I think a lot of the recent emotional turmoil I've gone through doesn't really make sense unless I give a proper explanation about my personality and my role in relationships in general. I am, in essence, a dutiful person. In fact, I don't really know if I can explain myself outside of that word. To me, duty, loyalty and obligation are not bad words. In fact, they're comforting and soothing. They make sense to me. They give me a sense of stability. I don't trust my emotions and I don't trust for things to develop naturally. This becomes especially evident in friendships.
Like I said in the last post, I don't understand and can't comprehend when friendships end. It simply doesn't make sense to me. To me, once you make friends with someone, they are essentially family. This is especially true when they are Christian. We're brothers and sisters in Christ, and thus we're eternally bonded to one another. I don't think many people -- not even Christians -- view friendships this way. They continue on like even the unbelievers, just talking to who they feel like talking to, and distancing themselves from those who they don't feel like talking to anymore. Everything is based on emotional whim. It's based on desire, trivial details and interests, and a general sense of selfishness that I can't comprehend. If you only talk to those who you wanna talk to, and you're only friends with those who you wanna be friends with, then are you really living up to the standard of self-denial that we're called to?
It's not like I'm a super moral person. I can't take credit for my views on relationships. Whether it was through genetics or upbringing, this is how I turned out. The foundation, the core, of my relationships is based upon feelings of obligation, duty and loyalty. It doesn't matter how anyone else treats me: I'm going to stay loyal to them no matter what. To me, I don't know how to better express care or love. It's just how I do things. I know I have hurt people in the past when I neglected them, and so in order to not neglect anyone and hurt them, I vow to be a loyal friend, even if I don't necessarily feel like it. Of course I don't always enjoy a person's company, but who the heck am I to let my emotional whims determine how I treat someone else? You may not always enjoy talking to your grandmother, but you do it and you make time for her because you have a commitment of family to her. You respect that, and you treat her well because of it. I simply take that same principle and apply it to all of my friendships. It doesn't matter how much their quirks might annoy me. Those are just quirks. I can get over it, and I'll do what I can to be their friend no matter what.
The downside is that most people don't, and that is something that I just can't deal with. I don't think obligation means that you don't care, or that you're heartless. Again, what kind of reality would it be if we had no sense of duty or loyalty? I also feel that we're given conflicting messages about this as we grow up. When we're young, we're told that if we feel bad or hurt about how someone else has treated us, we should tell the person what's up. We should tell them how we feel. So that's what I do. When I'm not being included, or when I want someone to joke with me or kid around with me like they do with others, I tell them. But I'm often told that I'm being pushy, or that people want things to be natural, not through obligation. I don't get that. So you want to include people, but if they ask to be included, you all of a sudden don't want to, anymore? It's frustrating. I don't understand the rules people live by. I try, at the very least, to be consistent, despite all my quirks. The worst part is knowing that I'm totally in the minority. I don't know anyone else who lives by the rules I live by, and it is a very, very lonely feeling. I feel like I try so hard to include everyone, be everyone's friend, and I don't get anything in return, even when I ask. It's just really... I dunno. It just feels wrong.
Gosh, I had so many more coherent thoughts when I started this post, but I'm getting emotional and it's late, and now I'm just rambling. I like how even when I ramble, my grammar is impeccable. I've come across plenty of emotional blogs and notes by people for whom that isn't the case. Anyway, I don't think duty is a bad thing. If someone comes up to talk to me out of obligation -- because they feel that it's right and loyal to do so -- even if they don't quite have the mushy emotional warm feelings that go along with it, I'm okay with it. I'm more than okay with it. Doing something out of obligation means that you still care about the person. In fact, it means you care a lot. It means, "I'm going to do something that I might not even feel like doing, in order to make you happy. My feelings aren't as important as yours. I want you to feel safe, included and warm." That's really what motivates a lot of my actions. I'm surely not selfless. I mean, I'm complaining about a lot of my social efforts not being reciprocated, right? But at the same time, I will never be convinced that a strong sense of duty and loyalty is anything less than a good thing. It is a good thing, and I'll live and die by that belief.
And if anyone wants further elaboration why the events of the past summer -- from the divorce of my parents to the abandonment of several close friends -- put me into a downward spiral like they did, I think this previous explanation of my personality pretty much sums it up. The betrayal of family members and friends, to me, is the most damaging and harmful thing I could possibly go through, because that's simply what I value so much. Maybe I shouldn't, but I've been this way for so long, I don't know how to change it, and I certainly see the goodness in the things I hold dear.