Today I’m thinking about relationships.
I’m not one of those people who thinks Facebook and twitter and iPhones are robbing us of real, satisfying relationship with other humans. Facebook is weird, yes, but it’s also good. Social media is powerful and when used to spread goodness and important information, it becomes another way we can make the world a better place. And all that good stuff.
I do however, think that modern day relationships are lacking something that could make us happier people. And this goes for all relationships, not just romantic ones. I am lucky to have friends that are brave enough to admit their weaknesses, to keep their hearts open, to tell me about this one time they really really f-ed everything up. I even have one or two friends that are good enough to me to tell me when I’m really really f-ing everything up. But the more people I meet, the less people I find who are like this.
I don’t blame people for being like this. I’m one of them. In the past I have found it extremely hard to admit flaw, to forgive people, to confess that I’m really bad at math and don’t know how to play any instruments. So when it came to the big stuff, the nitty-gritty, the stuff that mattered way more than whether or not I could play a guitar, I was so private, I was so afraid.
See how I even just changed all of that to past tense, like it was the old me that used to do that, and now the brand new shiny me is just perfect and doesn’t do that? Yeah, not true. I still find it hard. But the more I practice being open, the less scary it feels, the more I feel like myself, the closer I get to others and who I am.
When I’m talking with someone, like really talking, not just about the weather or the Giant’s game, I find myself constantly faced with choices: speak your truth and be open, or stay closed and cheat yourself of the opportunity to be raw. Telling little white lies or really big fat lies about who you are is not worth the moment of comfort created by the illusion that you’re protected. In doing that, you not only disrespect the person you are talking with, and rob them of the chance to see your truth, but what’s more important, and more sad really, is that staying closed off is like cheating on yourself–you disrespect what you’ve been through, who you are, and you will never be happy. Simple as that.
Relationships lack a sense of urgency. Like we can just see them tomorrow, or next month, and if we wait to be open, it won’t be a big deal. That’s so much work, you think, that’s so much energy, and I’m tired and have a lot of work to do this week. Next week will be the week. That’s when I’ll open up, we say. No. Don’t wait. Do it now, do it now, do it now. Start small, but start somehow.
One way I think Facebook does mess us up, is that we look at it and compare our lives to others. We see that girl who posts a picture of a mimosa at a Sunday brunch with a view of the ocean, and we think wow, I’m just sitting here in my cat hair covered PJs drinking some weak coffee. And then the process of opening up gets that much harder because we think our lives suck, comparatively, when really we are all pretty damn blessed, if you’re reading this you have a computer and an internet connection and eyes that can see and a heart that’s still beating. Not bad, kid.
All encounters we have with other people are precious. You never know when that one conversation, or even a glance, will house that seed of depth we all are so hungry for. To receive that though, you have to open. That’s what we need. Depth. Truth. More people who are open or at least practice being open. Do it now, do it now, do it now.