Posts Tagged With: people

Broken Walls


I read a quote once that went something like, “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” That was ringing in my thoughts after a conversation I had with my brilliantly insightful wife about friends a while back. See, for a long time I couldn’t say that I had very many close friends. That’s not to say that I didn’t have people that I cared deeply about. But aside from my wife and parents, there were maybe 2 other people on this earth that I felt I could trust implicitly.

The more I thought about it, the more it made me wonder if perhaps I had created walls that I was silently hoping people would care enough to break down. Was I baiting people? Were my friendships going to be based on some arbitrary display of perseverance? Would I take the fact that people hadn’t yet attempted to circumvent my relationship walls to mean they don’t really care about me? And then, in the absurdity of it all, turn around and feel as if this would allow me to not care either and so cast them aside? fist-break-through-wall

Heaven forbid…

It’s not that I thought people were disposable. But I could very well have pushed them away unintentionally with these walls of my own invention. The design of which is really not very fair. I mean, what kind of deep relationship could I really expect to gain if I made someone jump through hoops that THEY may or may not even realize exist?

I had to do some soul searching to figure out what this was really about.

It became clear that it was partly/mostly my own fault. There were people with whom I believed I could have a really close relationship. Some of them had actually pursued me. But I hadn’t reciprocated much if at all. Was it because I was a horrible person? I don’t think so. Instead, I’d convinced myself that it’s an issue of time. With all of the chaos that I’d been dealing with at any given moment, I told myself that I didn’t have the time to dedicate to the cultivation of a deep friendship with someone else. At one point I actually said to someone, “I really enjoy hanging out and talking with you, but I can’t give you the kind of things you want from this relationship and I don’t want you to constantly be disappointed when I don’t come through.” Unfortunately, this went against my own belief that you will make time for those things (and people) that are important to you. My wife called that a cop out.

So where did I go off track?

I think it was simply a defense mechanism. After being wounded in past relationships, I hadn’t really allowed an opportunity for anyone get close to me. I mean, not REALLY close. Yeah, I could share interests and show compassion and provide encouragement to others. But that was all about giving and nothing about receiving. Few people knew the details of the things that I struggled against on a daily basis. Heck, my blog audience probably knew (and still knows) more about the intimate details of my life than people offline. I believe it was an underlying fear of rejection. The less I put myself out there, the less chance I had of getting hurt. But I couldn’t live my life in fear of potential pain inflicted by others.

After that talk with my wife, I found myself lamenting the lack of deep friendships. It was then that I decided that I needed to pursue people.

Slowly. Just 1 or 2 in the beginning. But it was a start.

I’m curious if I am alone in this…

Does anyone else struggle with developing close friendships? I mean, the real friendships. Not superficial, mere acquaintances or people who want to be more but you’ve friend zoned them. I’m talking Best Friends. People you’d protect with your very life if necessary. Is that a challenge for anyone else?

Because in spite of the obstacles I’ve created in the past, I genuinely want those kind of people in my future.

Broken walls and all.

break-wall

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Categories: personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Struggle With Hugs


I’ll just come out and say it… I’m weird. Awkward. Maybe at times even a bit uncomfortable. To some, this isn’t news. Or maybe it is. Whatever the case may be, I’m confessing my struggle with hugging.
Hugs, you say?

Yes, hugs. Let me explain…

I love hugs. I do. I think they are perfect for expressing affection for those you love, appreciation for people who’ve done something wonderful for you, and even as a greeting for those you haven’t seen in quite a while.

The problem is that I’m painfully inconsistent. I may hug you on one day and not hug you the next. It has nothing to do with how I feel about you. I think it has more to do with over thinking the process. What I mean is this… I grew up thinking that guys don’t hug. For any reason.

Did you brake your leg? Head nod with a grunt.

Did you just have a fight with your girlfriend? Shake head while saying, “Dude.”

Did you just accomplish some major goal? Punch to the shoulder with a smile.

Now, with the exception of the common one-armed back pat with hands clasped between you, most guys I know don’t hug. So it’s not something I made a habit of doing. But this threw me WAY off later in life.

When I was younger, I had no problem hugging girls I dated or even my mom. My dad, on the other hand, was never a big hugger. Even now I think it surprises him when someone moves in for an embrace. But that’s not to say that my dad isn’t affectionate. We actually hug more now that I’m older.

Neverthless, with most friends and relatives, I probably confuse the heck out of them. Sometimes I’ll immediately go in for a hug. Other times I’ll wait for them to make the first move. And still at other times, there will be this awkward moment where neither one of us is certain if the other will offer a hug, so we’ll do this weird wobbling until we either hug or one of us moves away to end the stalemate.

I don’t know what causes me to do this. It’s not intentional. But I fear I’ve gotten to the point where my inconsistency is to be expected, and to all of a sudden start hugging people regularly would make things even more weird… or awkward… or confusing.

Who knows?

All I can say is, if you see me, give me a hug. I will never refuse them.

Categories: personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Casualties Of Time


As a society it seems as if we value just about everything as it ages. Things like…

Wine: (Paul Masson “We will sell no wine before its time“) There seems to be a general belief that when it comes to wine, older is definitely better. People have paid out extraordinary amounts of money to own rare and highly sought after spirits.

And houses: Although most houses fall into the “decrepit” category after 100 years (or less in some cases), there are still many houses (even older) that are considered “vintage” and sell for a premium, especially American Craftsman Style homes if they have all or most of their original “built ins” or have been designated historical landmarks.

And of course, baseball cards: The most expensive baseball card in the world right now is one from 1909 that was sold for a staggering $2.8 million!

Now, while I certainly think all of these aged-collectable are nice, the most notable and surprising exception to inclusion in this time-established ranking of seniority… is people.

It’s really sad to me that as people get older, instead of treating them with respect and dignity, many of them are treated like a nuisance. An inconvenience at best. We cast our elderly aside like yesterdays newspaper. Maybe good for recycling, but more likely to be used as lining in bird cages. Where is the honor many of the aged among us so rightfully deserve? When did we become so careless with our ancestry?

I’ve purposed to simply record conversation with my older relatives, especially my parents. I sit and ask questions about a bygone era that shaped the people they eventually became. People who fell in love, got married and gave me life. I realized a long time ago that there is so much to be learned from their lifetime of experiences. I learn about our country’s history from a first-hand accounting of events. I learn about the transformation of what constituted entertainment. And I learn about our community both large and small, as well as its victories and its defeats.

So just remember, by the grace of God, we’ll all get old eventually. Make the time to give your elders the time and attention they deserve. Because the hearts of this extraordinary population, and the wisdom-laden information they provide are in a word… priceless.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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