Monday, February 16, 2009

Relationships, pt.3

Part 2 is here

Insecurity can also be destructive to relationships. As I see it there are two ways that this effects how we relate to others; An inward manifestation and an outward one. Our own self-doubt and feelings of insecurity cause us to put up walls when people start to get to close. We become afraid of exposure, that others will see our faults and imperfections, that they might see us as we truly are and not as we would like them to see us. It may be a fear that once they see us for who we really are, they won't like what they see, or we won't be good enough anymore. We also fear rejection from others. Both of these fears tend to cause us to keep people at a distance, keep them from getting too close. This is a way of protecting ourselves from being hurt. It also keeps relationships from becoming truly deep and meaningful, they remain shallow and easily discarded. Other people may sense this, may even run right into your wall, but it is a passive defense.

The outward, aggressive manifestation of some of these same feelings is jealousy. This is one of my failings and as such, I don't feel comfortable writing too much about it. A small amount shows how much you care, any more than that reveals a lack of trust, even when it's all about your own fears it still looks like you are impuning your partners integrity, motives, sincerity...

If you are not building deep relationships how do you expect to reach others?

Trust and love combat this destroyer, and build relationships. Without trust no relationships can exist, and that begins with trust in God, Psa 31:14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." You have to be willing to trust God with your life, trust that he is in control, and trust that he will guide you through any difficulties. Without this trust any attempts to form relationships with others are going to be less than satisfactory. Trusting God should be pretty easy, right? Not always, I know. The next is trusting each other, and that is far more difficult. Trust can take years to build up between two people, to some extent is has to be earned, but it can also be given. Soldiers and some law enforcement build trust between each other in hours or days in some situations. How do they do it? Lots of opportunities for each to rely on another and to stand up to the challenge for another. You can emulate this to some extent in your own life by looking for and making the most of opportunities that arise. Even if you tend to be a bit cynical like me, try giving someone the opportunity to fail. Show them you trust them (even if you don't), give them the freedom and see what they do. If they fail, you are no worse off than if you never tried to trust them. On the other hand, if they do succeed, you will have gained trust in them. Nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Trust has many levels and much intricacy, too many fine shades to be fully explained here. But, at some point you will have enough trust in someone that you should be able to love them. Love, a four letter word, simple and direct, yet a single word cannot come close to describing all of the variations of the concept. One is forced to use other languages to say what one really means. Agape, Eros, Phila, Storge... Greek works well for this. Whether it's love of friends, family, christian brothers(sisters), or romantic love it has the same effect on insecurity. You cannot love someone and keep them out of your life, you can't withhold yourself from them. It's a mutual interaction that requires both parties. It takes work and must be looked at regularly, and even talked about sometimes. A few words can dispel months of misunderstanding.

Building relationships like this is what we are meant to do, called to do actually. Once they are built they have to be maintained from time to time as well.

Part 4(final) is here

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