When it comes to social bonding, the best method to getting to know another person is to allow yourself to slowly unraveling who you are to them.
However, what happens when you find yourself having an extremely difficult time letting other people know who you truly are? What happens when letting others see just how emotionally intense you can be becomes a task that can't be met? It feels as if once the other person thinks they've finally found the key to unlock your heart, you immediately install ten more locks underneath, preventing them from ever getting inside.
If you find yourself subconsciously dealing with this, you are not alone. I can wholeheartedly admit that for almost 21 years of my life I have been incredibly afraid to allow others to see the sensitive side as me, doing everything in my power to prevent myself from appearing vulnerable. Although I do crave for an emotional and mental connection with other people, the minute someone shows interest in doing so with me I either constantly play mind games so they have no choice but to jump through hoops for me, or I lock them out all together.
There are multiple reasons why a person may be unwilling to open up to others, none of which are the individuals fault. Some people like myself have had to endure traumatic experiences during sensitive ages of our lives, and our reactions to those experiences were not taken as seriously as they should have been during that time. As a result, we began to close ourselves up from the public eye as a new way to protect ourselves from rejection, misunderstandings, and experiencing that same pain over again. Although closing ourselves up is not seen as a positive social skill, doing so is undoubtedly a coping mechanism and survival tactic that we were forced to learn throughout time in order to keep our sanity.
Traumatic experiences are not the only causes for people to be afraid of vulnerability. Some of us are also just naturally selective people in who we share our hearts with, being an introvert if you will. While extroverted personalities have higher chances of being on the scene and allowing an open space for others to get to know who they are, Introverts are more likely to prefer smaller groups and less socially chaotic environments to get to know others. We also may have a fear of appearing helpless to others, as we have been psychologically groomed since childhood to believe that showing of our emotions is a sign of weakness. To let another person seeing you at your lowest state, especially allowing them to see you cry, may cause you to feel guilt and shame for letting another person see you so "weak."
For years this has been my go-to method whenever someone found interest in me or wanted to get to know me. I would constantly build a wall between myself and the other person to ensure they don't come too close to me. I had no idea when I was going to grow out of this habit, nor did I believe I should. By guarding myself I felt I was helping myself stay safe from the dangerous, shady people in the world, and that my emotions wouldn't necessarily benefit the world around me anyway.
However, those days are beginning to come to an end.
It has taken me quite some time, but as the years go on I am slowly beginning to realize how detrimental it is to allow myself to open up. The option to completely connect to another becomes absolutely slim when I refuse to open my heart. My refusal to be vulnerable, while keeping me "safe" from fake and fraudulent people, has hurt my chances and opportunities for business, friendships, and romantic relationships. Something that I had seen merely to be just a coping mechanism, began to block my blessings and welcomed feelings of loneliness instead.
There are so many people in this world who could change my life for the better, so many younger girls who could use my advice to better themselves, so many individuals that could love me for who I am, yet by not allowing myself to be vulnerable, I will never be able to experience that. Thus, one of my goals for 2017 is to constantly break down these walls that I have grown to be comfortable living with. I want to be able to feel, I want to finally give people the chance to get to know the real me, and I deserve to do so. While my choice may be risky to some, I am positive that finally letting myself go and taking up the emotional space I deserve will be great for my emotional wellness.
Allowing your heart to be open for display is probably one of the scariest things you could ever do, but so necessary for your growth as an individual. Your thoughts are important, you're feelings are important, and your entire being has a purpose. You're a beautifully made individual, and the world deserves to know who you truly are. Allow yourself to be free, and share your greatness with the world.
Yes, you may end up getting hurt, Yes, your trust may be taken for granted. Yes, you may cry for another night due to another person playing with your heart like a toy. However, you just might meet another person who understands and gets your heart like no other, and the connection you two will form could possibility last a lifetime.
- Asia Jones