The Hedgehog’s Dilemma
There’s this idea for explaining human relationships known as “the hedgehog’s dilemma” The hedgehogs need proximity to each other for warmth and to survive. The dilemma here is that as they get closer to one another they also increase the potential for harming themselves and those they are closest to. Similarly we humans need emotional proximity to have a healthy relationship and to be comfortable but the close we get to another person the greater the potential to be emotionally harmed.
At least that’s a theory but it presumes that we don’t want to get hurt. It presumes that emotional harm is a purely negative experience. It presumes that we as human being’s do not have the freedom to choose how we feel or how we react. We choose the meaning of any situation, we decide our emotions, we choose to view a break-up as “harmful”. Every cloud..blah blah…The glass is half…blah blah, when a relationship fails it hurts and our friends and family feed us cliches and sayings to try and make us feel better, but in the end it is up to YOU to decide exactly what the “silver lining” is.
My Dad used to make me listen to tapes with middle-aged american men spouting business advice. I’d often put them on as I was attempting to sleep letting the deep dulcet tones and endless talk of “goal setting” carry me off. However one piece of advice stuck clear in my head “failure is just learning how NOT to do something”. When something goes wrong or not the way I planned I could choose to think of my failed en devour as a waste of time, but instead I take it apart and look at the pieces. Understanding what went wrong is the first step in finding out how to do something right.
The hedgehog’s dilemma is a misnomer; it isn’t really a dilemma at all. You either want to get close to someone or you don’t, if you don’t then you won’t get hurt. If you do and you do get hurt you learn a lesson. If you do and don’t get hurt then it was worth the risk.
Take the chance, it’ll be worth it.
This article has been reproduced the Deputy-Editor Design from Concourse 2011/12. The original author is created above.