What Do I Have To Offer?

Wednesday 7 November, 2001

Kuldip arrived and the three of us sat together for a supervision session. Karaj impressed upon me the difference between him and me: he does things his way and he is always trying to predict what may happen and what the consequences will be of any incident. I do not predict and I do not plan, and that is the reason why I will not get well. I need to plan my recovery. I need to plan my life. And I need to predict what will happen as a consequence of those plans.

It is vital that I begin to plan my life and to predict what will happen. I talked about the difficulty I am having planning anything other than an exercise schedule for my rehabilitation. Karaj interjected that already I am complicating the issue and that all I need is a simple time frame. He told me that I will not be fully fit for another two years and that all I need to do is to have that period in my head and internalise it so that I don’t end up trying to rush back to health, putting pressure on myself and thereby becoming demoralised and disillusioned because things aren’t happening as quickly as I want them to.

It is the same with my career and all other aspects of my life. I need to ask myself where I want to be in ten years time and then give myself ten years to get there. If, as Karaj said, I am living only for today (note: this has a different meaning to living in the present), then in ten years time I will not have progressed an inch and will end up a bitter man, blaming everything but myself. Just like my father.

I Am Unique

This took us onto the next aspect of the discussion. There is no point in comparing myself with anybody else. I am unique, and as such cannot expect anybody else to help me with my life. I need to take responsibility for my life and I need to take myself where I want to go; nobody is going to do it for me. We talked about the illusion of comparison, on the grounds that my friends are normal and I am not. This conclusion is based on the fact that I have yet to make a success of my life, whereas my friends are doing just that. Therefore, any comparison is futile.

Had I stayed at the bank I would be living a ‘normal’ life and would have all the normal problems my friends have, but as Karaj said I am too lazy. Francis helped him to this verdict when he said that it was nice to see me do some work for a change. Karaj went on to say that I do not see my laziness as a positive. It is a skill which should be fully harnessed and put to good use to help me create my goals.

Being Tolerated

Karaj told me that because I differ from my friends, they tolerate me. They are friends with me because I entertain them in some way or because I offer them the chance to show me, who has nothing, just how much they themselves have – house, car, wife, children, money. He told me that when it comes down to spending time with me, their wives and families will take priority unless I have something extraordinary to offer. Exactly that happened recently when Ed and Peter decided not to visit for the weekend, in favour of spending the time with their loved ones.

I have to be able to contribute something to my friends, otherwise, why would they be interested in my company. Karaj said that people come to him because he makes an invaluable contribution to their lives – he has something to offer which they cannot receive anywhere else. That is what I have to aim for if I wish for these friendships to continue.

Hearing Karaj say all this to me left me with two feelings. At first there was a slight sadness brought on by the mild shock of hearing that my friends tolerate me, and the friendships which I thought would last forever will be gone within five years – and are already waning as a result of the differences between us. However, the dominant feeling was one of release and liberation. Without my friends I am alone, and being alone I have no choice but to live my life for myself and take responsibility for my own existence, destiny and contribution to others.

My thoughts turned to the view my friends have of me, based on my attitude and behaviour since we first met. As far as they are concerned I am against wealth, marriage, kids and religion and I have negative, pessimistic viewpoints about society and the world. My attitude has changed over the last two years but my friends have had little exposure to that, so as they move forward in life, earning more money, settling down and starting families, is it any wonder that they don’t wish to share their joy with someone who they see as being unable to appreciate it?

Remember My Vision

In the early evening I felt a gloom descend on me. Unable to put my finger on it I asked Kuldip how he felt. He began to go deep into his own thoughts, as he is prone to do, so I told him not to think about it just tell me. ‘Lost’ was his response and that was just how I felt. I suggested we sit together and as we talked our moods lifted and we both felt much better. We had verbalised our issues and helped each other.

We talked about what Karaj had said about my friends. Kuldip reminded me that I should celebrate my uniqueness because that is what defines the contribution I can make to others, and with my unique contribution I can forge relationships. He went on to say that not only will I contribute to my friends but also to other people, in this country and in Germany, as I realise my vision. Moreover, they will be people like me who can benefit from my contribution because they want to change their lives. He added that I am already contributing to people. I acknowledged this but I am yet to own it fully. So own it.

A Fine Example

At home there was a message from Alex. I phoned him back. It was the first time we had spoken in seven months. My initial thought was that Karaj had been wrong about my friends isolating themselves because I have nothing to offer them, because here was a friend contacting me on the very day we’d had the discussion. However, after I put the phone down I began to realise that Karaj was right.

Alex had indeed had a health scare of some sort but, by his own admission, he was still smoking and drinking. This is not the sort of attitude I wish to be associated with while I am trying to get well. After the call I started to wonder what Alex can offer me. He is a wonderful man with a great sense of humour and when we get together we always have a good laugh. However, it is a common complaint of mine that he never listens to me and is too interested in himself to hear me. The fact that he does this in such a humorous way means that he gets away with it most of the time, but at the end of the day, what does he actually offer me?

So having listened to Karaj tell me today that unless I can offer my friends something special they will not be interested, I am being shown just what that means with a phone call from one of my ‘best’ friends. As I write there is a sense of betrayal about what I have written about Alex (MF). The truth is, I really need people around me who are going to contribute to my life, who will support me and whose influence will help me to realise my dreams.


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