Years ago, one of my friends was struggling with a chronic illness. The girl was in bad shape, practically eating pain pills for breakfast just to make it through the day. After a few years of living with her illness, she was adjusting — as much as you can when you’re hurting. Her pain meds were managed well. She had gone through some counseling which had really helped her and she finally seemed to be getting her life back. She was moving on, even smiling more. She'd fought a hard fight and I admired her so much. After watching her suffer so, I was super grateful and excited to reunite with her and a bunch of our girlfriends — I was looking forward to being with her in her new normal. But, within a few hours together in the hotel, I realized one thing standing out as an old normal. And it wasn't a good normal ... it was damaging.
Even when she was well, my friend had been a fault finder. If she studied a masterpiece, she'd see the dust on the frame before noticing the expert play of light and shadow. She was the first to point out if something was off, could be better, or wasn't up to her standard.
To be honest, I really thought that after three years of a life-altering illness that took her to the bottom of herself, her new normal would reveal a woman who was a little softer, more empathetic, and less critical. I was wrong.
We had met at a reunion of girlfriends and the weekend had been fabulous. Everyone had been so warm and kind, so you can imagine my surprise later when she described them to me as shallow. Weren’t we at the same place — with the same people? She was so critical and negative.
Our time together with friends had been glorious, but she saw no glory. Only fault.