Over the years, I've received over a thousand emails from individuals sharing the intimate details of their broken life. For some, it's the decline of their mediocre marriage. For others, it's the frustration of their collapsing career. But one thing is for sure, I'm not the person they should be turning to for help.
The sure-fire sign of a community-less person is the act of parceling out the details of deep needs to an inappropriate person in an inappropriate place.
Sure, I write articles on creating the business and family you love. Many people follow me online and expect that I possess the intellectual solutions these very people are looking for. However, I am a stranger to these people. I am relationally and geographically inappropriate to these people.
But let's understand what's truly happening here... More often than not, people run from what's hard. We would rather share the broken and embarrassing areas of our lives with complete strangers than muster the vulnerability and humility required to open up to those who know us, who are close to us, and who are responsible to us.
In other words, we block or prevent the forming of deep relationships by outsourcing the very circumstances in which cause depth to occur.
While this might seem harmless to the untrained eye, this pattern of behavior is the removal of the maturity engine responsible for growth, progression, and ultimately, success.
But in my experience, it starts even deeper. For many, the avoidance of real relationships is a maneuver to uphold a harmful spirit of independence. It's the move to dodge growth and remain accountable to no one. Furthermore, this way of living flourishes among leaders who self-medicate with other isolated individuals as they affirm their on-going state of hollow, unconnected relationship.
Bottom line, people who bring strangers to the deep end of the pool is the sign of a person evading relationship and drowning in their own isolation.
Below, I have briefly outlined three common justifications used by these individuals. Justifications and excuses which, in my humble opinion, have simple solutions. I have offered my commentary for your consideration.
1. I don’t have access to good people
I hear this one all the time. In other words, "the people closest to me don't meet the criteria I require to speak into my life." As leaders, we must remember that it's not a professional credential which qualifies someone to hear and respond to our burdens. Instead, it's history, safety, and trust. All elements which are absent in the acquaintance of a stranger. Essentially, "good people" are likely the ones right next to you. Furthermore, the confession and invitation into these moments is often the catalyst of healing the most broken areas of our lives.
2. Nobody taught me how to do this
While this might be a true statement, we are responsible for our own growth. Relational development, however, is a "learn by doing, not learning to do" endeavor. Meaning, the teaching is self-subscribed or self-avoided. Now, learning about the importance of healthy relationship is an acceptable practice, nevertheless, it does not excuse us from confronting the tough and vulnerable moments required to put real experience under our belts.
3. I’ve been hurt too many times
As leaders, we must learn the difference between being hurt and being harmed. Hurt is often the stimulation of incredible growth. Harm is often the source of incredible pain. The danger occurs when we allow hurtful moments to become harmful to our journey.
We must never forget this truth: Deep relationships are here to heal you not hurt you. Confession and closeness never occur without risk. Regardless of how much you've been harmed, it's my belief that true healing will not come from the avoidance of closeness, but through a close relationship with God. Remember, hurt people hurt people. But those who have found ultimate healing through a relationship their Father in Heaven will finally find the strength to return back to deep waters with safe people.
There's nothing easy about relationships. But it's people who bring the increase in our development. We can read books, watch videos, and email strangers until we're blue in the face—but the only true path to a vibrant life is through the relentless commitment to the people right next to us.
A Possible Solution
In my experience, relationships thrive with direction. But if your direction is unclear you might put a great deal of effort in the wrong relationship. If you feel lost, my wife and I wrote new his and her’s books to help bring clarity to your calling, to your relationships, and to your purpose. They’re titled: “Find Your Calling: Discover What You’re Meant To Do: A 21-Day Guide For Him/Her". Consider reading these on your journey toward real relationships. The books are short, interactive, and cheap. Get your copy by clicking the link below.
What about you? Was this article helpful? Have you met people walkinh in isolation? Let me know in the comments below.