Both ideals have recently crossed my mind. In the last two years of my college career, I have gained a lot of beautiful relationships, but I have also lost more than I would have liked. It took a few moments to understand why. Was it something said or done? Friendships have been tarnished, bridges have been burned and relationships have combusted. In this moment of writing this out, it makes me want to disappear and not put myself out there anymore to make any connections. Why risk the pain? People let you down anyway. It doesn't matter how 'wonderful' 'kind' or 'beautiful' you are. People will still find a way to hurt you, a reason to dump you, or have an excuse to bail on you. You're too intimidating but not really good enough at the same time.
Before continuing on about exposing your talents, here are my thoughts about burnt bridges and why the two connect:
As you continue to hone in on your talents and meet more individuals, you will come across some people who won't like you. That is something out of your control. It is not your responsibility for how people respond to what you say or do. Relationships are destroyed as you go on in life. Parents and mentors will say not to burn your bridges, but when you are doing everything in your power to make meaningful relationships and be kind to everyone, it seems that the other person has already started the fire. Whether they are expecting you to put it out or throw more fire to the existing flames, how will you know? Humans have a terrible habit of assuming other people can read their minds. From what I know and how I simply process information is if you started a fire, it means you want to burn everything we had built down.
Don't test your relationships because if they actually meant anything, you wouldn't put them at risk. People usually follow your actions and disappoint when they listened and responded to what you threw at them. If you started a fire expecting to be saved from the flames, sadly, you're going to get burned.
It's all comes back to choosing between losing relationships from jealousy of your work or being liked because you don't pose a threat. Humans are an interesting bunch. Society tells us to be inspiring, hard working and to dream big. Then when one does just that and does so successfully, people become frightened, jealous, self-conscious and personally defeating towards this threat. Don't see life as a big competition. It's good to be the best, but you'd want to be surrounded by like-minded people, and in order to do so, there needs to be more inspiring people in the world. No matter how threatening it is to your own pursuits.
Photograph by Joshua Allen Harris