Ever since I made a conscious decision to pursue authentic relationships, I’ve started to hear a small voice somewhere inside that consistently tells me to run and hide.
Run. [ruhn] –verb 1. to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk. 2. to move with haste; act quickly. 3. to depart quickly; flee or escape.
I was never much of an athlete growing up. I was almost always the last one picked for a team in gym class. I never quite got the hang of hitting a volleyball over the net or catching a football that was thrown at me. Even now, I can barely run a mile. Running is just not part of my routine. (Maybe I should fix that sooner than later.) I can definitely say, though, there is one type of running that I excelled in all throughout life: running from people.
Hide. [hahyd] –verb 1. To conceal from sight; prevent from being seen or discovered.
I am very good at hiding. I’m an introvert. It’s what I do. Maybe that’s an unfair generalization… but all my life I just wanted to blend in. I never wanted to stand out or draw attention to myself. But I always felt like an outcast. So I chose to hide. In middle school, I hid in my room underneath my blanket and sang my heart out.
I suck at relationships. Of all kinds. I don’t like getting attached and having people attached to me. I know that comes off sounding like an insensitive, independent woman with big agendas and no heart. But mostly it has to do with the fact that I’d rather not get close to anyone. Being close with someone means I’ll probably hurt, annoy, disappoint, reject (on and on) that person. Being close means that person will inevitably hurt, annoy, disappoint and reject me at some point. Conflict is unavoidable in a relationship. Two broken people trying to relate to each other… that is, more often than not, extremely messy. I’d rather stand at a distance and not have to deal with that.
Change. [cheynj] –verb 1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone. 2. to transform or convert.
I think I’m changing. When I used to encounter conflict of any kind, I’d run and hide until I didn’t have to see the person anymore or without dealing with it, we’d conveniently brush it under the carpet and move forward. In those moments, I wasn’t really being honest. Nor did I allow myself to feel the pain of the situation. My relationship with that other person didn’t get any deeper. We were never able to go underneath the surface because we weren’t willing to let the issue rear its ugly head… or is it our ugly heads. Something happened though. Lately, when I feel hurt and I really care about the person who hurt me, I can’t just let it be. I find myself confronting that person, not antagonistically, but truthfully. When someone tells me that I hurt or offended them, I initially get defensive, but find myself eventually apologetic and wanting to talk things out with the person to see if we can improve our relationship going forward.
When I avoid or run or hide, I am not really loving well. Loving someone means being honest even when it hurts. Even when it’s uncomfortable and awkward. Even when it elicits my own flaws. Loving someone means being true to my self and allowing that other person to be true, too. And if that person doesn’t respond well, then at least I tried.
[All definitions taken from www.dictionary.com.]