As a young girl, I was always very outgoing and silly. I enjoyed smiling, laughing, and joking around. I also had a huge passion for making other people laugh. I wanted to see everyone with a smile on their face.
During my teenage years, I became withdrawn. I started dealing with anxiety and depression that stemmed from extreme social anxiety. I spoke to a few friends, but it was all small talk. The middle school years and most of my high school years were very trying times for me.
Young adulthood soon approached and slowly by slowly, I started coming out of my shell and gaining back confidence in myself. I started regularly socializing and opening myself up to others. I had many learning experiences with my group of friends and when I started dating. Not all of these were positive, many were detrimental to my sense of self and my trust in others.
I have always been someone that loves to care for others. I am very empathetic, and I always want to lend a helping hand. I enjoy sitting down and connecting with other people. If I can be of any sort of help, even just by listening, then my day has been made.
Because of my kind and helping nature, I have been taken advantage of more times than I can count. I have seen many fair-weather friends. It really is sad to me that so many people take advantage of others because they are good-hearted. It is not in my nature to ever do that to someone.
The life experiences that we go through can make or break us. Sure, we can keep a positive mindset and that helps tremendously, but we don’t forget the way that others have treated us in the past. Though much of this comes within, pleasant experiences will help our confidence and self-esteem. Experiences that cause us suffering can lead to mental health issues, lower self-esteem, and issues with trust.
The latter is a big one for me. I have had many experiences where people have taken advantage of my personality, ones that appeared to be the most loyal friends that ended up leaving and relationships where there was much dishonesty. Over time, it really weighed on me. Naturally, I decided to put a wall up.
I am thankful to have a good group of friends today. I am close with only a select few, however. Many are acquaintances or good friends, but very few are best friends and ones that I can open my heart to. I am not an open book, and it takes a very long time to gain my trust and be open and vulnerable. I don’t want to be this way, I want to be able to trust everyone that I meet until they prove untrustworthy, however, the very people that I trusted to never hurt me ended up doing so in more ways than one.
I keep most people at arm’s length. I am trying hard to change this. I strive to be authentic and vulnerable; it is no easy feat. I am very friendly but also very slow to get to know. I used to put everything out there, but now my heart is guarded. I would like to unblock this energy and be able to see other people without a sense of fear. Sometimes I wonder if I am not able to pick up signs and red flags as well as others. Sometimes I think that I see people in only a good light, and I fail to spot someone who is not genuine.
I love to get to know others. I love it when they open up their hearts and minds to me, it fosters such a beautiful connection. Relationships are a two-way street and I know that if I don’t share my heart with the ones that are sharing it with me, it will be a one-sided relationship. Others may not feel as strong of a connection to me if I don’t reciprocate the intimacy and connection. I admire so much when I see two people in a loving relationship or in a deep friendship. I wonder to myself “how do they do it!?”
Knowing where we fall short and what we want to change is a huge step in the right direction. I hope that in time, I will be able to tear down these walls.