Well I can recall two very distinct times when I really needed help and was depending on another person for that help only to not receive it. In both instances, I was angered and hurt vowing never to be put in this position again. My stance may seem harsh but in both instances, I learned a valuable lesson.
Lesson One, Always save for a rainy day! As an events person, having a plan without a backup plan can be the death sentence to success. The same is true with depending on the financial support of someone else even under desperate circumstances. Being married, I depend on my husband for his financial support that helps our family succeed in life. I plan for that support AND I plan for the loss of that support. Living life wearing rose colored glasses is not fair to either party because it leaves no room for pop ups or the unexpected, i.e.: it leaves little room for life! I think the lack of any plan other than the one in your face is the root cause of many financial disagreements in marriages, families, and even in business. Don’t get me wrong. I can’t plan for every possible pop up or unexpected occurrence but having the ability to think “big picture” has helped me deal with life’s mishaps with less stress because at the very least I was not blind-sided by change. As a former boss used to say – “you should be like a willow tree” – able to sway with the breeze, bend and not break.
The Second Lesson I’ve learned is that while I plan for change, others don’t adapt as easily and I should first be considerate of that and second, resolve to accept that everyone cannot be depended on to do what they say they will do when the original plan changes. If you pay attention, the way folks react to change reveals a lot about their ability to plan and adaptability to change. By taking the time to evaluate the situation from their perspective, you will ultimately see whether or not you should depend on that person for support in the future.
During a recent interaction with change and dependency on another person, I learned that someone I thought was in my corner really isn’t. This doesn’t mean they are not a good person. It just means that for critical matters, I should not involve them in the plan because if the plan changes, they may not step up and change too. In this case, my initial reaction was anger and I lashed out resulting in the potential loss of a long-term friend. Now that I’ve calmed down, I see that the situation did not warrant my actions. I now see that I was angry because this person did not adapt to change as I would have. Silly me! Expecting someone to honor a commitment regardless of how that commitment has changed is likely unfair but when the dust settled, I now know that not everyone can be tops on the list of dependent friends. Sometimes they are #2 or #3 and that’s ok. I just need to be ok with that and accept them for who they are and not for who I thought they were from my perspective.
So as life continues to change and my perspective changes, so does my view of how to interrogate others into my life and where to set limitations based on their ability to react to change. I can’t force anyone to act the way I do and make no apology for changing my level of dependency of folks based on their ability to change.