During lunch today, I spoke about how my experiences in life have given me “permission” to be passive. I’ve written about this before (read my entry from a couple of years ago), however it’s always interesting to revisit these thoughts to see how things may have changed, how I may have changed.
Since first having these insights, I’ve realized that this tension exists in so many parts of our lives and I’ve been trying to actively live my life by learning about myself, making decisions that reflect the person that I am, the values that have been developing in me, etc.
This has been most evident recently in my interactions with others. Whereas before my self-analysis has revolved around decisions directly related to my own person (jobs, marriage, etc) I’m now beginning to see how I’m continuing in my passive ways at it relates to building relationships.
It has far more often than not been the case for me that because I’ve looked “the part” relationships have “just happened.” In many cases, these relationships were often shallow but were convenient. This is not to say that these relationships were of lesser value, just built on a passive foundation and were not long-lasting. As time, distance, or difference began to separate these relationships, they were not actively preserved because they were not actively pursued in the beginning.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), it is very much the case that many of my experiences now require the opposite to be true. In other words, to begin relationships, I have to begin to make decisions about which type of relationships (and perhaps people) I want to pursue. Who are the people and what are the characteristics that I want to introduce to or reinforce in my life? Even further, I need to “make the first move” in building these relationships – I need to strike up conversation.
This is a foreign concept for me. I enjoy being around people, but as with the employment opportunities and other issues referenced in my 2007 post, my relationships have almost exclusively been built passively – out of convenience, or proximity. Again, this is not to say that I do not value these relationships. Rather, this highlights the fear and ignorance with which I am approaching new relationships.
Perhaps there is a lack of confidence, a fear of rejection. I can’t rule them out.
Most likely though, I simply don’t know how to make friends.
But I’m learning. I know it’s a problem and I know what to do to rectify the problem.
Now, it’s a matter of finding the motivation.