Brain Dump

Personal Paradox

by on Apr.28, 2010, under Ruminations and Ponderings

I find myself at a place in life that is far from where I thought I’d be as well as far from where I was headed only eight years ago. I’ve experienced many things in life, some rendering feelings of euphoria and some rendering doubt that life could continue, and naturally many other things within the range of that  spectrum. I’ve come to understand that you need to be happy with your self and by yourself before you can ever be happy with anyone else. I’ve also come to understand that having achieved solitary happiness, there are also many outside influences that affect this happiness. Preferable are the ones that enhance this status, but inevitably the inverse also lurks about looking for an opportunity to get a foothold on us.

As a rule, and rightfully so, it seems that people are at the top of the list of influences in either direction. Naturally we should keep those with negative influences at a distance and those that have an encouraging and positive effect, in closer proximity. Now, this sounds like a fairly binary approach, but the fact is we don’t always have the ability to compartmentalize these opposing forces. We can find ourselves having to deal with, and interact with those who seem to drain the life out of us, at work or school. Even though it is necessary to deal with these folks during the course of our day, we can look forward to going home to a sanctuary of solitude or better yet, encouragement.

The past eight years have not afforded me many positive influences and it seems that most of the folks I came in contact with drained the life out of me faster than I could compensate and like a battery being discharged faster than it can be charged, I became extremely drained. As a result, I have assumed a life of as much solitude as I can. Now knowing that this is not the best thing for me I am trying to force myself to reach out and interact with others a bit more than I have but for the time being, I have a strong tendency to keep everyone at arms length. Naturally, the more you open yourself up to someone, the closer you get to them, the more control, or influence they assume over your state of mind. I don’t think this has ever been an issue for me in the past, but it has become very apparent to me that this is having  a big influence on me now. I know for a fact that I am not alone in this and in fact you could also be faced with this same issue. This seems to cause caution when any type of emotional vulnerability is perceived.

So, here is the rub . . . I crave emotional intimacy but seem to be very reserved about it right now. In fact it seems so long since I’ve even experienced emotional intimacy, and like somewhere that you’ve not been for a long time, you wonder if anyone still lives there. The fact of the matter is that I believe that what I’ve described could very well be used to describe the vast majority of people out there and they go through their lives never experiencing emotional intimacy either as a result of having been hurt in the past as I have, or in efforts to avoid ever being hurt.

So, the paradox is that people have the potential to enhance our happiness above anything on earth (reserving the happiness that only comes through Christ) but we impede this potential in efforts to mitigate the possible negative effects that could also result.

In light of all this, I am forced to look back and take an honest inventory of how I have affected others, both good and bad. I would like to think that I have always had good intentions, but the fact of the matter is that good intentions don’t guaranty a positive effect.  Romans 12:9-11 tells us to “9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; 11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;”. In verse 10, it says “in honor preferring one another” and the truth of the matter is that as much as I would like to say that I’ve done this, I in fact have not. There were times when I was concerned for myself more than others and with this I fear that it was not always a win win.

I guess it’s the balance between emotional self preservation and allowing ourselves to be enriched by others while also enriching them.

To be continued . . . as this is a dynamic process that unfolds more every day.


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