I’m mulling over relationships & the stress of my week. The bizarre health problem with no answers. The lack of understanding about anxiety. My hour of therapy and almost passing out, stumbling over words, feeling like an idiot because this is “real Michelle” and I’m falling apart in front of a therapist. It’s all so weird. Relating. Being. Trying not to hide who I am.
But yet I do. I hide so many things. But I crave realism and being understood. I want to relate in a deep way, not a shallow one. Unfortunately most people don’t want to be that kind of friend and rejection is the result. I feel like I have to be reserved and I can’t stand it.
How do I deal with shallow people? I can’t force them to be like me. Not that I want to. It’s just a balance, which isn’t so easy for me.
My therapist is so helpful in these situations. He conveyed to me that relationships can be defined by envisioning a target or a bulls eye. You are in the middle with the closest people–your spouse, the friend you could call at 3am, and anyone you consider your “inner circle”. Not everyone belongs there–just the people you trust with your life. As the rings of the target move outward, so does the level of trust. So the farther out you go, the less you will trust those people with the details of your life. I like this article by Catherine Bruns that explains this idea in greater detail.
The main idea my therapist wanted to help me understand was that my brain wants to go from the circle farthest away to the bulls eye. The problem I have though is that I’ve been rejected so often, I now don’t let anyone get into that circle. But that’s because I want relationships to progress to the bulls eye really fast, then a whole lot of people reject me (because not everyone should go to that middle circle) and then my brain is like “Oh crap. You’ve done this before. Don’t do that again”. So instead of being all in, I’m all out. It’s very black and white, but I’m beginning to understand this and learning to take things much more slowly.
If you are like me, you might think you are weird because very few people exist in that bulls eye. You might think something is wrong with you. The only thing I’ve learned that is “wrong” is the way I’m viewing relationships. Not everyone can be in that inner bulls eye. They don’t belong there. Some people need a good kick from my target altogether. They are just harmful and don’t belong anywhere in the rings of my relationships.
Sometimes we fail the relationship. Sometimes the other person does. Relationships are complicated. I’m learning not to blame myself for everything that goes wrong. Sometimes things just don’t work out.
I think the more I understand about relationships and rejection, the more I realize that I’m not weird or unlovable, but that I’m different. Not everyone will line up with my values and passions. Not everyone will stay my friend. The most important thing I have to remember is that change and rejection does not mean I’m bad. There are various reasons why rejection happens, but sometimes things fail. All I can do is work on me and give energy to my “bulls eye” people, realizing the rest is out of my control. Knowing who are my go-to people and who belongs elsewhere and how to relate to others based on their place in my target is key.
Relationships should be based on trust which is earned over time and through experience. Hopefully this bulls eye idea will help you when dealing with the people in your life.
Does everyone in your bulls eye belong there?