It takes a lot of courage to build a bridge. It may require going against the grain. To do it may offend people and others may not only disagree with you but even oppose you.
We get comfortable with our reality and the way we live, even when there are great chasms of divide within and around us. Our body, mind, heart, and soul adapts to live with these gaps, to help us survive. We often make agreements in order to live with these gaps, and our brain reprograms in way that makes us feel safe, even if we are exhibiting harmful behaviors.
There was a time in my life where I continuously sought to earn and prove myself. There was this scale of sorts I lived by that, when balanced, brought me peace. Unfortunately, the two sides of the scale were the wrongs done against me and the retribution that had to be paid. This vindictive lifestyle was at the subconscious level affecting nearly all my relationships and interactions. While being unaware of it, I also sought to keep my attention off of it so I wouldn't have to face it and bring it to the conscious level.
It wasn't until I brought a good friend of mine to tears as justification for how wrong I felt they'd treated me, that I saw this toxic chasm that was within me. There was a gap in me that I tried to live with by being vindictive, and it created more gaps in me and with others. When my friend left the room with tears on their face, I felt equally happy even satisfied, and sick. Thankfully, I had some other friends who were willing to look at the gaps in their own lives with me and together we bridged those gaps. They had to call me out and address this painful gap in my life I was trying to live with. Through this process, what we found on the other side was true friendship, authentic grace, and genuine forgiveness. I also discovered much more of myself and how my avoidance to bridge the gap, hindered myself from growing and maturing. Just like in my story, we have an added difficulty when it comes to bridging the gaps, where we make agreements to support why we’ve been the way we’ve been. We justify our disconnection and we resist those who would tell us differently, as well as attempt to convince them to join us in our division to make us feel better about being the way we are. This easily could have happened in that scenario, but my friends were gracious with me as they walked me towards the gap to face it.
What I'm talking about here is a sympathetic nervous system response, where we seek to find safety against the discomfort that is being asked of us. When we feel threatened in any way, such as someone encouraging us to respond differently or act in a new way, it can trigger our defenses - fight, flight, freeze, and more.
Our defense responses can easily happen as a form of collusion where we seek validation for the ways we live. We do this rather than seek further growth that is inevitably uncomfortable and painful, but moves us forward. It'd be the equivalent of me digging my heels in and telling my friends, who sought to help me, that they were wrong and needed to join me where I was and accept my perspective. The book, Leadership and Self-Deception, perfectly illustrates this aspect of our humanity where they explain how we live in a box of protection that helps keep us safe. However, when we are in the box, our perspective is distorted by the box and we seek to affirm it by persuading others to be in the box as well. This doesn't create connection, nor bridge the gaps, but instead further supports the hindered reality we've learned to live with.
To choose to live out of the box, face the harmful agreements we've made, and not participate in the collusion game requires grit, strength, and endurance. All of our past pains, unreconciled hurts, and unresolved grievances can become fuel to oppose what could help us. Like fuel to a fire that we throw onto the bridge to burn down the thing that can help us.
It requires a lot to honor the sense within us to bridge the gaps we know are needed. We need great capacity to hold the tension of being on one side while holding onto hope that working to bridge the gaps to the side of the unknown will be worth it.