Empathy Moment - secrets and friends
This week one of these want-to-be-friends of mine revealed something about himself that I didn't previously know. It was a secret - and a big one. Something he'd been hiding from me intentionally.
At first, I reacted with feelings. Feelings of betrayal (how could you NOT tell ME FIRST!!!) feelings of low self-worth (don't you LIKE ME?!?). Etcetera, all of the normal stuff that arises before I have a chance to think about it.
Then I tried to put myself in their place. I remembered what I knew about this person. He calls himself 'closed off' and 'restrained'. He keeps his thoughts and feelings close and rarely lets people in.
Thinking about this reminded me of the way I used to feel about wearing clothes. I used to think that if I dressed in loose clothing, nobody would judge me for how my body looked. If they couldn't see it, I reasoned, they couldn't judge it. Lately I've realized that people will judge me based on exactly what they see, on exactly what I show them. If I show them baggy, hiding clothes then maybe they will judge me as a person who had something to hide.
Although I've made the conscious choice to be more open than I've ever been, I do remember what it felt like to hide behind baggy tee-shirts. It felt safe, and it felt like I wasn't going to be judged.
So I choose not to judge him for his choices. I left myself with the space to be there for him, and to step away from my selfishness.
And I hope we can be closer in the future.
Are you more open, or closed? Who are you drawn to being friends with?