Tuesday, 19 February 2013

When reflection is not simply projection

I wore a wig last week - just for the fun of it. I also wore false eyelashes. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that,  but if it got to the stage where I couldn't go out without fluttering large nylon lashes - I would become one of those women that have to get up at 6am to stop the world realising that without props - I am as short lashed as the next woman. You can only keep it up for so long.

So someone wrote a dating profile for me recently. It is something I shall revisit - there is far to much fodder in the process not to. But there were two things that really stood out for me and whilst both were very different - one a description of my traits and the other what kind of man I would need - they are intrinsically linked. Because both relate to the same word - honesty.

It is true, as they stated - that I can be overly analytical. It was a fair summary - to a point. For what I have come to realise, is that I am only overly analytical with people who are not honest about who they are, or what they want. Someone  asked me recently, how I am so good at maintaining great friendships with male friends and yet so poor at choosing the right relationship. As a female with possibly more male friends than female - it was worthy of consideration.

And then the light bulb moment occurred. I have higher standards for friendships. And since I only enter true friendships with people I can trust - I analyse nothing. And it is why such friendships are so precious - total of acceptance of another and total trust.

Relationships are a whole different matter. I have a sorry history of getting close to people that I don't trust. I don't trust them because they are not honest about who they are to themselves, let alone anyone else. And yet it all comes out and for a brief period they feel relief that someone 'gets' them, but since we generally feel more comfortable in our own self fulfilling prophecies - when it all gets a bit too much - I scare them. Furthermore, since I have never really believed their is such a thing as a safe relationship, I have dated in my comfort zone. Unsafe ones.

Which is ironic really, since the ability to have insight into the issues of others is invariably because we recognise something in that behaviour. The men that I know who are petrified of people getting too close, seeing past their outer bravado - they offer little surprise. I only know what makes them tick since I see it in myself. The key difference is that they are so focused on themselves they are incapable of considering others. In observing them, I learn a little more about myself and become a little more understanding of how far I need to push myself out of my own comfort zone. And I will.

So logic would dictate that I would date my male friends, but I will never risk jeopardising such good relationship with the quagmire that is emotion. I feel perfectly comfortable, until they are too nice - and then I start analysing why. One male chum recently left a 'Love you lots' post-it note on my kettle. It made me smile. Briefly - until my mind went into overdrive analysing whether there was an expectation to our friendship. Of course I know there isn't but lets face it - if one thing freaks me out - it is someone who is genuinely affectionate with no agenda. It is outside my comfort zone. Equally - since I now see it as a pre-requisite for new relationship standards, I know that I have to get past that irrational response. And I will.

So I could run from spontaneous shows of affection. I could dismiss friendships where there is too much loving going on and my natural inclination is to do just that. Yet, I also know that running from what is good for us, is a default setting for the emotionally afflicted and it's a pattern I have no wish to repeat.

And so my dating profile claimed I need a confident man. Having initially agreed, a week of pondering has made me realise that I don't need a confident man - I need an honest one. I am not convinced that anyone is entirely confident and a relationship is the one place where we should be able to be honest about our lack of confidence. A good relationship is not about hiding insecurities or indeed, masking them with overly confident baloney that hides our true self. Indeed, those inclined to do so are normally masking such huge insecurity that the only thing they know for sure - is that they never feel good enough.

Honesty, is the ability to communicate the lack of confidence that we all experience from time to time. Surely a great relationship can only be one in which you are truly yourself, one in which the other person accepts you for who you are -  and as much as we all believe that is what we want - many of us are not in a place where we can be honest with our self, let alone anyone else.

We hae all done it. I have been immensely accepting of men - only to realise that they have lied for such a large part of their existence, that the mere whiff of total acceptance from another half sees them scurrying into the hills. Gees, imagine having to be honest about yourself for the rest of your life when the lying has worked so well.

So we date in our comfort zone. We date people that allow us to perpetuate the life long lies we have concocted to protect ourselves from the reality of who we really are - which is vulnerable. We date people that mess with our heads because we have spent so many years needing to outwit a partner, it's the only thing that feels safe. We date people that cannot be trusted because we believe deep down, that no one can be trusted. We date people that make us feel needed because without feeling needed, we feel nothing. We date people that we have to analyse what they do, because deep down we don't believe anyone wants nothing more than just us.

But lies don't work. If they did, most of us wouldn't  end up with relationships which are never really quite enough. More than this, we wouldn't end up in relationships in which we know deep down the red flags were waving but the fear of doing something totally different was greater that accepting the truth.

Imagine a relationship in which what your heart really wanted didn't terrify you, in which you didn't run from things that are good for you, simply because it was outside your comfort zone, outside your personal history. Imagine the freedom of being totally honest about what you really want.

I don't need a confident man.

I need an honest one

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