It is incredibly easy to hold on to people and things too tight to remedy for our inner turmoil.
Do you have relationships that are challenging or have failed because of being tight fisted? Do people in your life say you are clingy? Have you described someone as high maintenance and demanding? Have you been described as such? What could the cause of this be?
I spent time digging into my life and found that whenever I was feeling lost and lonely or I was dealing with difficult things I had a few default responses. I would hold on tightly to the people around me and use them to validate my feelings; I would pretend to be okay but inside there is a war raging driven by anger and sadness because people couldn’t see my pain; I would stand in the corner terrified by my life and expect people to see I wasn’t okay so they would come and ask. How did I expect that to happen if I didn’t speak up?
I was stunned to realise that I wanted my people to be mine and no one else’s.
I wanted monopoly over their lives and attention. I wanted them to drop everything and come to listen to me regardless of where they are. I wanted them to answer my calls and messages immediately even during work hours. I wanted them to just know internally when I wasn’t ok and o know the actual thing that was ailing me. I wanted to be the focus of the lives around me that were core to my survival.
In time I had to realise that no one can be forced to be around me nomatter how much they say they love me and no one can really understand me unless they have an interest in doing so and have a divine instruction and revelation to stay around. Why? We are all special and not everyone is built to live and deal with us. There is a specific core. I also realised that this kind of connection is a two way street so I wanted their attention and devotion I needed to be willing to return the same attention and devotion.
I remember telling a friend, and I may have said it here, everyone in my life is categorised.
The journey to wellness and balance demanded a shift to a more realistic view of me and life. Everyone has a place and each place as a sense of expectancy to a certain end. It means that those in the inner circle have greater access to my inner sanctum and can ask questions and demand accountability. The further out one gets the less access they have to personal information. Why? Not everyone needs to know and not everyone can handle the inside of me. Sounds simple enough no?
My people and I can read each other from a distance, from the tone of a message or unction in the spirit. The part that really fascinates me is how deep the freedom to call one another out goes. There is little we can’t talk about and lots of strength we share one to another. We are driven to see each other become better people so where there is foolish we address it, sadness we assess and engage it, challenges we resolve them, joy we celebrate loud, long and hard.
The caution though, is to remain an individual even as part of the tribe.
Sometimes, when the journey has been long and arduous, it is easy to lean into people so much that they become the ones living our lives for us and directing every step. This isn’t healthy. Pillars are important to a building but they aren’t the whole structure and the same applies to our people. It became a stark reality that I needed to find and make space within and around me for myself and my people to feel free to be away and be confident that they will come back and the experience would make us stronger.
It has been quite a learning to curve to understand and accept that my people have friends and support pillars outside me and I cannot change that. In fact, these outside engagements could be the key to making our connection deeper. Even harder was the ability to give them the freedom to not only be away, but also to be silent even for months on end trusting that when they resurface we will be able to reconnect. (The silence for months is my current lesson…wah!!!) This applies to friendships, family connections and even marriages. So often we think that unless we do everything together in marriage we aren’t a unit now I know that to be rather false.
I found that, having and pursuing personal interests on one’s own adds incredible depth and variety.
It has been hard to realise that I may not know everything about every member of my tribe, but I must be grateful I at least know most of the things. The thing that gave me the most freedom was the realisation that these other friendships and interactions add so many dimensions to our connection through diverse experiences, interactions, ideas and expressions.
It also dawned in time that if I want to rise as an individual who is part of a strong tribe, there are people in my tribe who want the same. Could I be the one holding them back by my application of behaviour, culture and traditions that are archaic and non-beneficial? As I have interacted with more and more young people, I also realised that there are things we are the older generation see as the bedrock of relational stability that mean nothing to them because they don’t have the same social context as we do. This forced me to think through finding ways to connect with people around what is important to them and show them what is important to me.
So I say love deeply, connect honestly but hold loosely.
Holding loosely demands that I deal with the fear, anxiety and pain within me that demands I have certain people and conditions around me for stability. Holding loosely means I must address and resolve the internal sources of uncertainty that make me feel imbalanced. Holding loosely means I trust God to know and orchestrate the right elements for my growth and rise. Holding loosely means I have to trust that the value I give to my tribe is enough to keep them coming back. Holding loosely means that when a member of the tribe needs to leave, I can allow them that privilege without guilt trips and fear.
Holding loosely means that I can admit when I need help and find it even if it means looking for it externally. Holding loosely means I take responsibility for my inner state and do all I can to resolve the challenges and build strength. Holding loosely means I love, accept and forgive me first then share the same grace to my tribe and the rest of the world. Holding loosely means I am can forgive and move on even if the other party isn’t exactly repentant because forgiveness is for me. Holding loosely is letting go of the pain and learning to live without expectation but full of expectancy. Holding loosely is learnt over time and gives freedom to love oneself and grow into the most beautiful version of myself.
Here’s to holding loosely!!