All of these things brought about quality changes in my relationships, from the closest to the most distant. Acquaintances behaved as I would have expected from intimate friends. Neighborliness turned into warm relationship. And as others changed, I, too, changed – their different behavior stirred new feelings in me: I experienced what being cared for meant; people were there for Eric and me.
There’s something else that has changed in me, and that’s my attitude regarding other people’s past or present conduct toward me – my views have experienced a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn. I look at my feelings years ago, and they seem petty and self-centered, and I react in a completely different way. Because of this turn, I think of my injury as a watershed; I jokingly refer to my life history as “before March 23rd, 2018” and “after March 23rd, 2018.” I start reacting as my old self used to react, but I immediately tap myself on the shoulder.
I had distanced myself from an old, close friend because I’d decided, somewhat pettily, that she was behaving unfairly toward me. But since I’d inadvertently kept her as my WhatsApp contact, I sent her a happy birthday voice message. I got a very warm reply right away. In it, she expressed her affection and care for me. This reconnection brought the past back. I recalled my anger, but I also recalled the good times we’d had and our fondness for each other. And I wondered why I’d gotten mad and had decided to stop being in touch. I told myself that no matter my ambivalence toward her, I had no reason for keeping my distance.
There are many examples like this: many friends I illogically criticized, and many I lost solely because I (unreasonably) made the decision to part from them. My injury has caused a lot of damage, but it has also given me a lot of things, among them, a different perspective from where to look at things, a different perspective from where to look at myself. So, while I have reasons to be upset about it, I also have reasons to be grateful (although sometimes I have to remind myself of these).