Uniqueness is inherently human. Each of us contains a unique character, and perhaps more significantly, a unique perception of the world around us. This uniqueness seems to make it impossible to relate with another person entirely.
When we allow ourselves to be immersed in love with another or with God, we give up a little bit of our uniqueness. Or at the very least, we become vulnerable to that possibility. As we grow spiritually with another, we often find ourselves becoming more like them. At the same time, we are sharing the things that make us unique.
When we share ourselves with others, we are taking a risk. We become vulnerable to their imperfections. We expose the uniqueness with which we identify ourselves to the possibility of scrutiny. And, it becomes nearly inevitable that our unique perspective of the world will change with the experience. It is no wonder that many of us experience fear when opening up and connecting heart to heart with others.
One of the things that makes this fear so difficult to face is the fact that most of us have gotten so good at hiding it that we can scarcely recognize it ourselves. Admitting fears can be embarrassing, or worse yet, may upset the confidence others have in us. So, many of us mask our fears by acting as if we don’t care. To others, our fear may appear to be anger, arrogance or apathy.
Understanding the masquerade of fear teaches us two things. One is that facing our fears is a key step in ending loneliness and isolation. Two is that when others appear to act on anger, arrogance or apathy, it may be that they are experiencing fear.
In the coming days, I will be writing about facing fears and building relationships. These are topics that have been coming up repeatedly in my own life and discussions with my friends recently. They are areas with which I personally struggle deeply at times. I am hoping that this series will be a learning experience for all of us.