I’m pretty aware that this may start out with me sounding like a guy. I watch and tweet along with some of these shows like Being Mary Jane and Scandal and I think to myself “Can everyone just got over themselves?” Granted, the conflict and the drama are what make the shows entertaining because they’re mostly thoughts that people really do have. But damn, get a grip!
For example: Kara, Mary Jane’s producer was being standoffish to the new guy because what it all boils down to is she’s been hurt. She was about to stand him up for dinner and when she got there she fussed at him when she was wrong. It just screamed “I’m afraid to put myself out there.”
What Are We So Afraid Of?
I throw myself in here because I have been there. Truth be told, I just might be there now. The simple answer is history. Last week, I wrote about how we are dating using a dated model and I said that we are settling down much older which means that we all come with baggage. If a majority of our romantic experiences have ended with failure, anguish, and some kind of pain of course when we meet someone new we are going to rely heavily on our experience. The thing is most of our exposure to relationships is hurt.
Understanding the Difference Between Resilience and Perseverance
Hurt is a primary emotion. When we encounter something that does harm to us we react instinctively. Our hearts may be resilient but love is about perseverance. To be resilient means that after stress one returns to form. A guitar string vibrates once it is plucked and eventually buoys back and forth until it is once again still. Perseverance is the Energizer Bunny that keeps going in spite of bumping into walls and running through fires or anything else we’ve seen him go through in those commercials.
Once our heart rests we are left with the experiences that stay logged in our emotional memory. We never want to feel the way that we did like that time we gave our all to someone and they did away with us like we meant nothing. Trust was broken so we attempt to control how we give it yet we want what comes along with doing just that.
Like love, persevere is a verb. One continues after and sometimes while in the midst of recovery. It always perseveres because essentially it keeps no record of wrong…even the wrong that has been done to us.
The Game of Chicken
When beginning a new relationship it feels as if the first one to admit feelings, says “I love you,” etc. is the one that loses. It’s as if when things get real the person on the receiving end begins to retreat even if they share the same sentiments.
Bringing it back to Kara on Being Mary Jane, clearly both of them have a mutual interest. At first, Gael is the only one who is willing to keep trying (that gets hurtful after a while). One is consumed with how this could make them feel as opposed to someone they genuinely like and their feelings.
Gael is demonstrating perseverance while Kara seems to still be in recovery. That’s actually a good thing. Sometimes we need to be shown the way. After my daughter’s mother passed away, I met someone that I thought was worth actually trying again for. She had some scars of her own and that made for some pretty interesting stories. She had said and done some pretty hurtful things. But my attitude was I felt that she was worth it. So I was the one who was constantly putting myself out there. I wanted to show her that I was someone worth trusting–even though it made me feel very awkward. In the sense of her and I, I wound up taking many losses and driving off of that proverbial cliff playing chicken. But if that’s what it took to earn trust then so be it.
My logic going into it was if things don’t work out then I am coming out of this knowing that I could once again feel a way I didn’t think was possible. The reward was worth the risk of being vulnerable.
So, try it sometimes… I know you’re scared. So was I.