Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Keeping Safe

     I was given some advice awhile ago which has slowly proved itself a principle I really need to begin to accept and use if I wish to stay on the right path. The advice was this, that I needed to "watch my relationships (friendships) with guys and really evaluate why I chose to be their friends", because I was making a lot of relationships with guys because I was attracted to them, and while I wasn't consciously doing it, I was making the relationship with them because I wanted to be intimately close with them.
     When I first got this advice, I was pretty upset. I felt like I was being accused and told to restrict my friendships with guys, which (if you've read My Story) was a pretty bad idea, kinda like taking steps backwards instead of forward. I wasn't thinking of what the advice really entailed, rather, I became defensive and stuck in my own stubbornness. It wasn't until later that I actually saw the advice for what it really was.
     One of my friends who I met through work wasn't always the most accepting. He seems to be one of those people who hasn't yet come to understand what it means to love everyone and not judge. Well, I felt like he was becoming one of my really good friends. He was LDS as well, and he had even invited me to his ward once. I had turned to him for advice before, and while it was often passive, and sometimes hurtful, it usually worked and I felt like I could trust him. I ended up making the decision to reveal my attractions to him. I did it very passively and slowly, but eventually I told him.
     He didn't react the way I had hoped, in fact many times he tried to drill into me his belief that I chose my attractions, and in defense I constantly defended myself saying I would never have chosen something that brought me so much pain and isolation. Before coming out to him, he had always treated me pretty kindly and fairly, but after telling him, he shut me out in many ways. He no longer wanted to touch me, no high-fives, handshakes,  friendly hugs, or anything like that, which began in my mind, though unconsciously, to replay all my experiences with 'Chris' and other boys in my early life. He never talked to me the same as he did before I came out to him, and his advice slowly became more uniform and it seemed like he gave it quick and reluctantly to get me off his back.
     I suppose there are a lot of people who would've broken off the friendship by now, but I wasn't willing to let go. To be honest, I was attracted to him. I wanted him to care about me, I wanted him in my life, yet continually he pushed me away. I became angry and hurt, particularly towards God because my friendship wasn't working out. I felt like he was my one guy friend who would actually talk to me, I didn't want to lose him. Though the friendship was becoming emotionally draining and even destructive for me, I wasn't willing to turn away. I kept crawling back, even after I had promised myself I was done with him.
     Slowly I began to realize that what I was fighting for wasn't going to work, no matter how much I tried to make it. I had to come to the hard realization that while I did care for him as a brother, friend, and fellow human being, I wasn't in the friendship for the right reasons. I slowly came to the realization I was taking some things too personally and being obsessive even. I had to take a step back and look at what I was doing to even realize why.
     I am still friends with him, but I give him a lot more space now, and whenever I notice I'm doing something because I'm attracted to him and not because I actually care about his goals, I take a step back and stop myself. Sure, the attraction is still there, but I've been able to control it instead of letting it control me.
     I guess what I am trying to say is I've finally come to understand the advice that I was given. The advice wasn't saying I needed to avoid males, or even that I had to break off friendships. It meant I needed to be realistic. I needed to see things in a way that would better me and those around me. My attractions were controlling me, but now I'm controlling them.
     One other thing I've gotten from that advice as well is that I need to set up strict boundaries with others. Especially other males. There needs to be lines in place that I set for myself to avoid unwanted misery, grief, or pain because I've gotten into a situation or made a decision that hinders me spiritually. My boundaries need to be in place before I ever get into a situation where something could happen.
     I love all of you and I wish you all the best! Good luck and blessings in your journey through life! God be with you all, and may your relationships be safe and fulfilling

8 comments:

  1. Mitchell, you seem to be very mature in your ability to be 'self reflective'. So many people don't take the time to evaluate their life and relationships. That alone is a great quality, and then, to put forth the effort to change your thinking, learn to manage your emotions, and see things more realistically...... WOW. Good for you young man :)

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate it! And yeah, it's definitely not always the easiest thing to do, and I have often had to learn the hard way, but I'm slowly improving! Thanks again!

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  2. Excellent post Mitchell. Boundaries are healthy for continuing friendships.

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    1. Thank you Bravone! I appreciate it

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  3. Good post!
    I'm sorry that ended up happening to you. Something similar ended up happening to me last summer but it also set me on the path of understanding, so to speak. It also helped me realize that I need to be careful how I choose my friends, what I let influence me.

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    1. Thank you Mika!
      I really appreciate it. And while it was hard for me, it also really helped me grow. I apologize that something similar happened to you, but I'm glad that it was able to help you out and bring you some important realizations.
      Thank you again!

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    2. For someone as young as you are you seem like you've got a good head on your shoulders, you're letting your experiences shape you in a good way. I wish I would've been had the same insights you have now about five years ago. Keep doing what you're doing, I think you'll be fine.

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    3. Thank you! That means a lot to me, and I've definitely had a lot of great people in my life to help me along the way. God has also been a big help to me in learning to understand myself and others. I appreciate it Mika! I'll keep pressing forward

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