When I was younger I thought that trusting people was for the weak. As I got older I continued to build barriers around my soul, I built a keep on an island surrounded by a moat full of vicious crocodiles. There was no drawbridge therefore no entry and no exit. So there I stayed isolated from the “pain” and the “grief” that trusting would cause. I let no one in and I let nothing out.
There are unspoken rules that everyone learns growing up. Many people go their entire lives without knowing why they feel a certain way about something or the reason they react to something the way they do. These ideals and feelings are instilled in us over such a long period of time that we don’t even recognize learning them. For me trust was something I never fully understood. I understood that to trust someone was to be “totally and completely honest with them”. However it always seemed to be a double-edged sword for me. When I trusted, I did not feel the love and compassion people spoke of. The feelings that come to mind are more along the lines of anger, fear, resentment, and pain. For me I felt that this so-called trust thing was just a way for people to trick you into telling them your secrets.
As the years went on I trusted less and less and I started to feel an emptiness. After doing some intensive work one on one with a licensed professional I got to a point to where I could trust. I wanted people to know me for me. I wanted to know other people for who they truly were. I was tired of living the lie. I walked around donned in my “armor” of humor and apathy. I was afraid to show the world my imperfections. I didn’t want the world to see my flaws. However now I want to be real and authentic. I want to be vulnerable. I’m over worrying what your’e going to think about me or who your’e going to tell. I’m OK with me and if you aren’t well then we probably shouldn’t be friends. I’m not saying we all need to agree on everything I’m just saying we need to respect other people’s beliefs, views, and opinions. Life is too short for me to spend all day worrying about how other people will perceive me or for me to dictate how you should live your life. I’m learning to be content with myself and content with the fact that not everyone is going to like me. And you know whats funny? It seems the very thing that frightened me most (becoming honest and vulnerable) attracts the people I want to be surrounded by. It attracts people who live by the same principles as I do, other individuals that use love and respect as a way of life.
Now of course it’s not all roses, there are some fools who don’t understand. I take that back. I don’t think it’s that they don’t understand. I think they are just terrified of taking off their armor. Without armor we are defenseless. We are vulnerable. We are susceptible to the pain. I found that by ridding myself of my shields I actually felt more comfortable than before. I became so content carrying around all my bullshit and not sharing that it was normal to feel exhausted. Once I let it all go and realized that I control how I feel and what you think does not define me I was able to live freely. I have days when all I want to do are stay in bed and not face the world. Days when it all seems too unbearable. On these days I try to reflect back on how I felt before making a shift in my thought process. Often times when I think back on the emotional isolation I realize that the armor I carried then was heavier than the pain I feel now.
We are social creatures that thrive on interaction and have an unquenchable thirst for relationships. So go out today and be honest with someone. Love someone for who they are. Offer the same level of respect to others that you want in return. Reach out, become vulnerable and take a risk.