Part of humility is not isolating. You have to be able to receive to be a friend. Dan Allender Ph.D. calls it suffer the kindness.
From looking at him, I didn’t guess at first that Fink was lonely, but he was. Under-appreciated, whenever Fink thought about making new friends, he remembered that he wasn’t young any more. All his “real” friendships were made when he hung-out for hours, had spares in the trunk so to speak. If one relationship didn’t develop well, he still had time and possibilities that the future offers. In this sense, Fink had been rich. He had after all that, maybe 3 friends he considered “real.” But over the last several years, with real jobs and families of their own, his real friends weren’t returning his calls. Now, he thought, he may as well as not have given them his special self. Now he was older and not so rich. Fink kept picking at that scab, even though he knew it wasn’t so masculine to be upset about your neglected special self.
At times we are lonely, but have trouble valuing the relationships being offered. We see ourselves as something set apart. This might be part of our drive to self-preserve. Bits of neurons fighting over signals in our brain telling us that we need to dominate to propagate our genes. Maybe. But there is that intersection when choice crosses.
We remember from Sebastian Seung‘s work that our memories are not stored in our genes. That gives us something tangible to work with.
I remember walking on the beach with a girlfriend when we were still in medical school. I told her, “I’m tired of feeling bad about things I never had a choice in!” It still seems wasteful to moralize things like temperament and our nature. In fact, we’ve argued the opposite at length in previous blog posts. Embrace that part of you and run with it! we said.
So what do we do with Fink? For starters, tell him that his drives are what they are. The real question is, what’s he going to do with his genetic drives? Do good things with that energy? (If we can call genetic drive an energy.) Or will he do things that aren’t so good for him. There comes the choice. Fink. Suffer the kindness. (Thanks Dan Allender!) In the end you will be happier and healthier for it. Even if you are half as hot as your genes tell you you are, who cares if you are walking the road alone.
Self-Care Tip #86 – Suffer the kindess. Be a friend to yourself.
Question: What has been a barrier in your life from connecting with others? Please tell me your story.
- TEDTalks: Sebastian Seung: Mapping the connections inside our brains (huffingtonpost.com)