During my twenty-six-year tenure as a clinical social worker, I was probably a “Rent-a-Friend” more often than I was a clinician.
We are built for relationship. We long to know and be known; yet we’re afraid: There is always a risk that someone will come close and we’ll let that person in, only to be rejected and betrayed by him or her.
In addition to our fears, there is the need to know; when we don’t, we assume, which carries a plethora of challenges:
*We usually “aim low”
*We are almost always mistaken
*Assumptions are often projective; therefore negative, since our own insecurities get in the way.
*The most serious is that assuming is a major barrier to closeness in relationships.
First is to learn how to rest with unknowing. An honest question is better than the best guess.
Next, ask; then listen. Just doing that much is a very powerful means of healing. If you think about it, have you ever had someone give you this most precious gift? Were you able to share your heart and have him or her reflect back to you that he or she really gets it? I know some people who do this. I feel so loved and honored by them.
I am in no way talking about indiscriminate disclosure. We all know people who have demonstrated that they are not trustworthy. Boundaries come first. A point of wisdom is that we share at the level that a relationship supports. For example, we don’t tell all to the cashier when we pay for our groceries because we only have a cordial connection with that person. In contrast, we will share our innermost thoughts and feelings with a best friend or spouse.
Relationships come in degrees and progress over time. You might see a bit of me at first; then as our friendship grows and we prove to be safe for each other, you will see into me at a deeper level.
These are the connections that feed our souls and bring life.
(I learned “into me you see” from authors and speakers at Bethel Church in Redding, CA.