Sunday, December 12

Being Socially "Self-Sufficient"

Social life is so awkward and strange. When I need friends, I could easily come off as needy, and people who I'd like to know feel they don't have the time or desire to invest in a relationship. When I don't need friends, and have an established social circle, I find that circle ever widening as people want to be a part. The two extremes move further and further apart, with an impassable divide in the middle... and somehow I find myself switching sides more often than I thought possible.

Moving from social butterfly to recluse is actually pretty easy to manage. My friends get married, I move, or suddenly change of circumstance means we see less and less of one another. I'm not very good at keeping in touch, even though I try, and so friendships disappear without a trace, no fanfare... Only the rare reunion. It's happened plenty of times. I feel like I have friends, people I can talk with, and people I could call at a moment's notice, and then they disappear. It's probably my fault, but I haven't been able to determine why it happens or how to prevent it yet. It just happens, and it leaves me on the other side of the gap - feeling like I have no one to talk to and no really good friends in life.

And so enters the tenet of social self-sufficiency. I've never been able to pull off the "I'm shy" motif; people think I'm just too good to talk with them. And so the only way to make friends is to act as if I already have them... which requires social self sufficiency. Being socially self-sufficient means that I'm ok being alone... indefinitely... and giving in relationships even when I feel like I need others for support. Leaning on others doesn't seem to work in my case; I need to reach out and lift them, and then they will be willing to lift me. So I organize events and make clubs, set up games and try to involve everyone - essentially doing what I wish someone would do for me. And then something miraculous happens. The Lord meets my own personal needs or He helps me to gain friends who can. I still can't say that I have super-close friends... But at least I can say that I am trying to be a friend to those in need. And, ultimately, that's more important. Yeah. I'd love to have someone to really, truly confide in - someone who shares my dreams and hopes and understands my view of the world. Someone who would be there for me in an instant, and for whom I would give my life. Maybe I'll have to wait until I find a wife to find a friend like that, but in the meantime I have the Lord. He is my strength and my help, the Friend who has been through it all at my side. When no one else wanted to, or could, understand, He was always there for me. And He always will be.

I guess that's what the Lord expects of me and why He puts me in situations that require social "self-sufficiency" - so that I'm more reliant on Him and so that I continue to reach out to others. I'm really not a super-social person; if I weren't constantly feeling friendless, I probably wouldn't care much about others. But since I have the same experience, it means that I'm willing to put something of myself on the line to meet my own needs... And also help others in the same boat. I give unto men weakness that they may turn unto me... and if they will turn unto me I will make their weakness strong unto them...


  1. I've been following your blog for a month or so now and have read every post you have written. There are so many things that I have wanted to say to you but think, "who am I to give this person advice?" Well tonight I felt like I needed to finally say a few things.
    I can see who you are through your writing and I can also tell that you aren't as happy and confident as you were in previous posts. It's almost as though you are loosing a little hope in God's plan for you. You have an INCREDIBLE trial that God trusted you with. I can't imagine being in your shoes, He knows you are strong enough to handle this trial, I see from your posts that you are strong. I know you don't have children but long to have a family one day. Let me say something about being a parent. I would NEVER send my child somewhere foreign without properly preparing them for what they are about to do, nor would I send them with a load that I know they wouldn't be able to handle that may prevent them from coming home to me. However, I wouldn't hesitate to show them "tough love" throught their journey to teach them important lessons along the way so that when they did return to me, they were better than when they left and better because of their own mistakes and stumbles while finding their way home. I'm POSITIVE the same goes for us. We are God's children and I KNOW he loves us just as much as we love our own children if not MORE. His love is perfect, ours is not. The one thing I feel you are lacking in true friendships and relationships is honesty. I don't think you need to tell everybody your struggles and trials or post them on your forehead for everyone to see. I think the best thing you can do is be honest with your family. As a mother of two son's, they are still young but my love for them won't change as they age, I would be devistated to find that they struggle with SSA and they did it alone. That they weren't confident in the love that I have for them that they felt I couldn't be there for them in anyway. No matter what your struggle is, if your family is as incredible as you have mentioned in past posts they will eventually understand your struggle. They have raised an incredible man of God. You are truely an amazing person both spiritually and temporally. I would be PROUD of my son for his strength and testimony through the adversity in his life. Let me say it again...I would be a PROUD momma if my son had a trial like yours and had the strength that you do to rise above and be the MAN that you seem to be! Be yourself. Be honest with those you love. In all the lessons you have learned about yourself and your relationship with God, maybe honesty of who you are to a select few that your trust is another thing God wants you to learn. When we are baptized we make a covenant with God to bear another's burdens, you seem like a great friend and you seem to do that yourself. Let someone try to take a load off of your shoulders and bear your burden with you. You never might just make things a little easier at times. They don't say "Honesty is the best policy" for nothing! Pray about telling your family, how you can tell them and for personal revelation on how they may handle what you may say. Like you have said many times before, Heavenly Father is on your side, He is your friend and has been there with you through thick and thin. You have faith in Him and he will never lead you a stray.

  2. Anon, well said. I agree. I would feel terrible in the next life knowing that one of my family members, whom I love unconditionally, didn't trust me to help them bear their earthly burden. (Gay)MormonGuy, It sounds like your family would want to help you. You yourself have expressed how much you are benefited by serving others. We all need that. We all need to feel like we are needed, that we are capable of making someone else's burden light. It also sounds like you want help - you want someone you can lean on. You want friendship. You don't want to ALWAYS be the one lifting everyone else. And you shouldn't be. Everyone has moments in their life when they need to be on the receiving end. Sounds like now is one of those times for you. You are strong. But presented yourself, in person, as weak may require the most strength. Obviously it wouldn't be beneficial to present yourself as weak to everyone around you - for you or them. But who better to trust this with than your family? Who better to lift you than your family? How can they help you if they don't know what you need help with? As you say, friends keep coming and going in your life and they always will. Your family will be there for you for the duration of your life. What better friends do you have than your family? Maybe you were sent to that family for a reason. Maybe they need to help you, to further their progression, as much as you need help. Maybe there are things they need to learn through your struggle. One of my family members went through a difficult time (for many years) of inactivity and lack of faith. It was very difficult to see the effects of this, but I will always be grateful that he was open and honest through his struggle and that he didn't pull away from us, his family, through it. I am a much better person having been able to go through that time with him. I'm more compassionate, open-minded, and loving. This person has since regained his faith, gotten married in the temple and received the joys of parenthood. Could he have made it through those trying years alone? I don't know. I like to think that he needed us and I definitely, positively know, that I needed him (complete with his trials, struggles, pits of despair sorrow and all) to teach me some very very important lessons. I'm so grateful that he didn't hide his trials from me. I'm extremely grateful for what I have learned through them. I feel like he has had a crucial role in helping me on my journey of becoming more Christ-like. I will always be grateful to him for that.

    Of course, every one and every family and every experience is different. But I would think about it and pray about it. If it's the right thing to do, to let your family in, it may be easier than you think. It could potentially lift your burden, bring you even closer to your family, and teach them some important things as well (thus helping them on their journey). win, win, win. What are families for, afterall?

  3. ((( hug ))) I have been in your shoes. I've reached out to others when I felt I was the one who needed reaching out to. I've been blessed many times for this. But faking it until you make it, sometimes just leaves me feeling fake and that I've never really made it. I'm grateful for the blogosphere where I can be a bit more authentic. I'm glad you're here too, speaking your truth.

  4. I agree that you need to share this with your family. Of course, you may be dealing extreme personalities of whom we have no knowledge. But assuming that your biggest concern is disappointing the people who love you, as a mother of four near-adults let me just say that we are more world-wise, more resilient, and more capable of embracing whatever our children bring into our lives than they might think. I just have to believe that there is a way for you to be more open about who you are without compromising your faith, and I'm hopeful that the place to find that 'sweet spot' is in your family.


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