Let us learn to meet in the middle.
And I don’t mean being half-hearted, half-in half-out in being committed to something. But rather, meeting in the middle in terms of understanding each other in our daily lives and relationships.
Let’s be honest here: Even with the best of intentions, we are bound to slip up, make mistakes, or relapse into our little quirks or habits that may drive the people around us insane. There will be demons that we are unable to defeat entirely, and there are days we feel convinced that we would never be able to get out of our rut.
However, let us understand that in between the options of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – there also exists the hidden option of ‘the middle’. And what do I mean by this?
If I am a person who struggles with the idea of affection while my significant other is on the opposite end of the spectrum, we should not be imposing our own individual standards on each other. I should not expect my significant other to come to my level of not showing any affection, and my significant other should not expect that I amp up the ante to be extra affectionate. Instead, we should learn how we can meet in the middle. On one hand, there should exist an understanding that I may not necessarily express how I care about my partner in the most direct way. On the other hand, it does not mean I should not make the effort to love my partner in ways he would appreciate it as well.
If I am a person who is guarded while my peers seem puzzled by the idea, we should not be imposing our own individual standards on each other. A friend of mine confided in me that during the first year of our friendship, she found herself always asking me what my opinion was – as I didn’t seem to offer much information when it came to sharing about myself. I was always down to listen, to counsel, to comfort – but I was not keen on talking about myself in entirety. After delving into almost-four years of friendship, we have finally found our balance and safe space. I became more comfortable confiding in her, and we found out that we do share similar views in how we go about our daily lives.
‘The middle’ in some ways can be seen as a compromise; but it also makes us step out of the box we have defined ourselves by. We can keep going about in our minds that we’re stuck like this, people should be able to ‘take’ us for who we are, the works. And although it is not wrong that we should be accepted for who we are, we should also take into account how we are treating the people around us in the midst of our journey. Even in the midst of healing, we are bound to mess up, lash out, and hurt the people in our lives. However, our healing should not ever be an excuse to hurt the people around us. We may be struggling, maybe even being at one of the worst stages in our lives where we find hard to find the light – but we have to stop telling ourselves that we are bound entirely.
Instead, we have to start telling ourselves to learn to meet in the middle: that meeting in the middle for our loved ones or colleagues is not all bad.
Let us learn to meet in the middle, and in turn understanding that there is always room for change and growth.
As Terry Tempest Williams puts forth, “The middle path makes me wary. But in the middle of my life, I am coming to see the middle path as a walk with wisdom where conversations of complexity can be found, that the middle path is the path of movement. In the right and left worlds, the stories are largely set. . . . We become missionaries for a position . . . practitioners of the missionary position. Variety is lost. Diversity is lost. Creativity is lost in our inability to make love with the world.”