But the people I know? That's way harder. If there is any way to explain it, I would say that meeting strangers and talking with them is like buying cut flowers, and having ongoing relationships with people that reveal myself over and over at deeper and deeper levels, that's like planting the seeds in the earth and tending to the plants consistently.
I think that might be why I prefer strangers. The work that I do on myself is not as threatening, and the depth to which I can go, well, its just not as deep. It is not that I don't have long-lasting relationships, I do, more than I can count, honestly, but these relationships require a presence and an availability that strangers do not, by definition, require.
Just recently I had a conflict with a friend of mine who suddenly saw me as less than perfect. I mean, I had no idea that she saw me that way, so it was quite a shock to me when she told me, but I had let her down, and it was such a blow to her idea of me that it struck at the foundation of her trust in me.
This is where it gets dangerous, because sometimes flowers die. No matter how much love, care, and water you put on those damn things, slugs are real, early freeze happens, and deer get hungry. Shit just dies. So the fear around confrontation is the risk of loss. You risk losing all the work you have put in to the life of a relationship, and sometimes that life is completely out of your hands. And the friends I have? I LOVE them. I really, really don't want to lose them. But at the same time, if we are not honest, if we don't talk about the things that come up, that is another way for the flowers to die.
As the daughter of many therapists, I have been trained over many painful years into confrontational conversations. I now cherish these conversations because I know what lies on the other side of them: life, love, growth, and other amazing things you almost never see coming. I am also aware of what lies on the other side of silence: paralyzing fear, illness, and eventually, death.
NOT talking with people you love about shit that is bothering you almost never ends well. Some people aren't into it. They can't handle hearing how you might see them, or, you might not be into the way that they see you. That's okay. Not every relationship is meant to last, and generally speaking, what other people think of you is none of your business. But, if you want to forge long lasting relationships with people who you can trust with your heart and soul, the work is by far more than worth it.
In closing, I want to thank all of my beloved friends who have asked more of me, knowing I can give it. I want you all to know that I would not be this person if you were not the person you are, and I will be forever grateful.
How about you, dear reader? You got friends who expect more of you? Who risk by being honest? Those people are GOLD. You might wanna give them a shout-out. They will really appreciate it.