What shapes your story?

Everybody has a story and the interactions we have with others shape our stories whether we want them to or not. I currently have really great relationships. They are deep and meaningful and just what I need. Why is that what I need? Well, because relationships are hard for me. It took me a long time to realize this but once I took an account of all my relationships, I can see the way they shaped my story. For good and bad all of the relationships I can remember left their mark. I want to highlight a few so you can get a sense of why I say relationships are hard for me. 

I was homeschooled so I didn’t grow up with the typical set of friends. I had friends but I didn’t experience the peer to peer relationships you get when you attend a traditional school setting. The friends I had were mostly from church, my neighborhood, and the homeschool group we were apart of. During those years I can vividly remember having only one best friend at a time. This was mainly because i gravitated towards friends that were a couple years older than me. So as we grew up and they got to junior high first their priorities shifted and our relationship changed. This was a pattern that happened over and over again so by the time I was in junior high I had mastered the art of creating walls that few were allowed past. I began to think that normal friendships lasted a couple of years and then it was time to move on. 

The pattern of change continued in my relationships and during the first half of high school my priorities shifted again and I found myself with friends older than me. Particularly, one friend who was three years older than me. We had what I thought was a great relationship but when I look back now I can see just how much damage that relationship did to how I interact with others. A lot of it came from broken promises and a selfish attitude on her part. Now you should know that in high school I saw no issues with how she treated me, I actually thought it was normal. Wasn’t that just how relationships went?

Fast forward to college and while I kept the walls up, I was able to develop good relationships. I did have a friend who I poured my heart out to and asked her for the type of friendship I felt like I was missing, her response was that she couldn’t be that close of a friend to me. That hurt but this next one hurt more. I found a great friend and we both shared our deep stuff with each other leading to a very close and honest relationship. But as soon as I got married our relationship shifted and I not only found myself feeling loss over our relationship but eventually just complete silence. 

Now, I don’t want you thinking that this was all of my relationships growing up. I had amazing friends throughout all of my life. I am most thankful for the women who poured into me over the years. The ladies who mentored me and loved me regardless of the age gap. You know who you are so thank you. 

Life is made of moments that come and go like the wind and with that relationships can change in an instance. But I also believe that given the right ingredients relationships can last the changing times. 

A few truths I’ve learned about myself is that I have a very hard time sticking with relationships if I don’t see/interact regularly. I’m a 9 on the enneagram and basically I want to protect myself from all hurt so instead of letting you down or “quitting” a relationship I just let it disappear. Because then I don’t have to feel loss that something ended instead I can rationalize that we are still friends, we just don’t interact all that often. 

Some of the things I’ve learned about relationships are, particularly when it comes to creating deep and meaningful relationships is:

  1. They take work
  2. Communication is vital
  3. Honesty creates trust
  4. Assumptions only cause hurt
  5. They will only ever be as deep as you want to take them

What’s the point of this post? Well, I wanted to give you a framework to use when thinking about your story. I can clearly see how the not so great relationships in my life have shaped how I deal with hurt and disappointment but it also gives me tips on how to make current and future relationships deeper. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that while our circumstances shape our stories we are ultimately responsible for our own story and blaming others for how we are isnt healthy or helpful. 

So, are you ready to deepen your relationships? Are you ready to grow meaningful and healthy friendships? Sign up for our email list to receive tools and resources that will help you deepen your relationships. 

Wanna share your story with me? I’d love to hear it! Email me at elizabeth@elizabethcaudle.com

Elizabeth CaudleComment