“Flake!” I mocked, at one of my friends (as she laughed at me, knowing my hang-up). “You’re being a damned flake! You’re quitting on this when you said you’d do it!”
In fact she had a great reason, and these days most of my friends are my friends as they are solid; their word is their bond, and they don’t leave me in the lurch arbitrarily. It’s taken a while to have these people in my life though, and there was a time when I didn’t feel I could expect anything of, or rely on anyone…
So to explain my hang-up, the thing I was struggling with around this time last year as I thought about what had to change in the New Year ahead; Inconsistency…Flakiness.
One of the things which bugs me in people is deviation and being fickle. One minute they're bought into this, then they're trashing it. They're coming to your party and then they're not. They're a Buddhist and then suddenly they're not. They've got a wheat allergy and can't eat anything you're offering, and then next month, they’re chowing down on the baguettes and pasta as it was all too hard. They are going to lose 30 pounds, then they’ve quit and are eating all the Christmas chocolate...
Now before I go on further, there is a difference between inconstancy and dishonesty to be recognized, and this can be a rather blurred line. Inconstancy is changeability and even fancifulness. Dishonesty (with yourself or others) is agreeing to something which you know you are not going to go through with or are not entirely committed to.
Regardless of what I say in this article, my patience with dishonesty in others or myself is thin; I understand it, but believe we all have the duty to manage it as it is damaging to all concerned.
Getting back to inconstancy, one of my irritations is that I myself am one of the most inconstant people I know; I am into something, all-guns-blazing, and have read all about it and paid for courses, and then suddenly it leads me to something even better and I am off in another direction. I commit to this and commit to that, I make impassioned arguments for it, but then the fire goes out and I feel I have learnt all that fascinates me about it.
This makes me sound horribly contrary, particularly to me, being a person who until recently loathed this sort of divergence. But in looking back at all the interests I have had and things I have done over the last 5 years, it is the truth that things and people are transient in my life. As I attacked myself I realized I had to stop and acknowledge all these things contributed to my continuing evolution, into what I trust is a better person. Looking back I can take positivity and unquestionable gifts and direction from each phase; each group, philosophy, hobby, relationship. They all serve me.
People change constantly, some faster than others or in more noticeable ways. We all change, and if you're not changing, you're not growing, and if you’re not trying things, you're not pushing your boundaries, which slows your growth. Sometimes growth is rapid and other times it can feel like you're standing still.
There was a time that I felt guilty if I changed my mind about something; a hobby or a spiritual direction. At the time it seemed perfect, like it would be the basis of all life going forward…but with many of these things it was not the case. My initially unbending commitment would waver, sometimes within a short time, and I would feel that I looked weak, capricious; one of those revoltingly fanciful people I so scoffed at. However, what it was, was a stepping stone, setting me on a new path as part of my life journey. Something new would speak even louder to me, pulling me organically to the next thing.
Certainly as I have pondered relationships I have wondered if in fact nothing is ‘forever’. People I have obsessively fixated on (not to mention the jobs or philosophies which have so absorbed me) are now consigned to the past. They have all been learning experiences. Don’t forget also that while you are there (in your relationship, friendship, hobby, community) you are lending your unique skills and energy to that which you are focused upon – an energetic gift which serves all.
Sometimes we meet people who seem so solid, constant and reliable. I have felt put to shame by these sorts of people in the past, but then have reminded myself that I am looking at a tiny section of their life from the outside. They may be shifting in other ways, or maybe they are simply slower in their growth at the time. On the other hand, perhaps they would benefit from a move or change, and their ego is keeping them there. In this case, they may be scared of change and loss of security (so many of us have battled with this feeling)…
Allowing one’s ego to frighten one into not allowing change, shying away and telling oneself that others will judge, places the ego in charge, which is a sure fire way to stump growth and evolution. You can trust the voice of the ego to come from a defensive view; a position of fear and resistance, in its efforts to protect the status quo.
Whatever the answer, the life journey is so individual and complex, the only answer can be to focus on oneself and accept others, releasing judgement. Change should be expected; it’s all part of growth.
A side effect of this new philosophy and acceptance (of myself and others) has miraculously brought about a circle of people who I love for themselves, and are true to their words (those I think of as emotionally honest). Those I can’t rely on are at the periphery, where their unpredictability is no issue to me.
And my cantankerous irritation surrounding ‘flakiness’, has been quelled…mostly…
Just don’t bail on my party at the last minute...
Happy New Year!