8.19.2012

delayed honesty

Here is a mystery for you.  Perhaps you've heard of or personally experienced the following scenario:

A couple that had been dating, for however long, ends up breaking up, for whatever reason.  A well meaning friend or relative confides in one of the involved parties.  "Honestly, I didn't much care for him/her to begin with.  I'm glad y'all broke up."

The mystery:  Why didn't the well meaning friend or relative express their opinion before the couple broke up?

I've thought of a few plausible solutions.

Perhaps they are lying.  They are simply saying such things only in an attempt to comfort the jilted party.  What's wrong with this?  Lying is not good.  Ever.  Honesty is best.

If it really is their honest opinion, then maybe they were too shy to express it before.  They didn't want to cause problems for the couple.  Now, it's one thing to tell your friend, "I don't like your boyfriend/girlfriend" without any real reason or basis for your opinion.  But if you actually do have genuine concerns regarding what you've seen in their relationship, then you need to say them confidentially and honestly.

Maybe the involved parties neglected to confide in anyone any issues or concerns they had about their own relationship.  If no one is told that anything is wrong, then how is anyone supposed to form an honest opinion of the situation?  Once again, lying in not good.  Honesty is best.

If you do have genuine concerns about the relationship of a close friend or relative, don't wait until after they've gone down in flames to tell them.  Be brave and be honest.

I know this is the second post in a row I've written about relationships.  I write about what's on my mind and I suppose this has been on my mind the most lately.  Considering that the last time I wrote about relationships was early last month, I think that's ok.  Maybe next time I'll have something different to write about.  :)


8.17.2012

when you're ready

"Love when you're ready, not when you're lonely."

The above quote isn't a Bible verse, and I don't know where it originated, but it makes a lot of sense.

You shouldn't rush into a relationship simply because you are lonely and craving companionship.  Relationships take a lot of work and if you're not ready to put forth your share of the effort, then you need to step back and wait.

We like to be loved.  You can go ahead and admit that it's nice when you know someone cares about you and what's going on in your life.  It makes you feel good.  But if you rely only on the love and affirmation of others to make you feel good, you will be disappointed.  None of us are perfect which means we don't all love each other all the time like we should.  If you find comfort only in the love of the people around you and not in God's love, you're in for some heartache.

You don't have to be in a relationship all the time.  In fact, there are some times in your life when it might actually be better for you to remain single.

High school kids, don't think it's the end of the world if you don't date anyone while you're in high school.  Oh yes, I know the hormones are going crazy and you've been eyeing that classmate of yours who is so cute and funny.  But my advice to you is to not go for it.  Teenagers + relationships + hormones = drama.  Save yourself the frustration and wait until you're older to start dating.

College kids, it's not the end of the world for you either if you don't date anyone while you're in college.  I've come to learn that college and your early twenties are when you're really figuring out who you are as an adult.  You're learning how to become a functioning member of society.  All of this learning likely means you'll be doing some changing during this time too.  You'll change your major, change your school, study abroad, have lots of different jobs, and have lots of different friends.  The person you were when you started college isn't going to be the same person who finally graduates.  Trying to maintain a stable relationship during this time of learning and changing is difficult.  You might turn into completely different people, you might grow apart, who knows.  Give yourself time on your own to grow and change at your own pace.  Throughout our lives we never really stop growing and changing, but college and your twenties seem to be when it happens the most, so take your time becoming familiar with who you are instead of rushing into a relationship with someone who is also growing and changing.

People out of college... Technically, I do fall into this category even though I've only been out of college for a little over a year.  We'll call this category "Twenty-two Years Old and Up" so it fits a little better and includes people who maybe didn't go to college.  By this time, you're probably starting to feel like "time is running out" to be in a relationship.  You look around and see a lot of your friends are married and having babies while you're still single.  I know six couples who have gotten married since late May and next month I'll be attending the wedding of a co-worker.  This doesn't even include the several friends my age who have already been married for over a year.  It feels like you're running of time, like the walls are closing in.  Don't panic.  Don't let loneliness or pressure from others push you into a relationship you shouldn't be in.

This doesn't quite fit the subject of this post, but it is important so I'll put it down anyways.  In relationships, it can be very easy to use the excuse, "Well, we're going to get married, so it's ok" to justify certain things.  I myself am guilty of doing this.  Whether you're engaged or not, don't let the excuse of, "We're going to get married" justify things that shouldn't be happening.  My advice to you is that if you are using this excuse and it makes you feel guilty, you need to step back and reevaluate your relationship.  Don't let your expectations or the expectations of other trap you in a bad situation.  

"Love when you're ready, not when you're lonely."

Last month I said that I have things I need to work through before I'm really ready to be in a relationship again.  Sometimes I can be impatient, so it's nice to have friends who keep me in check and tell me to slow down.  Don't let impatience, loneliness, and peer pressure put you in relationships you shouldn't be in.  Wait until you're ready.


8.06.2012

don't say it

I'm going to talk about something very personal.  Something that really frustrates me.  Do not be offended.  I am not pointing fingers at anyone.  Just hear me out, please.

My bone structure is small.  I am thin.  I do not weigh a lot.  This is the way God made me and I am perfectly content with what He has done.

There is so much emphasis put on appearances, exercising, being healthy, being beautiful, etc..  A fake, unattainable standard is set and we are all pressured to live up to it.  People who are furthest from this phony ideal are thought to be the most insecure and the most likely to suffer ridicule about their supposed shortcomings.  If we follow this line of thinking, then those who are closest to this "perfect" standard should be the most assured of their "perfectness" and therefore immune to remarks about their appearances.

This is all a load of crap.

No matter what standards are in place or how we are created, no one has a right to criticize anyone about anything that is not their business.

Just because I am thin and my appearance is close to what is socially accepted as "beautiful" or whatever other nonsense there is, this does not mean I am not affected by the supposedly harmless comments people make about my body and appearance.

"How much do you weigh?  Ninety pounds?"

"Is that all you're having for breakfast?  I know you're small, but..."

"Have you lost weight?  You look thinner."

"You need to eat a cheeseburger!"

Saying things like this to anyone is not ok.  Not ok.  No matter someone's size, shape, weight, appearance, etc., it is not ok to make remarks about things that are not your business.  Unless someone asks for your opinion, it is not ok to say things about their appearance or what they eat.

It really frustrates me when people tell me these things when I have never asked their opinion.  They do not realize that their seemingly harmless comment is actually quite hurtful.  Whether or not someone is confident in their appearance, you cannot say such insensitive things to them.

I really wish people knew this and would be more mindful of what they say.


friendships

Have you ever heard someone talk about a past relationship and they say something like, "It didn't work out, but we can at least be friends."  Or maybe you were on the receiving end of a break up conversation and were told, "... but I want to still be friends," or "... I want to be just friends."  Using the words "at least" "still" and "just" in these ways almost makes the word "friends" sound like a derogatory term.  We get the impression that somehow friendship is a less serious attachment than a romantic relationship.  I am guilty of thinking this way but I think it's time to reevaluate this point of view.

What puts friendships lower than romantic relationships?  Why do we think friendship requires less effort and commitment?  Why do we make successful romantic relationships the goal and use friendship as a backup plan?

I think in some ways friendship can be more important than a romantic relationship.  Dating and romance can be messy when things don't turn out as we hoped.  What happens then?  When expectations for a romantic relationship aren't met, disappointment and confusion ensues.  Who do you turn to when your significant other is no longer your significant other?  Friends.

Something I have come to appreciate recently is how friendships can stand the test of time.  Granted, not all friends are the super close friends you can share anything with, but there are special exceptions.  There are those friendships that no matter how much time goes by and how much you don't stay in touch, you are still friends.  When you do talk, it's like no time has gone by at all.  You still support each other, care about each other, and have good times together.

No matter how many romantic relationships you're in and how many of them don't turn out as you hoped, it's important to have those stable, supporting friendships in your life.  We're all looking for love.  We're all looking for "the one" we're supposed to be with.  A happy marriage, faithful spouse, and loving family are all wonderful, important things to strive for.  Romance and families are important, but we can't get so caught up in finding love that we forget the significance of strong friendships.

We can't continue through life alone.  When romance and families fail us, we still need supportive friendships to fall back on.