Note: This blog originally published in November 2011.
It’s natural; we look to our friends and peers as role models for guidance, and occasionally a slight urge of jealousy peaks. I’ve spent the last couple of years admiring a near and dear friend. While I didn’t hoister her up onto a pedestal, I admired her greatly; especially when it came to her relationship she shared with her significant other.
I’ll admit it; I thought my friend was perfect. She had her life planned out from the moment I met her. She knew exactly what she wanted to do with life, she worked hard and got from step to step – not necessarily easily, but we all knew she was going to get there one way or another. She married her high school sweetheart and has continued to live a life of lavish – at least from my eyes. She’s intelligent, making a difference in the world, taking weekend trips with her hubby with whom she had a relationship with that I’ve envied since the day I met her.
I look to my friend for inspiration, motivation and example. It was through her that I realized what type of relationship I wanted to someday have with my now hubby-to-be. I was exposed to a loving, supportive, communicational strong relationship that they had shared. Over time I realized, slowly and sparingly, that no two relationships are, nor can be, the same. Though I still saw their relationship as a perfect example of a strong, healthy relationship.
A change of perspective
Well, my image of this relationship was thrown off kilter as my friend disclosed personal information to me that ran flashing lights through my brain. This relationship in which I thought was so strong and almost unattainable, was no longer. The relationship she explained was a familiar experience; this relationship that I thought was so high and mighty was no longer out of reach. This relationship was suddenly a common level of familiarity with me.
As I listened to my friend convey her personal emotions, thoughts and frustrations with me, I sat back in a bit of awe and understanding. Perhaps, for a moment I felt as though my relationship I had with my significant other was not far off from this relationship I admired and looked up to. What she was saying had flashbacks to my personal experience. Her concerns were ones of my very own.
What exactly am I getting at here? I’m realizing that throughout the years I struggled to find acceptance in my own relationship with my significant other because I wanted to do what worked for others. I was too caught up in looking at other relationships for guidance and example that I was no longer realizing the similarities or appreciating my relationship for what it was: what works for us. And, like the usual reoccurrence, no person or thing is perfect.
What works for one may not work for another
It’s great to look to friends for inspiration, motivation and example. But you must remember that no two relationships are the same. What works for one relationship, may not work for another. As much as you may want to be “on the same page” with friends, it’s ok not to be. The beauty of it is that you’re gaining multiple experiences at multiple times, which in turn will be beneficial for you in the long run. Perhaps you’re on a different page, but when a friend lands on that page, the familiarity will be there and the roles will be switched – your relationship is one that they can look to and learn from.