What do your agreements with others allow you to have, do, and become?
Did you ever share a deep secret longing with someone who judged you for wanting the very thing you wanted?
You couldn’t wait to share this new idea with your friend, and expected that she would listen to you happily and embrace your new vision for your life.
You thought she’d be excited for you when you told her you’d decided to travel the world, or become an astronaut, or make a living doing your art.
You’d expected that your friend would embrace and support your dream, as you would embrace hers. That’s what being a good friend is about, right?
Except that she couldn’t or wouldn’t, and went so far as to try to make you wrong for having the audacity to even want what you wanted.
It could be that she was afraid. Perhaps she wanted that same thing, she had the same dream to make a living as an artist, but, she tells you helpfully, “It’s not realistic, everyone knows that nobody makes money as an artist.”
Except of course for that tiny percentage of very talented lucky people, which, she goes on to assure you, you aren’t. She doesn’t want you to get hurt by having your heart set on something that you can’t possibly do, so she’s helping you see reality.
‘Everyone knows’ is a big fat lie. It’s also an unconscious agreement.
How easy will it be for you to share your successes in your art career with this person? How much will she be able to hear when you tell her how you are creating a career as an artist and getting paid? How safe do you feel to tell her your other deepest wishes and desires?
Especially if you’d been friends for a long time and trusted this person, it’s painful to realize that she couldn’t hear you when you told her something so deeply important to you. You trusted that you could share your soul with this friend, and she let you down.
Suddenly there’s a rift between the two of you.
You realize that maybe she’s not as great a friend for you as you’d thought. You stop telling her anything that has deep personal meaning for you, anything that you’re protecting. You no longer trust her with your secrets and dreams; she feels like a stranger to you now, an acquaintance instead of a soul sister. It’s sad, but you’ve outgrown the friendship as it was, and you know it’s over.
As soon as you decide to change how you relate to her, the spiritual agreement between the two of you changes.
Maybe the old agreement demanded that you both believe or have the same things, and you are no longer in agreement with this limitation.
Perhaps your friend had her heart set on the two of you being matched in terms of what you did in your lives, and your big vision for yourself threatens or scares her. Maybe she’s jealous of your new friends and interests, and doesn’t know how to relate to you anymore.
She might take it personally that you’ve stepped away from something the two of you used to agree to, but you realize that in order to create your life to be the way you want it to be, you have to be your own person.
This means that you might choose to step away from anyone who can’t have you being you, who can’t have you growing or changing. Whatever the reason, you’ve come to the place where the agreement changes forever. You feel that you need to step away from the relationships that don’t allow you to live your true life.
How can you do this gracefully?
Why not begin with gratitude and forgiveness for your friend? As much as you might feel judged by her, you may be judging her too. You might be angry because she isn’t ready to grow and change and you are. Or you might not be able to see that she is in fact on her own path, and needs to do it the way she’s doing it.
The two of you helped each other get to this point, and there’s nothing wrong. Yes, feelings may be hurt, and things might have been said that you regret, but the truth for you is that you decided to follow your path.
When you feel pressured by anyone who insists that you are living your life incorrectly, anyone threatened by your desire to explore the world, to ask questions and discover, you’ll know where the agreements and relationships are that you may want to examine, and to consciously reset.
As for me personally, every time I transformed myself, I ran into agreements that were too tight and small for me.
I became conscious of agreements that didn’t want me to grow and expand. Every time I changed careers, relationships, and interests, I found new friends and stepped away from others.
I was often surprised by the judgments and anger of others when I changed, but I can see now that they were afraid I’d leave them behind, or no longer have time for them. Sometimes they were right about that, but it wasn’t about them, it was about me living my life.
I am grateful to every one of the people I’ve known in my life, whether we are still in each other’s lives or not. Each of you has helped me become who I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing.
'Self Portrait' by Judith Leyster