Monday, July 19, 2010

Becoming Who We Really Are...

We all know the stereotypes about the personalities of men and women in the context of a relationship. We all know that men don't listen and women create such ridiculous double standards that piss men off. We get at each other. We drive each other crazy.

What if, we all just tried to learn how to lose our ridiculous habits? What if we learn to build each other up instead of lying to cover a sin? Example. In my last relationship, we lied to each other plenty. For instance, I wanted to cover the fact that I was extremely insecure. She wanted to cover the fact that she didn't 100% agree with how the relationship was going. This is on a pretty small scale, but what if we learned to help each other instead of lie? What if we learned to hold each other up instead of letting our lies stifle ourselves? What can be gained by being dishonest?

It's true that looking back and wondering what could have happened has never benefited anyone. What we don't usually consider is that if we do look back at first, we have a chance to let grace show us what we have done. Right or wrong. We often discover important things too late. I feel that that is because we try to avoid feeling pain, only to realize that we should have let our hearts hurt for a time.

But the differences in men and women are visible in so many ways. Men hunt, and women nest. Men fix cars, women cook. At least, that's the way it's been as long as most of us know.

There's a shift in the gender roles. Women are starting to get higher paying, more important jobs. Men are at home, taking care of the kids. From my experience, women in relationships are acting more like men and vice versa. Thanks to the recession, and maybe the removal of traditional roles, a complete and total role reversal is happening. We are standing at the edge of something none of us has seen before.

Wouldn't this be a perfect time to start working on who we are as people? Wouldn't this be the perfect time to become who we really are? And, just who are we? We are better than our mistakes. We are better than who we allow ourselves to become. We are better than what we know or don't know. And in relationships, it's the same. I've had conversations with friends who say that they play the same game that their significant other is playing with them. Why play that game? We're distracting ourselves. Why not just try to fix it?

After my last relationship ended, I started to change who I am, one little thing at a time. Think about it, isn't there something, or a few things, that you could stand to change? There always are. I started being more honest, speaking my mind, and treating people the way I know they should be treated. I started to value my friends more, and see the value that people had that I didn't know so well. I started to get into psychology and counseling people on their relationships and friendships. I'm not who I really am yet, but it's a few steps in the right direction.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What Cannot Be Undone...Can Be Undone

We have all been in situations where we cause some emotional pain to another. It's sometimes an unavoidable situation, but one that happens nonetheless. I have been on both ends of such situations and I would like to offer some uncommon wisdom.

In two different, specific types of situations, unrequited relationships and friendships. I was in a relationship a couple years ago. Something went wrong in the relationship and she broke it off with me. I was pretty heartbroken, but more than anything, I wanted answers. I had several points I wanted to raise and I needed clarification and closure. Long story short, the female in question snubbed me. She refused to answer my texts/calls and she refused to tell me anything honest about why she felt she should end it. We were both confessed Christians. On the surface, I'm sure this sounds typical and not very dire. But I'm not an on the surface kind of guy. Anyone who knows me can testify to that.

What probably should have been a month or two's worth of pain became about a year and a half's worth. Much of that time, I questioned why God would let someone abandon another person the way I was abandoned. I felt cheated. Very cheated. I felt that whatever wrong she had done inside the relationship could not compare to what she did outside of it. I teetered on the verge of collapse. I often questioned whether or not God really existed or if He was more of a state of mind in the hearts of His followers. Now, to the point. As a human being, let alone, as a Christian, I believe we have, not just a moral obligation, but also a humane obligation to attempt to undo any pain we cause another. Whatever cannot be undone, at least, must be explained.

I've often made this clear to people, and as we often do, they make excuses for why they did not leave an acceptable end. There is, as many of us know, no acceptable reason to cause another pain. What cannot be accepted can usually be explained. What cannot be explained can be cured by compassion. When each of those fails, there is nothing left to assume, except some form of embarrassment, or a lack of compassion. Again, NEITHER of those is acceptable. If something we had done had led someone to suicide, or we had not taken the chance to explain ourselves and the person had met some untimely end, we would be left with the remorse.

And what is the point of this? To wipe your slate as clean as possible before you are called to judgment. Ideally, there should be very little of what we do in this life affecting the judgment upon us. As we know, this is impossible, but a large part of the idea of Christianity is atonement and forgiveness. We cannot be forgiven by people if we don't ask. If we are not forgiven, we miss an opportunity for the offender or the offended to experience a large part of who God is. God is love, God is forgiveness, and God always gives us the chance to repent.

As people, as the people of The Most High God, we should be reflecting that love, that forgiveness, and that repentance. As with any other situation, we will screw up. We will hurt someone. And we will have to answer for it. But do we have to go into judgment with another wounded soul on our heads? That's the question. If you were the offender, could you truly live with knowing you caused someone else considerable emotional pain?