It is something that has only become a matter of realization in the last week or so, precipitated by the realization that I really am not quite the central figure in the lives of others that I imagined I was. As I slogged through the degrees of grief that occur with any relationship of worth, I realized that in point of fact I was not so much grieving their moving on as I was grieving a very real sense that a hole had been exposed once again.
It is easy to understand now that I can see it. I have always struggled with acceptance: my own acceptance of myself, and certainly God's acceptance of me. My solution has been to find a way to make that feeling go away by finding others who I can draw close to help fill in the gaps that I feel I cannot close myself.
It is not a great solution of course, as it both manages to eventually alienate the other person (trust me - I have the wasteland of former friendships to prove it) as well as driving me away from the probable sources of the solution that would actually fix the problem: my own acceptance of self, and my acceptance of God's view of me.
Living feeling as if you are continually performing below what you should be doing is a terrible burden to bear. It is doubly hard when the person that administered that burden is yourself: you can never really let yourself be pleased with your performance because, after all, you are the harshest critic of yourself. Outside people theoretically remove this issue from you: by being outside of you and "not you", they somehow have legitimacy the make you feel that sense of acceptance - after all, if they are receiving you, are you not okay?
The reality is that in fact in any relationship - any healthy one anyway - both sides are deriving a benefit. When that benefit becomes one sided it either simply becomes a charitable event (and if you have never been a relationship charity, you do not know the pain of realizing it after the fact) or something that is on its way out the door.
Is there a solution? The one I should tell you is "learn to accept yourself". But that is the very thing that is the hardest, is it not? I am no more likely to accept myself simply because I tell myself so than I am to fly by jumping off a roof flapping my arms. There is a thing there, a thing I am missing - and my fear is that the road to recovery lies directly back through that gaping hole I am trying to fill.