#Askingforafriend: Separateness

By Nate Bowman
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

I love my family and friends, but sometimes I think we’re a little too connected at the hip. Am I mean for thinking that?

You and I need separateness. Does that mean we need alone time every now and then? Some might love the thought of that, yet others might not. What I actually mean by separateness is something quite a bit different than alone time.

You and I need to understand there is a distinct difference between ourselves and the person standing next to us, and I’m talking about more than the obvious physical differences.

Whether identical twin or lifelong best friend, that person standing next to you is going to have desires, expectations, opinions, feelings, likes, etc. that are different from yours, and that’s OK.

Sure, you and your best friend might like the same music, but what if they desire that you drink a little bit more or maybe they want you to buy dinner with that petty cash your boss gave to you?

What if your parents want you to be a doctor, but you want to be a chef?

In these instances, separateness plays a crucial role. Without it, we are subject to the desires, expectations, opinions, feelings, likes, etc. of others, which isn’t always a good thing.

Some might shudder at the thought of separateness, though, because people-pleasing has been your full-time job for as long as you can remember. Your opinions take a back seat because you don’t want to rock the boat and risk a fracture in the relationship, or your expectations are renounced because “they don’t really matter.”

The reality is, separateness is tricky because we also need relationship. At a recent webinar, renowned psychologist Henry Cloud summarized the matter well when he said, “We need to be connected and we need to be free within our connections.”

Thus, thinking you might be a little too connected at the hip with a family member or friend isn’t necessarily mean. Perhaps it’s simply time to start getting curious about the origins of the desires, expectations, opinions, feelings, likes, etc. that are influencing you.

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For further reading:

Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. S. (1992). Boundaries: When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life.

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Bible Verse

Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? (Isaiah 2:22)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/