I'd like to jump over to the other side of the coin for a moment. I feel like this is getting to sound just a little more victim-central than I want it to, that it's solely "them" that are holding me or you or whoever back from becoming something better. Maybe, in some cases, that's true. But, as I've reflected on this topic, I've also realized that sometimes I'm someone else's "them."
Where do you fall on the spectrum when it comes to faith and trust in others? In general, I feel like I fall (and truthfully, this is where I'd LIKE to fall, so maybe that colors where I see myself) on the end where I am a trusting person. You start out with a clean slate with me, I don't need you to prove yourself. I will trust you. I will confide in you. But, if you break that trust? Well, now we're talking something different.
There's that saying which goes "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." In practice, it's more like 3 or 4 times with me. But once you pass that line, I find that I put up a heavy brick nothing's-getting-through-this-sucker wall between us. It's protection. It's self-protection. It's not necessarily that I believe you can't change or be different. It's just that I don't believe that you want the change honestly enough to risk you stabbing me through the heart one more time.
On the one hand, this seems wise, doesn't it? Someone hurts you repeatedly, why on earth would you let it continue to happen? I've thought a lot about forgiveness over the last month or so, and what it means. I saw a quote I liked that said something to the effect of "Forgiving you doesn't mean that what you did to me was okay. It means that I'm not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever." I liked that. If you realize someone is using you for a doormat, you can forgive them for using you as one without going back and lying down in front of their door.
But, I think for me that, often, my method of "not being used again" (or whatever the offense was) is to put up a giant wall around my heart that they cannot penetrate again. Once the wall is up, I find that I'm very hard-nosed and stubborn about it... I won't let you over the wall. I won't let you through the wall, under the wall, nothing.
Why go on and on about this?
Simple. Because sometimes, when I or you are trying to make changes in our lives, we need to realize the wall we're butting up against from others... the officer that keeps turning us back... They're there because someone has erected a wall against us... because we did something to them that hurt enough for them to need it.
You have to own that. Personal responsibility is IMPORTANT, and you have to own your part in your road's obstacles.
Photo Credit: Ari Helminen