Contorting Yourself to Figure Out if You Are Loveable

bebraveI received this message from a senior in high school:

“I’m being an idiot about this, but I’ve considered telling him. If it’d turn out that he didn’t feel the same, I’d say someone took my phone. That’s what I’ve been thinking about. I’m prolly not going to say anything…I’m so confused right now.”dating coach

I’m honored to be asked this question. I have a lot of strong opinions about guy/girl relationships (you think?!!) so I certainly had an answer. It is always an honor to be trusted with this vulnerability.

Can you figure out what is at the core wrong about this question?

The brave step is being made to change the relationship. This always requires bravery and is encouraged. Taking this brave step through text is not recommended. Text is not personal enough for this personal of a question. If you are taking this brave step, be brave and do it in person. There is risk of rejection–but this is why it is a brave decision. You will gain a bit of respect on either side of the result.

The problem with this question is the lie that would be told. This present and future relationship is okay to this person if a lie is at the foundation. This is the plan that was made.

Sadly beginning a relationship on a lie—or many lies—is all too common. We believe to get a certain someone’s attention we have to contort or distort ourselves. We willingly do it so we can have his attention. Because possibly having his attention means that something is not wrong with me and that I may be loveable. The contortion is worth it to receive this validation.

This contortion is the core wrong with these stats. From a survey of 667 youths aged 12-18 who’d been dating within the past year: Nearly 20% of both boys and girls reported themselves as victims of physical and sexual abuse in dating relationships. When the survey asked about psychological abuse–broadly defined as actions ranging from name-calling to excessive tracking of a victim–more than 60% of each gender reported being victims and perpetrators of such behavior.  Source.

Obviously these stats frighten me. I know too many real life stories that feel the pain of those stats. So many tender broken hearts.

This contorted person believe she has found love and is loveable but the truth is she is not truly known thus not truly loved. The ache that began everything is still there—added with loads of complications. And more confusion. And a lot further away from knowing if you are loveable.

There is always risk involved in dating. Wouldn’t it be better to take the leap with your whole self vs. your contorted self?

warp diving

That is my advice to this senior. Be brave.

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About Be Brave

Brenda Seefeldt began life in youth ministry in 1981. That is before the internet, YouTube, texting and even before PowerPoint. (But it was after flannel boards.) Brenda has written and shared much of what she has learned through the resource of Wild Frontier and in many youth ministry publications as she continues on in youth ministry. Brenda is a brave one. She stutters yet is a national speaker. She loves teaching so much she’s also been a substitute teacher for over 20 years. She’s brave enough to enter any classroom at a middle school. She also simply loves teaching groups, whether they are teens or adults. Due to the many years of youth ministry, Brenda has “coached” many grown teens in dating. She finds herself very opinionated on that with lots to share. Brenda loves her God-given family–four sons and 4 grandchildren. They are God-given, not birthed. That alone is a brave story, one she tells here and there as the story really belongs to her sons.

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