Under One’s Nose
By Cathleen Elise Rossiter
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” -George Addair
Relationships are tough nuts to crack. Whether it’s the romantic kind, the familial kind, the societal kind, or the business kind, relationships inherently have innumerable moving parts. They inevitably jam up and break down frequently. The best relationships are the ones where all parties involved work hard to keep their moving parts cleaned and well oiled while helping others to do likewise.
With so much involved, why bother? Isn’t life easier when you eliminate the hassle? Who needs it?
As it turns out, we all need it, whether we care to admit it or not. According to a paper written by psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary,
“it seems fair to conclude that human beings are fundamentally and pervasively motivated by a need to belong, that is, by a strong desire to form and maintain enduring interpersonal attachments.”
Forming these attachments has its challenges, particularly when one is becoming aware of a connection, a desire to get to know another person on a deeper level. It does not matter what type of relationship one is forming either. Romantic, familial, societal, and business relationships all encounter the initial period of uncertainty, apprehension, and doubt about whether a mutual attraction exists then taking the first step to initiate the relationship. This awareness of another as a possible kindred soul can stop us in our tracks as we fill to the brim with thoughts of self-loathing, unworthiness, and fear of rejection.
I always find it interesting that the instant we, as individual human beings, think about reaching out to another human being to make a personal connection, we begin compiling a laundry list of all the reasons why we are too flawed to make the connection, thereby talking ourselves out of reaching out.
The most likely reason for this phenomenon is that our fear of rejection overwhelms us, so we try to head off the stranger’s impending rejection by rejecting ourselves first. How many times have you dreaded going to a party, a networking event, or some other superficial situation because it requires a tremendous degree of vulnerability from you? How many of you reading this experience extreme anxiety in such situations? If you think that there is something wrong with you because of this, you can breathe easier when I tell you, “there is nothing wrong with you”.
Think about it.
- We fear what we don’t know.
- We are hard-wired to make deep personal connections. In order to attempt such connections, we must open ourselves up, thereby becoming vulnerable.
- Since our earliest Paleolithic days, we are also hard-wired to belong to a group for basic survival needs. The Group provides safety, opportunity to reproduce, and an increased ability to gather food to name a just a few benefits of belonging.
- Being denied admission to The Group, even if The Group consists of only two members, creates a fear for one’s safety and survival. In the modern world, this safety and survival is on an emotional level since food and shelter are infinitely more readily available than in our Paleolithic days. In today’s world, emotional survival is essential.
- The more superficial the situation (meaning situations with a large proportion of strangers who do not necessarily intend to continue an association with others from the group once the situation is over – for example a luncheon for a friend’s book group, a fundraiser, cocktail party, or as a Plus One at a wedding), the greater the chances are that we will be rejected because humans can only handle a handful of deep personal connections at a time.
These natural instincts for survival clash with our fear of being denied survival because rejection means that we are alone in the world, vulnerable, and susceptible to attack.
In this month dedicated to declaring affection to those we love, our awareness of and focus on initiating new relationships is heightened. This brings to mind a lesson I learned early on when I was getting the hang of relationships. Today, I leave you with the words I told myself after losing a friend in high school as my wish for you in the year ahead. May you, too, discover that the best relationship you’ll ever have is right under your nose.
“Do you know the best way to be a best friend? Practice. Practice being a Best Friend to yourself. Learn how to get to know who you are, what you like and dislike, what makes you laugh or cry or happy or angry, everything about you. Learn how to talk and how to listen. Know what you are afraid of and learn how to act in spite of your fear. After all, you cannot give what you do not have. If you do not know how to be a friend to yourself, you will never be able to be a friend to anyone else. If you can’t be a friend, you will never be able to have a healthy relationship with a boyfriend or husband, nor will you be able to make your relationships with your family work. Make certain that you are a friend to yourself first. Everything else will follow naturally.”
Please support the next generation of Artists:
February 6 through March 6, 2016
EXHIBITION OPENING EVENT
Saturday, February 6, 2 – 4 p.m
A lively and diverse exhibition of original works by Berkshire County high school art students celebrating the region’s talented youth will be on view. Sponsored by Berkshire Bank.
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 2ND TO THURSDAY MARCH 3RD, 2016
gallery hours are T/W/TH 12:30-6pm.
Categories (Awards given in each category)
Drawing, Painting, Graphic Design, Sculpture / Ceramics, Photography, Animation / Digital Art and Advertising Art
Reception: Thursday 2/4, 4-6pm. Join us for light refreshments and come see the Awards Ceremony at 5pm.
Friday, February 12 at 6:30pm
Jot Travis Building, Student Galleries South 39.5386300785728, -119.816557914018
The highlight of Reno’s winter season, University Galleries’ biannual Valentine Auction will be held in the Jot Travis Building. Art priced from $20 to $10,000 is available for online preview before a silent auction the night of the event. It’s a not-to-be-missed community event. Free parking is available at Davidson Academy. Become a member, and get into the VIP member-only preview before the main event. Visithttps://universitygalleries.wildapricot.org/ to become a member.