Give not thyself away

Every time you reach out to someone, you give a part of yourself away. You have to hold a space for a relationship to develop. You have to take a risk which means the possibility of rejection.

Often in human-to-human interaction there is a power dynamic of giver and receiver, of actor and reactor, powerful and powerless. The one who is offering something is in a position of weakness, the other person has a position powerful enough to warrant someone else approaching them.

It is impossible to survive in this world alone, such would be a truncated existence. So we must transcend our shells and learn to interact with others. You never know when you will make a lifelong friend or start a satisfying relationship.

However, knowing when to stop is essential. And what is most important is learning the importance of keeping yourself, or not giving yourself away.

If someone is rejecting, why give them another thought? The connection can be cut away and you can regain that lost part of yourself. By undoing the initial reaching out, you cease to be rejected.

If someone is ignoring, why keep on trying with them? There are plenty of other people out there. It may make someone more mysterious if they are distant, but it is a power dynamic which is destructive to you.

It is far healthier to be discerning, to hold your dignity close to your chest. There is a balance to be struck: to be willing to try with new people but aware that it may not work.

This is the reality of human interaction. We are not all equal, nor all in equal positions. You can never fully trust someone who does not acknowledge this stark reality.

In a society of ‘words not deeds’, we are increasingly expected to trust people at face value. By what they proclaim to believe, or what they proclaim to identity as. I have learnt the hard way to look for ‘deeds before words’, to be more discerning and less trusting of others based on their surface-level bullshite. This rational cynicism has strengthened myself, and made the idealism of younger years look like the naivety it was.

To find true human connection is hard, it takes times and it takes work. But this is precisely why it is magical and worthwhile.

Trusting the world

I once saw the most intriguing insect crawling along the ridge of a bench. It was a creature which reached out with its head, forming an arch, then brought the rest of its body forward, lurching forward pace by pace.

It was young, tiny, new, full of vigour and curiosity for the world. I held out my bag to offer the creature a safer place to crawl upon. It rose up on its ‘haunches’, making a half-arch with its tiny body, reaching up and out to the new surface, buffeted by the wind and tugged upon by gravity. It hung there for a while, ‘sniffing’ out what must have appeared another vast plane of existence.

It would all be so far beyond its tiny comprehension, where it was, where it might be going, what I was, what my intentions were. This creature had no defences, no knowledge but its survival instincts, no obvious direction, no solidarity with its clan. All it could do was trust and drive itself forth. Reaching up, hanging there, it made some kind of ‘decision’ and latched onto the bag, bringing the rest of its body with it.

If beings of greater time-span and superior mind exist in the cosmos, I should imagine we are would appear much the same. With our tiny scope for perception we must always have to trust the world and trust ourselves.