There are so many things I want to write about, but I feel I must give them to God first.
I think we all share too quickly and not with the right people most of the time.
The internet has created these platforms that encourage us to process INSTANTLY AND PUBLICLY and I just... I can't do it. There's a sacredness to our innerworld and our stories that feel so compartmentalized once we reduce it to a status update, tweet, Instagram post-- or, even a post here on my blog.
I've processed instantly and publicly before. In my late-teens, early-twenties near constantly on my MySpace blog and then my blogger page. And, shoot, a few times on Facebook or Twitter. But-- it honestly never solved anything for me. It eventually made me feel worse, and usually ended up upsetting someone, leading to a misunderstand & creating unnecessary drama.
I still struggle to this day with finding peace in moments where my words or actions are misunderstood or misrepresented, especially when malicious intent or some other icky energy is being implied. I am human. It doesn't matter how much peace and acceptance one has cultivated, it drives you a little crazy, it hurts. I've luckily learned that tearfully releasing this pain over to God is the only thing that helps. I root into knowing that He does see and know all. So, even if the perception down here is skewed, His perception is never skewed. When I couple His knowing with the idea of expending my energy to "make" someone see they were ”wrong”, it rarely happens.
Though time isn't ‘real’, I am witnessing my children grow older each and every day and I am becoming very discerning of where, how, when & what I will expend my energy on. There are so many things that reveal themselves to not be worth the energy and time involved. Defending my character is at the top of that list. I hope my presence alone, where I spend my time, how I treat those around me, how I parent my children and give back to my community, says enough about who I am. I also recognize we just aren’t for everyone & that is okay, too.
This is the same application I employ when sharing my life as it is unfolding. There are only a few people I share the big things with. It takes a lot of our life force to share the truly vulnerable things. I don't believe it's healthy for us to reveal every moment of our lives for ‘transparency sake‘ online. We don't need to make ourselves see-through to be accepted or recognized as authentic. We can have a little mystery. A little for ourselves and our inner circle. Not to mention, not everyone who seeks out your story does so with the intent to love you better. Sometimes, in this realm, people do have ill-will towards you. They are looking for your tender spots in order to poke at them.
Healthy boundaries and recognizing both our patterns and conditioning helps us to discern who is and isn't for us. If we find out that we have a lot of "fake" friends or even just a single dynamic that doesn't feel right, often we discover that we are entertaining these things because there is something from our past that is unresolved.
How do I know? Personal experience. Like most lessons, I have also learned this one the hard way.
I grew up with a parent who never really matured into the healed-version of themselves. They were often preoccupied with their own needs and dramas (lots of crying and complaining. I was constantly having to soothe their moods, take on the emotional role of ‘parent’). They were also very cruel, physically and emotionally abusive and prone to violent outbursts (ie: walking into my bedroom and breaking all of my things/tearing all the pictures and posters off of the wall because I forgot to tell them someone had called). I was constantly walking on eggshells, learning at an early age how to quickly assess the emotions of those around me so that I could survive each moment with as little violence as possible. When I was 14 years old (two days after I started my first job, actually) my parent left my sister and I with their ex-spouse (no biological relation to either of us) and moved across the country. That was a whole new heartbreak, and one I believe created a wall between us that would ultimately never come down.
Yet, no matter what my parent did, I always quickly and effortlessly forgave them. The divide felt unnatural and too painful to feed. Children love their parents and also feel most comforted in their presence, so when they were "nice" and "fun" after causing deep pain, they were (unconsciously, I'm certain of that at this point) grooming me to accept neglect and abuse with the promise of reconcilliation, or what I've come to understand as trauma bonding tactics.
"Trauma bonds occur when we go through periods of intense love and excitement with a person followed by periods of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment. The cycle of being devalued and then rewarded over and over, works overtime to create a strong chemical and hormonal bond between a victim and his or her abuser. This is why victims of abuse often describe feeling more deeply bonded to their abuser than they do to people who actually consistently treat them well.
Anyone who is in an abusive relationship can become trauma bonded to their abuser, but people who experienced traumatic relationships as children may be more prone to these types of bonds. After all, we already experienced these types of relationships with our parents or other caregivers, so our nervous system is already primed up to fall into the cycle." -- Hanna Leigh
Which means, for me, that despite a series of healthy, fulfilling friendships, I unknowingly became close to someone who employed the same abuse-tactics as my parent. The first time it happened, it was shocking and confusing. The second time it happened it was infuriating. (That whole fool-me-once-shame-on-you-fool-me-twice-shame-on-me-thing). The third and final time-- well, this former friend’s pattern had revealed itself (them having perpetuating this abuse not only with me, but with over a handful of their former friends and partners as well) and I knew it wasn't "if" it would happen again, but "when". Though, I had already come to understand the abusive dynamic of trauma-bonding that I was repeating with my parent into adulthood (and was able to create boundaries and the necessary emotional space with them), I was beyond shocked when I realized I had experienced this same dynamic with my former-friend.
Our childhood wounds will play out with the people around us until we become cognizant of the pain we are holding. Understanding this, while also recognizing my worth (via my relationship with God + the healthy relationships I have with my partner and other friends) coupled with my innate desire for peace (therefore rejecting any relationships that resemble rollercoasters and consist of a lot of pain) made it possible to distance myself from both dynamics.
And, I can say I really don't harbor any ill-will towards anyone. When you clean up your side of the road, work on the patterns you are holding: you realize there's nothing else to hold on to. Their work isn't our work and we all have work to do. They have to do their work themselves. They have to take accountability for their choices and behaviors. There is no making anyone understand anything before they choose it. We are all on Gods time. We are not God and cannot heal anyone. If you think your side of the road doesn’t need maintenance, you are sorely mistaken. Focus on your healing. Release the dynamic and let it go. There doesn't have to be hostility or drama. If anything, it would diminish whatever healing you are calling in. I pray for both my parent and my former friend frequently. I may not desire to be in close relationship with them, but I do not carry anger towards them. They have a reason for the patterns they carry & I hope they find healing. We all deserve peace. But, we can only cultivate our own.
When we are unraveling from unhealthy dynamics, I've learned it's best to close ranks. I had to call the people closest to me and truly dig in & face some hard truths about myself. Truths I wouldn’t be able to receive from people online— those who receive a curated image of me are not able to give me true accuracy of opinion in regards to my character. Until you have actually done life with someone, you do not truly know them. Any true character reflection comes from deep relationships cultivated over time. The people in my inner circle have seen what I would consider the ‘worst‘ of me and know me more intimately than anyone, yet love the totality of me. Having people around you that remind you of who you truly are is a blessing. That's God surrounding you with light.
When we process publicly and instantly, we are giving away a very sacred and intimate part of our energy to a machine that isn't broadcasting at a pure frequency. What is returned to us, no matter how "good" it makes us feel, will always risk being distorted. We miss communing with God and instead are speaking at whatever energy (or entity) is watching us. It also gives us very little opportunity to be fluid. A quick vent that we may end up deleting is never truly gone. You have no idea who saw it and took a screenshot. Your words could end up hurting someone else, or even yourself, for years to come. Speaking with a trusted confidant or praying gives us space to move through our emotions without it being embedded on the internet “forever.”
My pastor, Pastor Kelly, said this morning that the things we speak (or write) are contracts. When we speak certain words out into the open we are either making a contract with the enemy or we are honoring God. This train of thought encourages one to pause before instantly processing publicly-- to instead pray and cry if we need to-- giving it to Him first and trusting that He will direct us to the right person to talk to after that. We don't need to make our pain online content. We are deserving of space and privacy. We are deserving of intimate relationship and sacred processing. So, take a deep breath first, breathe.