Skip to main content

blogging thru Scary Close [the risk of being careful - chapter 11]



I remember being part of a ministry in college where we were trained to be mediators for our fellow students. We had a wonderful pastor and counselor train us during a weekend retreat each year. Showing us how to listen, how to manage conflict, how to do the hard things of life with our fellow students. Every year he gave us a poem. I have a copy in one of my scrapbooks. It’s about risk.

I haven’t thought about it for a while, but I remember it having a profound effect on me, which is why I’ve kept it all these years. There is so much emotional risk in what we are doing in this life with each other. And because there is risk there is fear.

I spent a lot of time in my thesis exploring fear for the learner and how it creates obstacles to learning. And sometimes even greater obstacles occur in fear-based learning in how the learner uses what they’ve learned. There are many contributing factors for transformational learning to take into account as a teacher – and one of the biggest, in my opinion, was climate. If the tone of the room, the attitude of the professor, the mood of fellow students isn’t safe, fear becomes an obstacle.

When Don was in a weird place with his writing, taking longer and longer to finish each book, a friend told him he was being too careful with his writing. (pg. 142)

Careful.

I find myself repeating this word, letting it roll off my tongue slowly. Letting the sound of those two syllables make its way up to my ears and sink in. Deep.

I’m wondering about being careful.

Finding connection with another human is hard. That’s why we are so careful about it. We are careful who we invite in. This makes sense. Our hearts are precious commodities; they should be handled with care. This hard stuff goes beyond connection, though, and then makes its way to the most painful of all emotions for the perfectionist and overachiever: failure.

This fear… this disequilibrating fear that messes with our head and our heart and hands.

This fear that paralyzes us in the face of expectations and those we love.

This fear that stop us from trying.

This fear of failure makes us be careful.

And being careful hurts.

It might not seem like it as we do all our maneuvering, trying so hard to avoid and side-step the hard stuff that we just can’t deal with because we don’t want others to see our junk and we don’t want to fail others when they are so brave to show us theirs. Being this kind of careful hurts those who want you to stop avoiding and stop being careful and just want you...

to be there. [This is a weird kind of whisper, isn’t it?]

Everyone’s version of being there is different. I have one friend whose idea of being there for me means calling me every morning at 7:50 while I’m putting on my eye makeup and just checks in. (This might be a little much, but I love her for it.) Another friend’s version of being there is to send me stuff in a text that makes me laugh. Another's version of being there is sending me flowers. Another's is to take me to lunch or coffee. None of these are right and none of these are wrong. These are reflections of who they are and how they want to show me how much I mean to them. They are just being the friend they know how to be for someone who needs them.

There is fear that what you have to offer (your version of being there) and this is the fear that it just might not be enough.

The fear of being found lacking is profound. I think this is particularly true for men. The book, The Silence of Adam, has led me to this conclusion. A book that instead of depicting Eve as being deceived and then subsequently deceiving Adam, the book describes that Adam was there the whole time, yet said and did nothing. The author traces the problem with men to the silence with which Adam became complicit in the first fall from God's grace. Adam failed to trust in God's word and example, and modern men do the same when, instead of following God's example in dealing with uncertainties, they retreat into self-righteousness and toughness that mask anger and fear.

We fail each other. We’re human. We love, we hate. We get angry, we retreat.  We say things we regret, we do things we regret.

But if we become too careful about this, we risk something bigger than we can imagine.

[I] wonder if the time we spend trying to become somebody people will love isn't wasted because the most powerful, more attractive person we can be is who we already are, an ever-changing being that is becoming and will never arrive.” (pgs. 148-149)

We’re all still learning to love. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

friendship and INFJs

INFJs don’t form a lot of close friendships in their lifetime… we are very selective. This isn’t about conceit, but really about knowing ourselves. We only have so much emotional energy we can give to another without great harm to our soul, so we make sure we give it to those we truly connect with, those we deem “worth it.” What I mean by “worth it” is those who come close to understanding us. Those who push us beyond our preconceived notions. Those who challenge us and make us think. Those who aren’t afraid of not understanding us, but are willing to go along with us for the ride. Those who try, need to know they will never fully plumb the depth of our complications (we don’t understand our own complications, so we certainly don’t expect others to understand them either.) Those to whom we give our emotional energy have penetrated our surface, which we keep pretty impenetrable. Because we want those who’ve worked for it, because honestly?We would do the same for them. The thing about …

on feeling marginalized

mar·gin·al·ize: treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.
Most of my life I’ve felt like a social pariah.  In high school, I was never pretty enough or athletic enough to be accepted. (I wish I’d known then the importance of music and that it would one day become a career for me, so that I would have felt less horrible about it. None of the popular kids in school use their athletic ability or good looks in their career, which makes me sound petty and small, but let’s face it, all us social pariahs think this way. … if we’re being honest.)
And I really thought the social pariah status would go away at some point in my life. But then this happened.  And two big emotions caught me as a result: in the moment, complete relief. As my post says, I actually felt a weight lift from my shoulders when I was told that there was a reason no one understood me and it wasn’t my entire fault. In the years since, though, I’ve also settled into a rather unsettling emotion: inse…

the "INFJ Door Slam"

One thing that INFJs tend to do is read a lot about their personality type. Because we are rare, that also means we are difficult to figure out. So reading to try and understand ourselves simply goes with the territory.  Today I was reading about the “INFJ Door Slam”. Here is part of what I read:

There’s this thing called the “INFJ Door Slam.”  People talk about it.  Other personality types trash it, but few people try to explain it in simple terms.  It’s different for everyone, no doubt, but in simple terms… The INFJ door slam is what happens when we are burned out by unresolved emotions, so we resolve the issue by deciding that the relationship is over. INFJs are deeply emotional creatures.  We don’t feel as much as it looks like we do (that’s mirroring, which is a whole other topic), but when we feel…we feel deeply and fully.  That means that we burn out.  If we are emotionally toyed with, abused, or overloaded, and there is no end to the emotional assault in sight, we have to do some…