FIRST! Thank you guys for chiming in with your thoughts on the surgeon from my last entry. Obviously my guilt issues run VERY DEEP and maybe I still imprint them on other people accidentally.
SECOND! A former blogger is struggling with addiction and being open about her struggles in her kinda-closed online Facebook circle and it has me thinking a lot about vulnerabilities and relationships. The idea around exposing vulnerability is to create deeper connections. I know that is the idea on paper. But sometimes it’s hard not to expect it to make MORE connections, or to make CURRENT relationships STRONGER. I sometimes think, “I’m being vulnerable! More authentic! More people should connect with me! This should improve all of my relationships!” And yes…on some levels…but that’s not the actual goal.
The goal is that you create or nurture relationships that are deeper if you’re vulnerable. But sometimes, those vulnerabilities expose parts of you that people you have prior relationships with, can’t handle. And that means you can lose a lot of relationships too, and that’s the hard part. Because you’re fragile when you’re exposing vulnerabilities, so losing relationships hurts even more.
I think a lot about conversations I’ve had with friends that have left OR joined churches. If you go from being agnostic to religious – and this is a true exposure of a more “authentic” version of yourself (some people join churches for the “wrong” reasons) – then your relationships you had with non-believers might fracture. And that’s hard. But if you are now open to acknowledging this truth in your heart (some sort of religious commitment) then you have to just have Faith that the relationships you build on that truth will be stronger than the ones you built without it.
I took that angle (Person Joining Church) instead of the more obvious (Person Leaving Church) because – honestly – I’ve had more conversations with people who that happens to when they join a church. I think if you leave a church, it’s probably a gradual process so you’re not just waking up one day and abandoning relationships built on something that doesn’t exist. In my experience, those relationships start to falter as your faith falters.
But many people wake to religion in BIG and DRAMATIC moments so it can present a big change to their current friend group. Especially in the South where there are so many Protestant churches where people commit in big alter calls and to being saved. Many times those people have to give up certain social groups (especially if the church frowns on drinking) so I’ve seen it a lot more in THAT direction where people are “left behind” so to speak.
But I think, if that Saved Christian version of yourself is a more true version (and only you can really know that) then you have to mourn the losses of relationships past, but have faith the ones built with this more “true” version will be strong.
Sobriety and addiction creates similar situations. Once you open up about your journey as an addict, you are going to lose friendships and relationships with people unequipped to go on that journey with you. But the hope is that – by being more honest with who you are – that your future relationships (although often fewer) will be strong.
I hate the word “authentic” lately because it’s so overused. BUT. It’s the RIGHT word to use in a lot of situations. Once I became more honest about things (like, in my case, a lack of religious beliefs) I might have pushed some people away (people who need that religious connection) but the people that remain, our friendships are built on more truths so they’re strong.
I have no idea why I’m rambling this morning. I just read my blogging friend’s struggles and suddenly the words needed to come out. Writing is funny like that. This might be one of those entries I’ll ruminate over more and decide I wrote it too fast and didn’t really give it time to work out in my head. Sometimes that happens. I’ll get this drive to write my thoughts to sort them out and then later I’ll be like, “Nope. Wasn’t quite ripe for consumption yet. Should have left that one on the vine longer.”
And then you people who subscribe via email get to hold on to the (sometimes terrible) entry that many people don’t ever see. Heh. I don’t ever look at the “subscribe” list for this blog because I honestly don’t want to know who all has access to those entries that I end up taking down because often times I find I needed to re-work the ideas more.
Happy a beautiful Sunday. Here’s to authenticity. Even if it is the self-care-word of the day.