Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In Direct

I'm learning something new. Well, actually it's old - but it's new to me.

I'm learning how to cope with being hurt by someone - whether inadvertently (which is usually the case) or on purpose.

I've always known THAT I was not supposed to go blabbing my stuff to other people and participate in the most common church activity there seems to be: backbiting, gossiping, and spreading discord. 

Yet it seemed to be the only way for me to get the message out without actually confronting someone - something I dreaded, so I just didn't do it. I didn't know how, and I didn't care to know either. After all, it would mean that I would have to change. And I didn't want to change; they were the ones who were supposed to change, not me. 

And people got hurt; their reputations got hurt. 

And I stayed hurt, too. Nothing got resolved; as a matter of fact, it usually got worse over time as I built my imaginary castle of perceived slights, false assumptions and expectations of being hurt further, and I thickened the walls with other people's opinions, people who already had axes to grind.

I raised the passive-aggressive approach to an art form. All that did was isolate me and attract more of the same sort of treatment - this time for real.

Learning how to put my head down, brace myself, burrow in and go directly to someone instead of to everyone but that person - that was hard. It was hard because I was ... terrified

Two friends spending happiest time together - courtesy of
imagerymajestic at
Even after I'd learned to be honest with myself about how I was feeling, even after I had learned to set boundaries for myself with others, and was even starting to set boundaries around myself in some situations, the direct approach was something at which I quailed. I ran from it at every opportunity. 

Until I couldn't anymore. 

Until I didn't have the luxury of talking trash about someone because I really, truly liked - even loved - that person, and I didn't want to run away anymore. Not from my friend. Keeping the relationship alive was more important to me than my fear. 

But I wanted to be honest too. If my perceptions were correct, we needed to work things out. And if they weren't - I needed to know instead of assuming wrong things about my friend. 

So ... I wrote an email.

Hey - I write. I'm a big believer in the backspace key - and I was afraid of spilling out words I could never un-say. 

So anyway, I wrote - told my friend how I felt, how I was hurting - and left the door open for a response.

And the response came, tempered with gentleness. As I had hoped, my perceptions were wrong, based on my own feelings of inadequacy, and the door to restoration had been opened. Before the end of the day, we worked out our differences. 

Love won over fear. 

And nothing awful happened. Huh.

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