Ever walk by or talk to someone you know well and think “They really don’t like me…”?
Or connect with someone and realize they’ve never really known you?
When I was growing up in MTL, I got that a lot. People in my youth group would come up to me after an ‘altar moment’ or Jesus Crisis experience and share with me about how they “didn’t like me when they first met me because I was loud or obnoxious or something else” but now they got to know me and they liked me…or something like that. Now, to their credit, I was louder than I am now, a tad pretentious and obnoxious but the weight of those words stayed. Weird part was and still is this: They never said sorry. They just vented, cleared their conscience and left feeling good about themselves, as if they did a good deed. What they didn’t know then and don’t know till now (if they are readers) is the lowering of self-esteem and fear of relationships that I have to this day.
Those ‘revelations’ effect my marriage, my parenting, my friendships, etc. When someone tells you they don’t like you, if you’re not strong, you change YOU…you know? And if you ARE strong, you become stubborn and prideful. These same people still see as that guy and not THIS guy…urgh. Maybe that’s why I don’t like going home much. Cause of those words and what I might say now…now that I know and have an uncanny way with words and honesty…
The weirdest part is that along with not saying sorry, they thought they were helping me…bad teaching, man.
Why do I write this, besides dealing with repressed memories? Because things like Facebook/Twitter and social media are reminders of it all the time. You see a wall and think, ‘Hey, that person never talks to me beyond this or that…’ or ‘there was a thing that everyone was at except for me?’ It’s the reminder that true friends are like buried treasure, they take a long time to find and when you do, you almost want to hide them again.
On the flip side, because of bad experiences (some brought on myself, others by way of circumstance) , I’ve burned some great bridges and hurt people due to the fear of exposure. Being a pastor doesn’t help either because sometimes you can never be the you YOU are because you are the YOU they expect or demand. I’ve also burned some great bridges because of awkwardness. In the fear of being loud, I say nothing OR too much (I watch too much Michael Scott). It’s even worse on the phone (I actually hyperventilate before calling new people). It really sucks. It’s a weird feeling to know that you don’t have…friends…because of the words of a 16-year-old when you were 16. Or 24-year-old leader (I mean who does that?).
I’m writing this and I KNOW some will read this and not see me in it. They’ll see a cry for attention. I can’t blame them though…this IS a BLOG, right (LOL)? But it’s not. I have some great brothers and sisters who are honest in their blogging. Their names are Ben Wright, Genie Liu and Josh Singh (Josh’s wife Carrie is a stellar honest writer too), and they push me to be honest too. I’ve been dreading this post for 3 months because all I see is me in the youth room and someone telling me about how they didn’t like me. Living with low self-esteem sucks, doesn’t it. Becca’s right: I should talk to someone at some point 🙂
13 years later and it still hurts. It probably always will. That’s my thorn. And I know what the response will be from my Dad:
My grace is sufficient for you.
Where would I be without that grace?
Unable to be honest with myself and say I really don’t have it together so I NEED that grace. Unable to be…well…me.
P.S. If you have an ISSUE with someone, don’t wait for months or years to bring it up. By then, the person who hurt you has moved on and in your need to be honest, you’re actually hurting them. Doing it like that isn’t helpful. It’s selfish and wrong. Pray and deal with it right away. If they don’t know about it and it’s worth bringing up, do so if it’s going to help them AND you. If they do know, for sure bring it up. But if they don’t know and it’s not a repeat, then forgive and move on. Stop with this clearing conscience crap. It’s not cool.
I’m juss saying…
P.S. and please don’t leave a comment saying sometime dumb. If you have something heartfelt or angry or whatever to share with me email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! If its a general thought, leave it on the blog. Just this time, though!