I recently came across this quote by Normal Fischer:
We become numb and isolated because we want to avoid the suffering, but it’s the
numbness and isolation that feel the worst. When we break through the unnecessary
suffering and connect with others, it’s hard and it’s painful, but it’s also better. When we
open up to the real pain of caring for others, we do feel better
This speaks volumes about how I once dealt with close relationships. I had become quite proficient at distancing in order to maintain my own sense of “safety.” By avoiding the suffering of friendship and caring for others (particularly new people) I had learned how to be able to avoid the potential hurt of caring for others.
This has changed for me in the past few years, but it takes a lot of work (and is on-going). I find myself often overwhelmed (when I am not doing my own self-care) by the sheer pain/dissatisfaction/sadness of other people. This is a gentle reminder that it is through facing this vulnerability we build stronger connective tissue. Strong connections take work. They involve suffering, and they are not pleasant. It is, however, in moving through this unpleasantness that we can build the safety nets of true community participation that I think we all really crave.
Be well, friends
***As an aside, “suffering” here denotes a personal uncomfortability and emotional turmoil/unpleasantness. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship that is something to correct/leave/ find support for as soon as is safely possible. Look out for one another. ***