I wear filters in most of my relationships. I believe we all do. I have the daughter filter, the granddaughter filter, the neighbor filter, the political filter, the religious filter, the professional filter and too many more to list. Each filter category has many settings ranging from low-flow to high-flow. My settings vary based on several variables.
Does this mean I'm phony? Maybe a little bit. I look at it more as a combination of navigating social waters while being respectful of the many different opinions, experiences, feelings and histories we all have, and protecting myself from the sting of social rejection. Embarrassing, but true.
I was describing a relationship to a friend yesterday [a friend with whom I wear no filters - one of the very few] and I was listing a couple of filters I wear with someone. I clarified that as I've gotten older and more comfortable in my own skin, the filters were looser than they used to be, but still necessary.
I've been thinking about friendships and relationships lately. Who I feel accepted by, and who I accept fully. I'm beginning to recognize that I can evaluate the depth of a friendship by the amount of room we give each other to be human beings. It's interesting to me.
There are people in my life who I afford more life flexibility than I afford myself. There are others [many] for whom I've created boundaries and I'm not comfortable when they cross or leave those boundaries. My parents for example - not a friendship, but a significant relationship - have a defined space in my mind. The space is much larger and continues to grow the older I get. Ironically, I expect them to be more generous with their acceptance and support of my choices. It's primal.
The conversation I had with my filter-free-friend yesterday resulted in a clarity that's difficult to articulate. My friend commented, "... if your range of motion is that limited with [a person], is the friendship really that important to you?"
The people who allow you full range of motion are gifts. I can think of three in my life. How many do you have?