Monday, April 22, 2013

acting vs. taking chances

two definitions for today's post:
1. empathy: understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in their shoes
2. sympathy: acknowledging another person's emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance

this morning i had a brief conversation with a friend, halfway through the exchange of messages via facebook inbox i realized that i was fishing for one of the above words, i don't know if i was expecting my friend to know how i felt because she might be experiencing it herself, or i was waiting for and in need of a more mature action which is for her to acknowledge my pain even though she had never tasted it before... there was no "happy ending" for our conversation, and this got me thinking about what i've done in the past months...

maybe it's my fault, i've been such a good actress able to hide my pain behind fake smiles and kid's activities and happy facebook posts and encouraging comments written to others... all along i thought i was doing the right thing or at least a good thing, but today i've discovered that this wasn't good for me... it wasn't helping me heal and receive the support i needed...

acting was, for me, a safe thing to do, simply because i didn't have enough courage to be vulnerable, to let my weaknesses show, to admit my exhaustion, to share my frustrations... people who do this put themselves at risk, and the stakes are high... what if people rejected you after you took down all your guards? what if people weren't as understanding (as empathetic or sympathetic) as you needed them to be? what if, and this is a horror movie for me, people made fun of you or discussed you and talked about you in your back? the list of "what if's" goes on and on, so, why take such a risk? let's play it safe and keep the stage curtain up, keep the show on, and keep the smile as shiny as ever...

what troubled me most this morning is how God works when we're aching, living alone for 5 years when i studied abroad was very difficult yet it was at the same time the best time in my life when God met me at my point of need, when i saw him and felt him as i hit rock bottom, am i now hitting rock bottom again but in a different area at a different phase of life?

two conclusions for today's post:
1.people who hide their pain and act as if everything is find, lack the courage of showing their vulnerability to people around them for the risk of getting rejected and ending up with more pain
2.God meets us at our point of need, even if we're too stubborn to accept help from fellow humans, he is willing to reach out to us providing help from the source that will never ever let anyone down

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