Encouragement · wisdom

Moving Beyond Fringe-ships

Relationships are both work and reward.

Without the work {which often consists of a mix of vulnerability and humility}, the reward of growing deeper in love and compassion is often missed, but sometimes the cost of the work appears greater than the reward.

I have experienced a lot of “fringe-ships” over the years. I’m generally close enough to know just enough to feel like I am known but not quite close enough to reap the reward of true heart engagement.

Self-preservation has been the driver of my decisions. I believed drawing a circle of protection around myself was the answer, but the false protection of preservation birthed a strong sense of loneliness in my soul.

Lately, I’ve been intentionally schlepping off the self-imposed constraints of self-preservation. I won’t lie, it has not been easy. A few long-held limiting beliefs made walking toward friendships tricky.

I struggled to believe anyone truly cared about me.

I’m not saying I never experienced people being loving and kind. My narrative is filled with experiences that say otherwise. The most darling people have walked with me throughout the years, but a deeply rooted limiting belief told me to question the love and concern of others. I wrestled with my own worthiness and projected it on to others, and the result was a protective cocoon around my weary soul.

My limiting beliefs bossed me around, and they sounded like this.

Fear of experiencing hurt was greater than the reward of trying.

Complacency moved in subtly and wrapped my motivations in a firm embrace. Before long, I was a wallflower. Though present in some of the sweetest seasons of life, I experienced everything from the fringe. Shrinking back in silence became a worn path that led to forgotten or diminished dreams.

When I finally drew a line in the sand, when I let the words of fear spill out of my mouth, things shifted. Brick by brick, I started dismantling the wall of protection around my heart. With each step toward vulnerability, a new strength emerged, my purpose was restored, and hope swelled in new proportions.

As I began communicating my needs and letting people love me, loneliness lost its grip on me. Little by little, step by step, I saw the reward of working at relationships. After living life below the radar, pulling up and gaining new perspective reminded me that the reward was indeed worth the toil.

Though every effort was not successful, I began to appreciate the risk in trying. Stories are better in the middle of the moment–even when the moment is hard and messy. Reward is often the destination of countless attempts at relationship. Life has many mile markers, and just like you cannot get to mile 13 without enduring mile 12, traversing the tricky is a necessary step to arriving at what is true.

I don’t know if you are inclined toward self-preservation, or believing no one cares, but if you are experiencing “fringe-ships” of any kind, this is for you from a fellow sojourner.

Take a risk. If you are craving the reward of relationship, consider the work you might be avoiding. What is the worst thing that could happen if you dip your toes in the water? What is the best thing that could happen? Can you silence your long-held limiting beliefs long enough to take a step toward the center?

Evaluate your efforts. Have you shared your needs with anyone? Have you gone inward in isolation when you need to reach into the life of a loved one? Is there someone who routinely shows up in your life? Express your gratitude; reveal your desire for relationship.

Make a move. Let today be the day you step out of the constraints of your prison of protection. Invite someone into your story. Ask them to share a portion of their story. Listen and learn. Be open-handed in your efforts. Avoid the desire to control the narrative, and dare to imagine what is waiting on the other side of your risky move.

No more settling for “fringe”-ships; now is the time to jump in and experience the reward of building community through relationships. The prospect of friendships is more rewarding than a life of fringe-ships.

#fringeships #takearisk #workandreward #lifelessons

Did you know I released an eBook this year? You can download it for free here.

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