There are a few people in my life who I would rather not be around.
Mostly, my reason is because of how their fear affects me.
I sense certain people get paralyzed to voice their perspective of something I've said or done out of worry that I might close my life off to them altogether, yet they stew and wring their hands all because they made assumptions about me that may or may not be true. Imagining this makes it difficult to be around these people.
I get that I can be difficult to understand sometimes. I can be harsh. I can be inconsiderate.
That said, a lot of the time what I say and do can be completely misunderstood.
Even though certain people don't actually tell me they're making assumptions about me, and I have no real definitive idea what it is they are even all worked up about, I feel badly about myself and they probably feel badly about themselves, too.
Just like that, we've made assumptions about each other.
We're all a brambled mess, each of us.
In these times, I wish I could just bolt and never look back.
I can't stand how certain people make me feel. Yet, I know how I feel is my doing not theirs.
Fear is nasty in how it can color our perspective.
It can make us freeze up and avoid interactions with the very people we treasure most in our lives, sometimes even tempting us to think our lives would be better off without them. I'm sure there are a few people who feel that way about me.
The thing is, relationships are connections not by our design. We can think we were responsible for the connecting when really, we couldn't be further from the truth.
I learn a lot when I'm around people who I sometimes don't like, the ones who I want to blame for the reason my skin itches, and who everything within me makes me want to avoid.
I venture to guess, they could learn a lot from me, too.
What if I'm bold enough to speak up when I sense someone is disturbed by me?
What if I'm brave enough to invite them to go there with me . . .
even if what they have to say might hurt?
They might not feel comfortable to be honest with me.
They might still yield to their own fear.
They might tell me I'm altogether wrong.
I have to be careful not to expect my speaking up might change things between us while remembering that if I don't try, the discomfort between us -- imagined or not -- will certainly never get better.
Ultimately, in all relationships, my motive can't be to comfort me.
When I sense someone is uncomfortable being around me and is weighing his or her words ever so carefully, I want to be willing to ask because I care more about their heart than about what they might think of me.
I can't give up on people, especially the ones who annoy me with their unspoken fear. Besides, I wouldn't want them to give up on me.
We simply can't give up on each other.
There's so much we can learn from each other, even by sitting amidst the discomfort and letting it be.
To those who fear, might you be bold enough to speak up?
To those who are uncomfortable around someone else's fear, might you be bold enough to stay?