Must We Bend Just Because We Can?

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken. ~Albert Camus

We claim to be flexible. We generally go with the flow. We try not to be judgmental. Our hearts are open. We love. We hurt. We forgive. We accept. Well, most of the time. And when we can’t we beat ourselves up about it.

We consider ourselves to be trees when it comes to bending. We sometimes bend willingly and other times when forced. We’re strong enough we can bend fairly far and bounce back without snapping off. However, not all of us can twist and turn in the air…we are not contortionists. We still have roots. We are bound by those roots.

There are times in life we establish relationships purely for the sake of others. We take others in because we love the same people they love. We become “products” of the relationship. Sometimes those relationships end due to miles of separation, divorce, or even death. Sometimes those relationships continue because we’ve grown to love and trust those newcomers in our lives.

We have the power to cut relationships off, let them wane on their own, or we can choose to nurture its continuance. There are times we feel we have bent as far as we can without snapping. Our hearts need to know how far the other person is willing to bend.

Then there are those times we feel betrayed when we find the friendship is based on falsehoods. We know connections based on a sea of deceit can not swim nor even float. We realize it is a vast whirlpool waiting to drown all who venture too close. We slip into another grieving process of denial and anger, enough to make us refuse to bend anymore. Maybe we’re stubborn. Maybe we’re prideful. Maybe, our devotion sides with our roots.

Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose direction and begin to bend.  ~Walter Savage Landor

*Note: I purposely included contradictory first and last quotes on bending as relationships can be just that at times, inconsistent and conflicting.

57 thoughts on “Must We Bend Just Because We Can?

  1. There are some things where bending is mutually advantageous cooperation. But some things must never be bent like integrity. Not bending on this is not stubborn or prideful. It’s about character and who we are and strive to be.

  2. Hello Suzicate, this is so beautiful and so true, I especially like that you liken us to a tree, which is so very true, we grow and bend and bloom and make roots, like a tree and we adapt to our conditions, relationships and nutrition we get from the soil. We are as rich and as strong as what feeds us. Thank you Suzicate.

  3. today i am wishing that people would bend… i had a conversation with my closest friend this morning. we both want to achieve something together, but neither of us want to give in. unless one of us bends, its just going to break apart.

  4. I think you have to bend in important relationships as long as the other side does to but as I’ve got odler I’ve realised sometimes you need to snap a connection when it’s become one sided and concentrate on the trees that really matter to you and nuture them.

  5. Pingback: Must We Bend Just Because We Can? (via The Water Witch’s Daughter) | Change is Never Ending

  6. Like most things in life, there is a fragile balance that is needed when it comes to bending in relationships. Both need to bend towards each other for a relationship to succeed. If only one is bending, they will break. The willingness to bend shows that a relationship is important and is the only way it can survive.
    There is also a balance in how far to bend … if you are bending beyond your principals, you will also break. The need to keep all of these things in balance is so important and why I love the fact that you included both sides with your quotes. That was an excellent idea.

  7. This was very interesting. Loved the quote at the beginning! The post made me think of not only my own life, but several different friends I know who are continually “bending” for others. They are definitely more flexible than I am…

  8. Awesome post, Suzi!

    And I have to chime in with Josh and say that this post made me think of not only my own life, but several other people I know. Like my mother. She is always bending (and not only for others), but also to whatever life hands her. I truly admire that

    Have a wonderful day, my friend!


    • There are some truly remarkable people like your mother who are just good hearted and receive from giving to others. I suppose the key is for us not to be takers, but more than that to be honest in relationships.

    • It absolutely is…I knew you’d be the only one to read between the lines. (Really no one else would know the details but those also involved in the relationship) Authenticity is the key. Love to you, sister!

  9. Have you ever read the book “The Giving Tree”? That book, which so many seem to love so much always upset me. Bending to the point of becoming a stump and losing the self….surely this is not the message I want to send to my children.

    But, on some readings of that book, I am enamored by the generosity and desire for connection that the tree has for the boy.

    Yes, both. Both is the answer so often in life.

    The problem arises when I don’t know which is my time to bend and which is my time to remain straight.

    Love to you.

  10. Interesting thoughts, Suzicate. The older we get, the more people we leave behind, many because of distance (physical or emotional). I don’t suppose we are able to keep ALL the friendships and relationships we’ve come across, or we wouldn’t have time to develop new ones. Perhaps we just need to realize it’s a matter of balance — keeping some of the old, making some new.

  11. The better I understand myself, the less willing I am to conform to the will of others.

    Take me . . . or leave me. 😀

    In that sense, the bottom quote resonates:

    Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose direction and begin to bend. ~Walter Savage Landor

    However, as I’ve grown . . . I’ve become more accepting of the “what is.” More willing to let others be who they are.

    Beautiful post, Suzi.

  12. I am sorry you are going through this. It is unfortunate when a trusted friend pushes you to the point of questioning the relationship. It can happen many ways, but when the general feeling is betrayal actually bringing up feelings of grief and anger than that is the worst.

    You seem pretty tolerant so whatever happened must have cut you deep.

    Hugs to you!

  13. There is so much truth in your words, SuziCate. One thing I have begun to notice lately is that I seem to be outgrowing a few of the friendships I’ve had for many years while at the same time gaining new ones. It reminds me that we are continually changing and that includes who we need and want in our lives. Much to think about,

    • I love when I find contradictory statements because Iife is a contradiction at times, at least I know I am, some call it wishy-washy while I say it all depends on circumstances…

  14. Each of our relationships bring something into our life – maybe it’s just so that we can learn something new. People are in our lives for a reason, a season or forever. We just have to determine which is which.

  15. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never get bent out of shape. A motto I try hard to aspire to! I love how you take nature and apply it to life’s struggles.

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