September 28, 2016
Do Not Pass Go
In a world where it is easy to put our best feet forward online, it makes me wonder how many of us are using the online world to avoid close relationships. We have ways to access more people than ever, but what kind of connection are we achieving? If we are honest with ourselves, there are ways that we interact with others, even in person, that prevent others from ever getting close to us. It reminds me of the Monopoly card that says “do not pass go.” We don’t allow anyone to pass the walls built up inside of ourselves to see the true, flawed person underneath.
At our core, we want to deeply connect with others, and not only at romantic level. We are built for relationship with others that is deeper than we can imagine! Community is the backbone of a healthy self. We need a close group of people to encourage us, hold us accountable, support us, and know us. For the extroverts among us, that group can be quite large, but for introverts the group can be quite small. No matter the size of your close-knit circle, we all need one.
The other side of the coin is that connecting with others evokes fear in many. In order to be in deep relationship with others, we have to put our most vulnerable selves out there for judgement. And honestly, it doesn’t always turn out well. Your inner life is precious and delicate; I do not want to overlook this fact. Your deepest desires are something to be shared with those who are worthy of your trust. And sometimes, we choose people that use our vulnerability against us. But that does not negate the fact that deep relationship is worth pursuing, and necessary for our well-being.
There are many barriers we put in the way of connecting with others. Let’s take a minute to name a few of these relationship-avoidance patterns. When we are keeping secrets from others, it puts an immediate barrier between us and other people. Other times, we lie to others so that they don’t see the real us. Some of us keep all communication and interaction with others at a surface level so we don’t ever have to open ourselves up to the possibility of pain. Others use constant humor to keep others from seeing the feelings deep inside. Some put up a perfect facade so that others only see the best sides of themselves. There are many others that we could add to this list, but you get the idea.
What’s your go-to relationship-avoidance pattern? When you are totally honest with yourself, how do you prevent others from “passing go” and stepping into your life? When we know our own patterns, we can begin to change them so that we can achieve the connection we so desperately desire. If you truly want to change, go to someone in your inner circle and ask them if they see a relationship-avoidance pattern in you. You might just be surprised with the results this level of vulnerability will bring.