It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
It may a bit uncommon, unconventional and not quite the smartest belief to hold dear. To some, I might as well be jumping off a cliff and not bring a parachute with me to ensure a safe landing. On a more literal level, I might very well be opening a door to allow my heart to be battered, bruised and eventually smashed to pieces.
Regardless of what anyone says, I wholly believe in taking the time to invest in people; to talk to them and get to know them, no matter what kind of relationship it is or what the future may bring.
From what I read on Facebook, Twitter, etc. it seems like the main idea in terms of how we relate to others is this: That it's better to be lonely than to be hurt, and in order not to get hurt, we must keep them at arms length. And if we do end up becoming close to someone, the only way it can be deemed successful is if that particular is free from any sort of pain, betrayal, etc. If not, it becomes an unspoken regret, as well as a waste of time.
To put it plainly, the only way to not regret forming a particular relationship is if it works out exactly the way we want it to.
But I don't think that's true; at least, I don't think that should be true. I have had some relationships (or if you really want to get technical, I'll just call them friendships) that have started quickly and ended quickly. Some that have lasted for a long time and are still going strong. Some where we're really close, but just aren't talking right now because life has kept us both extremely busy. But no matter the situation, I do not regret the time that I've spent with them. Ultimately, I do not regret having the be a part of my life.
There have definitely been a lot of people that have let me down; friends, family...oh heck, there have been times where I feel as if God has let me down. But that does not mean that I don't care about them or that I'm not willing to forgive them; there are people, especially friends, who will always have a special place in my heart. We may have endured a tough road together, but I still have wonderful memories as well as wonderful things that I've learned from them.
And that is why I choose not to regret investing in those relationships, or any relationship. I may have been hurt at some point, but I learned many things about myself, about the relationship as a whole and about life. Now this is just my personal opinion here, but if you come out of a relationship having learned something, then who’s to say that it was a waste?
The other side of the issue is the concept of pain. It’s only natural to not want to get hurt. Nobody wants to experience being lied to, cheated on, taken advantage of, etc. So a person decides to keep another (or several) at arms-length; in the end, they may not get their heart broken, but what other benefits does it truly provide? It doesn’t bring full joy or laughter. From my perspective, it doesn’t seem to do a whole lot of good.
Through my own experiences, the one fact that I cannot dispute is that pain is inevitable. You can try and protect yourself all you want, but eventually you will experience some form of brokenness or hardship. Not just in relationships, but in life as well. That’s not to say you should walk around with a negative attitude or completely focus on it, but rather just accept it and deal with it when it happens.
It’s like locking yourself up in a house because you don’t want to run the risk of anything bad happening. You just don’t get to experience the possibilities and the opportunities because you’re not willing to take a chance. I don’t know about everyone else, but that does not seem like a healthy way to live.
And maybe I’m getting a little off-topic here, but I don’t think it’s fair to put someone else’s faults on other people. To be specific, someone hurt you and you tell the next person that comes along “I’m not going to put a whole lot of effort into this, nor am I going to trust you because of what happened in the past.” It’s completely normal to be cautious, but only to a certain extent.
There’s a little saying that I have: “Don’t let the pain of the past keep you from having joy in the future.” That is true not just for relationships, but for life as well.
With that being said, I don’t think that one should just go and tell the entire world every little detail about themselves. There are definitely times and circumstances where it’s not always a good idea to be a completely open book. It may seem that way when I am blogging, but I do hold back certain details in my writings, mostly for the sake of my loved ones and that there are a lot of sick people out there in cyberspace.
When it comes to investing and knowing when to trust somebody, it’s hard to tell from the get-go. You really don’t know what will happen a month, a year or a couple of years down the road. All you can really do is trust your instincts and know that genuine relationships of any sort tend to take a lot of time. In other words, don’t try to explain your life story to someone right when you start getting to know them. Let them slow pick up on the little things about you and then talk about the deep stuff when you’ve known each other long enough.
I realize that not everyone may agree with what I’m saying here, and that’s perfectly fine. Every situation is different and each person has their own way of dealing with this kind of stuff. All I know is that I, personally, do not want to spend my life feeling lonely and cut off from people that could potentially be bright lights in my life. I spent the majority of middle school doing so, as well as a portion of high school; I don’t want that to be what I remember about my college years.
Lucille Ball once said, “I would rather regret the things that I did do then the things that I didn’t do.” Never have I found that to be more true than right now.