I struggled with trying to understand. I prayed on it and I recognize that God’s time is not my own. I recognize that being patient means having faith, but I also recognized that time was running out. I’ve been observed as being transparent. I couldn’t make it through a day without someone who cares for me wondering what was wrong. I looked pensive. I looked worried. And I times, I looked sick. I began having a difficult time focusing. I could only sleep when I knew all was secure in my home.
Lacking that feeling of security I began to search outside my home (and outside my heart) for answers. I didn’t know what I was searching for. I needed answers, but I didn’t even know which questions to ask. I didn’t know who to ask, or where to look. Sure I prayed on it. I prayed for relief. I prayed for comfort from the rising torment. I prayed that the weight be lifted from my heart. But as soon as He lifted the weight, I’d run free. With barely thanking the Lord fully, I celebrated. “Free at last,” I’d cry, only to find myself in peril days (if not hours) later. That feeling of distress was temporary but definitely evident. My emotions would ebb and flow; but not like that of a personality disorder. This was NOT the beginning of a debilitating illness. The Lord would not allow it, and for that I am glad. No, this was circumstantial. This was developed through misunderstanding and lack of trust. THIS was painful and had the potential to cause harm to myself and others if a “cure” was not found. I embraced those close to me. They reached out to me to lend their support, but no one was able to ease my pain, nor provide me with the relief that I sought. I needed answers.
What does a person do when they’ve asked the obvious? When they’ve gone directly to the source and they realize that either the response they’ve received is either incomplete or entirely false. What does a person do when they dig deeper and investigate on their own and come up dry? The problem is with investigation. When we do our own, we have a preconceived notion of what we will find. We are looking for a specific event, a certain behavior or trend, or evidence of things unseen. And with a preconceived notion, what we cannot find, we invent. Clearly invention is not the way to go, but it lends itself to justification and rationalization. Major distress!
I was exhausted. I turned to obsessing. Lost sleep. Lost opportunities. Lost time. New walls were being built and old walls were being guarded. With each attempt, I grew farther from answering my questions. Instead, I developed new questions with each inquiry. Worse yet! I was getting deeper and deeper invested into something that would yield no positive return. It had to stop. “Lord, it has to stop NOW!”
I called upon one last friend– someone who was not close to me (and therefore not inclined to candy coat a response). Someone who could provide some insight, but be impartial. And with few words, the response was clear: Attention. I was spending so much time looking for the answers, I wasn’t paying attention. Not paying attention to the problem at hand. Not paying attention to those involved. Not giving attention to those who deserved it the most…those who had a NEED. I put my own need above all. My need was to solve a problem.
My need caused other problems. My need…
But I didn’t understand at first. I was attentive. I reacted. I questioned. I consoled. I addressed the problems and concerns head on. I did everything that I was supposed to do. I did everything that was expected of a man. Then why did I feel like less of a man? Cause I didn’t pay attention? But I did! I was ultra focused and painfully patient. Sadly, it wasn’t that I didn’t PAY attention. I didn’t give enough attention. Attention was the one thing that was desired more than anything else. And I didn’t know.
I didn’t know because when I asked, I didn’t get an honest answer. I got an around-about answer. You see, when you are assertive and you know what you want, you have expectations that you will get some kind of cooperation. That’s what we aim for. Cause and effect. But when others are non-confrontational (for whatever reason), the dynamics change. Passive aggressive. Passive aggressive? PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE!
I had an epiphany. I couldn’t make the relationship work because I was involved with someone who was passive aggressive. I spent so much time with that person that I had convinced myself that to not address an issue head on, or assertively, was simply being polite. To be non-confrontational was to have good manners.
I recognize now that to beat around the bush is to not get what you want. Non-confrontational means to not fight. But aren’t some things worth fighting for? I can’t think of a single incident in my life where I got what I wanted without directly asking for it. I struggle to recall anything that I’ve obtained that I wasn’t either specific about needing or that I didn’t earn on my own. Pride.
This is not about pride, however. This is about being passive aggressive. How can we expect to find happiness without being specific about what makes us happy? How do we obtain success without putting forth effort? It’s not given! It’s not just going to appear. Things happen for a reason, but things don’t just happen. There are forces in the universe that enable certain events to occur. Even if those forces are not visible, they still exist. And nothing just happens without first putting forth SOME kind of effort. Who are we to assume that others can just read our minds? They don’t! WE don’t! Not if we want to obtain at least some level of satisfaction. There are some who put forth minimal effort. Others try very hard. Then there are those who do nothing. Do nothing, get nothing! Working hard yields results. Putting forth minimal effort? That’s passive aggressive.
To hint at, but not directly assert—that’s passive aggressive. To want it, but not reach for it—that’s passive aggressive.
I want more! I waited a long time. I tried, but maybe not that hard. But I am learning that to try is to put forth some effort without expecting absolute success. From now on, I expect…! I expect to be treated with respect. I expect others to recognize my efforts and to acknowledge my hard work. Conversely, I request, nay, demand that my lack of effort, my lack of interest, passion, and security be addressed. Talk to me! Tell me! Show me! Interact!!!
I am not alone! I stand as one of many who deserve more, but not because we WANT it, but because we earned it. Do you understand that if we don’t try hard enough, we concede? We accept defeat. I can’t have that. I will not concede! I will not be passive aggressive. I will be assertive. And I will walk away before I accept less than the best.