“The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.”
The root of my inability to be open stems from my childhood. (I guess much of who we are comes from childhood, right?)
I remember around the time I was eight years old going to a party at my aunt’s house. Even though I don’t remember the details of the party, I do remember what happened after. We got home that night and my mom asked me, ”Don’t you think you should be a little more reserved or have a little mystery to you?” I was thinking, “Huh?” What did I say or express at this party that made her say that? I’m sure I needed to hear that, because who knows what the heck I was saying. And I do believe having some boundaries is important. But I was a little expressive girl sharing my insides and sharing what I saw and experienced. I don’t believe we should share everything with everybody and “emotionally vomit” on people, but for some reasons, that moment really defined me. I looked up to my mother, and since I grew up without a father, I looked to her for guidance.
But now as an adult, I realize that my mother was a private, closed person herself. So she was projecting that onto me. As I got older, I continued little by little closing parts of me off.
People used to always tell me, “Farah, you are such a great listener.” And yes, that is one of my best qualities, and I truly do enjoy people and want to see and hear them. But I rarely give people the chance to see me and hear me.
If someone I don’t know very deeply asks me a question, I usually think before answering and feel uncomfortable talking about myself. Even if there is an opening or opportunity to share one of my experiences in a social setting, sometimes I choose not to.
Why? Some guesses I have are:
- I didn’t want to be judged.
- I didn’t want to give up the illusion of having it all together.
- I didn’t want to be seen as weak or needy.
- I didn’t want to be vulnerable.
- I didn’t want people to not like the real me.
- And I’m an extrovert! I have always made friends easily and have always had friends. But recently, I took a look at my adult friendships, and I discovered that I only have a handful of friends that I would consider deep and extremely connected and meaningful, where I can totally be myself and feel comfortable completely trusting them with everything.
Yes, I know many people say they don’t need a lot of deep relationships and only need a few. But is that BS we tell ourselves? Is that really true?
Why can’t every relationship we have be as deep and connected? Aren’t most of us mirrors of each other and struggling for the same things?
The reality is that I don’t want distance between me and anyone in my life. What I really crave is closeness to others and my community and many real connections. Being more open at the same time I feel vulnerable is like learning a second language for me. I know I will never be the person to spill my guts and be expressive the way others can be, and I’m okay with that. But I know it’s possible to open up your blinds for all people to see while remaining authentic.