I am always questioning what someone might “really” be thinking about me. It doesn’t matter how many reassurances I am given, I don’t think I ever quite believe them. (How this must drive my closest friends crazy at times because I am always searching for validation.)
It doesn’t matter how close the relationship is. I never feel certain that they aren’t just being nice to me simply because they are good people.
In talking with one of my best friends a few months ago, something came up that I haven’t thought about in a long time, in which I may have uncovered a root of this problem.
In our conversation about this issue, I remembered the time a few of my high school friends avoided me for a day to teach me a lesson. Specifically, I remember sitting down with them at lunch, only to have them get up and walk away immediately. It had been happening all day, and I finally pinned them down at lunch, and they told me what was going on. It came out that they were tired of hearing me complain every time I spoke. I was shocked, hurt, and mortified. However, like the firstborn I am, I apologized and vowed to do better.
Until that day, I had no idea they felt this way. There were no hints, clues, or conversations about it. It came as a complete surprise.
Anyway, I came to the realization during my recent conversation that don’t think I ever got over that.
It taints every interaction I have with anyone, to this day. It may just be the root of this long-time insecurity. I’m not blaming them, it’s just that my insecurity makes a little more sense now.
That said, I have no doubt that I did complain too much. Goodness knows, at the very least, I talked way too much. (And still do.) I also know that I was a terrible listener because I am still working on my listening skills to this day. I still worry that I complain too much. When I was in counseling last year, my counselor informed me that I was so focused on the silver linings, that I was ignoring the clouds. Apparently, that isn’t necessarily healthy, seeing how some clouds carry some pretty serious storms.
She taught me that it is okay to acknowledge the downsides, and do something about them, even while I am trying to remain grateful for the good that can always be found. I don’t have to hide my dissatisfaction with something that just isn’t right. Still, I struggle with it.
There is a fine line between complaining, and making a complaint, I think. I have a hard time knowing the difference. Therefore, it is easier for me to believe people’s reproofs than their reassurances. It is easier for me to believe that the desire to avoid my company is just beneath the surface of the minds of those I am in company with at the moment.
I am nearly in my mid-30’s. Almost 20 years after this incident. Shouldn’t I have grown out of this adolescent need for reassurance? My husband. My children. My circle of best friends. Each one accepts and loves me for who I am, without condition. I know this because they tell me so in every word and deed.
I am loved. I am validated. I am encouraged and told I am doing a good job regularly.
That is the Truth.
Yet, my heart doesn’t let me exercise my faith in it. I fear to reach out and take possession of such love because it might only be a phantom. Against every piece of evidence, I believe my fear instead.
Shame on me.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” ~Romans 7:24-25 (NIV)
I’m tired of the struggle. I want to walk free of the need for validation from anyone but God. Who else really matters? No one, comparatively speaking. Maybe writing it out will help. I certainly hope so. Goodness knows I’ve prayed about it enough! I think. Well, probably not, actually.
Grace & Peace,