwise. Sometimes, it’s best to just let go and let bygones be bygones. And just work on your own pursuits and journey. Because this world is so big and beautiful and chances are there will be people out there that respect you for you.
I’ve encountered plenty of people out there that did not approve of me whatever reason. Some of it was my fault. Other times, it was factors simply beyond my control. I’ve gone thru breakups where my partner at that time thought I was too immature or too dependent. I’ve had friends that decided to hang out with me less because they thought I was too awkward or too full of myself. It would be something here or there that I pretty much couldn’t really do anything about.
Could I have changed some of these incidents and made those friends like me more? Or could I have still made my ex-partners love me? I’m not sure. Perhaps if only I were a little bit more self-reliant. Or only if I weren’t as full of myself as I used to be back in the past. If only this. If only that.
But in reality, you can’t really change those times. You were you back then. And you are you right now. Sometimes, things just work out in mysterious ways. So, when things go sideways, sometimes it’s best to just let go and accept things for what they are.
In the movie, Padraic had trouble letting go. And this eventually cost physical harm to Colm. Things eventually escalated to the point where Padraic was seeking revenge because he was blinded by grief, loss, and anger. But that got him nowhere neither.
It’s easier said than done, but we need to practice acceptance in the moment. Acceptance of less-than-ideal conditions. Acceptance of the here and now. Acceptance of things that we cannot change in life. And to respond accordingly to adverse circumstances with empathy and compassion.
All this sounds nice on paper, but it takes real work and real practice to do this. The best times for practice comes when conditions are less than ideal. When you feel some physical or mental discomfort. When you encounter grief or heartbreak or loss. When things are not going your way. These are the best times to practice the principles of acceptance. To welcome all that life can throw your way with simply open arms. To be okay with not being 100% okay.
Again, I’ve experienced plenty of agitation and anxiety throughout the course of my existence. Most of times, I’d say they come from people who mean well and are good intentioned. In the past, I would attach myself to the feeling of bliss and be unhappy that I’m not feeling in one particular way. I’d think that I should be feeling joyful when in reality I’m feeling annoyed. And that expectation would just snowball and lead me to feel downright unwell.
These days, through acceptance and the principles of awareness and observance, I’ve been trying to do a better job of accepting things as they are and placing some distance between me and my thoughts. Between me and my feelings. So that I know these emotions and feelings do not define who I am. I will accept them as they come and go. I will welcome them and then I will wholeheartedly allow them to inevitably dissipate.
And in the moment, I will continue to accept. I will continue to control the things I can control. And I will continue to let go of the things that are well beyond my pay grade.