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Unpopular Opinions & Relationship Responses.

If you have a beloved partner, sibling or friend who knows your soul, who "gets" you.... it is a very cherished thing to behold, particularly when you feel you are against the tide of the world in your view of something. All it may take is that ONE hand to touch you, that one comment that says, "You know... you're entitled to your unpopular opinion, no matter what anyone else says... and I support who you are and love you no matter, and I don't think you're wrong/bad/crazy." Today, I want to take a brief moment to acknowledge the significance of affirming people who love no matter what. I am fortunate to actually have more than one of those people in my life, and they are cherished. I try to extend such unconditional love to others, as long as they are not hurtful.

If I could pick "who" I would want to be beside me in such open acceptance and friendship, I would love to add several key people more, with whom I'd like a deepening trusting relationship.... if only I had the magic to make that happen to improve things... if only they could... would try to see.... me as I am... and accept.

Think about this in your own life... Do you have a mother who criticizes your life choices? Or a spouse who who despises a particular opinion you have and doesn't respect it? These are barriers to intimacy and what tends to happen is, we either avoid those who are offended by us, or become "politically correct" and "nice" in their presence. Usually this happens after years of trying more assertive ways to be understood/accepted, all of which may have fell flat or ended up exacerbating circumstances.

That's such a lonely existence sometimes when you reach a point that you know your relationship is stunted/blocked. I think that nothing seems to put this thought in perspective more blatantly than the holidays when you go face-to-face or toe-to-toe with maybe an in-law, or a family member, someone with whom you know certain subjects are just "off-limits" because they will enrage or cause argument. So everyone acts "nice" with air kisses and arm's length hugs (oh, you know the body movement I speak of... it isn't genuine, it's for "getting through" a holiday or an evening). We even tell our kids... "I know you don't like Mr. X or Miss Y, just be nice, it's only a few hours... You don't want to go? Suffer. You HAVE to go. Just shut up about about subjects a and b, because that'll just start trouble."

I have people in my life I love dearly who do not understand me. And it's funny, I think, but not in a funny-like-a-clown way.... that there are those who see me as some open hippie chick who is far too free a thinker. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are people close to me who dislike my rigid thinking on certain values important to me. And these people with opposite perspectives can be in the same room with me, each having opinion far extreme from each other in their perception of who I am.

Does anyone REALLY know you? Love you deeply? And at a certain age, does it resonate with you that some people give up hoping that they will find love and understanding? Is this the en masse loneliness each feels among hordes of people surrounding us in work and family each day? And to wit, when we retire to our rooms at night with our books or journals or tv shows or computer games-- are these substitutes for human touch, to feel connected? How is it in the human condition with so many of us... it is so hard to find peace and joy with ease and not effort or positioning? Is it THEM where the problem lies, is it ME? Is it YOU? A combination?

Have you ever heard the phrase, "We come into the world alone and we leave alone?" Is that what I mean to say? You know I write to find out what I'm thinking... and there is a sadness here.

We each have many faces. Our public persona is typically the one we wear that most people see. It's a cleaned up version of ourselves that has a detachment about us, that helps us be effective in work, parenting, social events. Our ego prevails and we become adept and competent. Oh, but what lies underneath? The private persona is revealed to few, and in some cases, maybe to no one. This private face we wear is the honest one, and it is the one that offers others close to us the greatest intimacy and yet, the exposure/risk for the deepest pains. For some, if ever injured in those close relationships, this can spark a withdrawal that is difficult from which to recover. You can leave or settle into a less honest existence. This happens all the time in marriages, friendships, with parents and children. Sometimes we bargain with ourselves and God... promising to never again allow someone in that close, lest we be judged once again, and suffer such hurt and rejection. I know myself, I say to myself: I shall never ever trust again, or let anyone in or.... or, or.... this or that.

I realize I'm writing in general terms. I'm writing about a lifetime of compiled experiences. This is not a post intended to evoke sadness or anger, although it may to anyone reading this for whom this topic resonates. Simply, this blog entry is to point out the human condition of what it means to be understood in the waves of unpopular opinion... how blessed that can feel. Oh... if only by one friend, one hand to hold... male or female, no matter... just a soul with whom to connect, who in the darkness can remind you of who you are, when you feel so rejected by others, even a most significant other or important group, whomever, for example. Sometimes, all you need is ONE friend to understand.

My heart has always weighed heavy for relationships I have or had that cannot resolve or advance due to some unpopular opinion. I have longed to find trust and love all wrapped up in one package or one partner. That's a heavy duty order that can be a set up for failure if you enter a relationship with such an expectation. We have our ideas about what a parent should be or how a lover should be, or how a friend should be. But each person operates from their own truths, sometimes they do not parallel our own.... and differences emerge.

What do we do with these differences? Agree to disagree? Try to sell our ideas to the other? Acquiesce to what is popular and try to internalize it or become something different than who we are? Dummy down the relationship and avoid topics and just be nice? Walk away because we couldn't come to terms? We do all of these things in different ways at different times, never finding a method that seems to work across the board.

As a person who is often judged as having the "unpopular opinion," I continue to learn my lesson that pontification and attempting to teach the world to sing, isn't welcomed in more instances than my ego would like. The universe continues to teach me that in choosing to "be myself" is exposure and risk. I don't know what this life force is inside of me to continue to "fight" against the tides to be authentic, but it certainly is uncomfortable and disappoints me, time and time again.

But again.... there are significant people in this world... I like to call them angels... who for whatever reason, I don't quite understand how or why, save me from the depths of despair by supporting me and my unpopular opinions in all the honesty from which they come.

I guess it would be nice to "not care" what other people think... there is something to be said for striking a balance in being open and loving and accepting of others, knowing when to walk away, knowing what are the best actions to take in the face of discomfort, compromise/negotiate, and all the things that make relationships work. Even the greatest psychologists and gurus of healthy thinking STILL recognize the complexity of human relationships and the unique potential for each.

I hope today that you have someone in your life who helps you get along. I hope that you are a friend or lover to someone who needs you, too. I hope you, reading this, do not feel alone and unpopular in opinion, or if you do feel unpopular in opinion, that you are rich with confidence in that opinion, not letting anyone get in your way for what is right for you.

I believe in love. I believe in humanity.... even in the darkness. Like now. And I have good friends who help me.


Jilly said...

i joke that my best friend V is my heterosexual life partner, meaning that if anything happened to my guy, she'd probably move in and be lavern to my shirley. We don't agree on 100%, but we agree on 97%, the last 3% doesn't really matter anyway.

tonight my guy and i had a talk. I looked at him and said, "you know my birthday and SS#, but what medication am i allergic to? What medications do I take every day?"

him: "How should i know?"

me: "you're allergic to the medicine in robotussin and phernergin. every day you take acephex and a men's one a day i nag you to take and you're supposed to take a claritin but you hate it so you don't. You' have these medical problems and have had these surgeries (ratteled off a list)."

him: "how do you know that off your head?"

me: "what medication does the baby take and what's she allergic to?"

him: "i don't know, i wouldn't know where to begin."

me "call V (my best friend), she knows the answer to all of these questions."

him: "what's your point?"

me: "if anyhting ever happens to me and mandolin, you'd better have V's number."

it's not that he loves us less because he's clueless about every day things, like how many pills i pop, but he's not a details person. to be fair, i should write it all down and stick it in his wallet, but perhaps he could take charge of that too?

Anyway, i think people know us to the extent we allow them to know us. There are some people i tolerate or even love due to relation but these are the only htings holding us together, otherwise we'd never see each other.

I would give my guy any information he wanted to know, but some things don't even occur to him. On another note, recently our bank had to issue new ATM cards and pins to everyone due to a dataleak. I have no idea what our new bank information is and probably should find out, but i haven't physically been to our bank in at least 18 months. in an emergency i'd be just as screwed as he would be, so we're a matched set.

Spidey said...

interesting post. i wish i had time now to respond.
perhaps later.


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