Finding the middle ground

I’m not going to lie, I struggle with people. In general. I love people as they are, but I also tend to really thrive off of the affirmation of others. I think we all do. However, there are times when my worth is derived off of what others say of me. Lately I’ve been working to ditch some of this baggage and simply be who I am, regardless of the opinions of others. The problem with this is that there’s two extremes of this spectrum. On one end, you can become an asshole who doesn’t care about anyone’s opinions or needs. On the other end, you can become so sensitive to what people say and do that it breaks you into a million pieces when you don’t receive approval. I’m slowly working my way to the asshole end of the spectrum. I don’t want to achieve full asshole status, but I’ve learned that it’s too painful to live at the other end. I’m searching for the middle ground.

We live in such an individualistic society. Our serving sizes, large as they may be, are designed for the individual. Success is defined as being able to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make something of yourself. We put in our ear buds and walk across campus without speaking to another human being.

I was reminded this week of the horrible and beautiful truth that we as humans need one another. We need one another’s presence. We need people who we can eat lunch with, run with, tell dirty jokes with, share stories with, and sit in silence with when we’re depressed. We need people who can prepare the table for us, lay a hand on our shoulder, and plead to God on our behalf when we don’t have the words.

So I’m working towards the middle ground, a place where I am loving those around me, in addition to being gentle with their emotions and personal needs. However, I’m done trying to defend my beliefs and actions. I won’t try to convert you to my way of thinking, but I’m done having to make a case for myself. It’s tiring trying to please everybody. I won’t apologize for who I am. I won’t apologize for believing that God is bigger and more loving than I ever could have imagined. I won’t stuff my questions, doubts, and fears. I’ll bring them to God and quit worrying (easier said than done) about whether those questions, doubts, or fears are acceptable to the majority.

My apologies if this sounded more like a rant than something thought-provoking, but hopefully others can relate.