More importantly, another change is in our relationships with family, friends and attitudes as we progress through our stages of development and growth. Some of our lofty ideals we had when we were young were formulated and many times were compromised as we entered into a more mature adulthood. Values that were instilled seldom change very much as our conscience dictates we still maintain the basic right from wrong. We see things as they really are and either we try to change what we can or we choose to ignore what is too much of an effort.
The level of tolerance seems to become an issue when dealing with situations that we encounter. I know, when it comes to family and friends, we tend to overlook our differences to live harmoniously with each other. There are times when that can become difficult and trying. But, for the sake of unity, we comply. It is often the matter of who gives in, relents and again there is peace. There are times when the situation is volatile and disagreements ensue. It is the history we share that sometimes determines the course of action or inaction.
There is a co-existence that prevails as the dependence on the relationship is determined by the needs of the individuals. We depend on the support and the validation of the people who are meaningful in our lives. Sometimes the situation calls for an examination of our position with regard to this relationship.
Husbands and wives fall out of love, disagree on many levels, and their marriage ends in separation and divorce. Sisters and brothers can also go through similar trials, but in this case, the options are narrow. They can choose to agree to disagree, avoid contact or tolerate the differences, but there is no divorce. Friends also have the same options. It is when the relationship becomes toxic and is no longer viable that decisions have to be made. When the relationship becomes harmful to the well being of either party, one or the other suffers, and time for difficult measures surely have to be made.
Today more than ever before, relationships have had an increase of strain and disharmony in the world around us. The stress experienced in our daily lives seems to pull us apart instead of bringing us closer. The lack of support, compassion and tolerance seems to take a toll in the relationships that are most important in our lives.
How can we remedy this painful situation? There is always better communication between people that can be utilized. Tell each other how we feel when we are hurt by some behavior or unkind words or actions. Be patient, compassionate and listen to each other can be helpful. There is always some effort that can be made to improve our relationships. It depends on the people and how much they care. When all is said and done if a relationship cannot be salvaged then wish each other well and part without rancor. We have all had similar experiences in our time.
Linda Alessi, of Lebanon, is a regular contributing columnist for The Democrat. She writes about life in the golden years.