Alone yet surrounded by people I laugh but to protect what cries inside. I smile through a broken heart; I hug but no warmth returns. If only you could feel what I am inside you would show me, then tell me, you’re happy I’m with you.

Todd Beal

Outer behavior is often a mask for an internal struggle. Some people smile at others, hoping for affection and acceptance in return. Some people laugh with their peers to avoid rejection. Some people are controlling and domineering to hide their vulnerability. No one is as he or she appears, for behind the convincing façade exists a personal history – just like yours and mine – of abuse, neglect and unjust behavior by others. The personal history that we each carry hurts us, and you and I will at all cost, avoid allowing anyone to repeat those same offenses against us. At the slightest perceived threat – real or imagined – we try to make it go away, immediately, even it means rejecting someone with the same behavior by which others offend us.

What if instead of automatically throwing up walls and hurling rejection over the side, we choose to remain in the uncomfortable zone and befriend the wounded person that lies behind the façade. Instead of rejecting the person that appears odd or different, what if we chose to ask where his or her interests lie, and invite our potential friend to explain why those interests are personally meaningful. You will see him – you will see her – transform before your very eyes with joy and excitement, and visibly show appreciation for your genuine interest in his or her worth. The personal interest we choose to take in others is our bridge to fellowship and togetherness; it is the path away from re-experiencing the debilitating effects of our personal history. It is our means to live and grow beyond our past and into a life that requires less and less walls for protection. It is our means to at last build freedom alongside the person we once rejected.


About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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2 Responses to Alone

  1. I relate to what you have stated here. We do so often present a different “outer” of ourselves from the “inner” person. While many years ago, this was a natural way for me (a defence mechanism) I find that in more recent years it is more a matter of not wanting to cause offence. For example, I will “appear” to be interested even though I find the other person boring. I know I should take more interest and establish common ground but sometimes I fail.

    I have worked with teens a lot over the years. Some people say that peer pressure no longer has an effect on them, but I disagree. Teens are VERY prone to peer pressure and we see them putting on “outers” which deny their “inners”


    • Todd Beal says:

      Yes, and sadly the peer pressure doesn’t end with the teenage years, but is just getting started. We each would be appalled at just how much our sense of self, as well as our worldview, is rooted in our sensitivity to how others perceive us (or don’t perceive us).


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