Learning To Let People In

I would like to say I've always been introverted. But deep down, I know it's not true. I think in the last few years, I have been introverted by choice. I have shut down as a protective response to all the difficulties I have gone through in life. I didn't want to hear another opinion or criticism or face another disappointment. I didn't want to make friends only to have them leave. I didn't even want to see or talk to people. I didn't want a job where I had to talk to anyone. I was tired and I wanted to live in a bubble to heal and recover.

For a while it worked. But after a few years, reality has hit. I can't stay in my own little world forever. I have family who need me to live in the present. And despite my denials, I do need friends and people in my life. The one good thing about being older though is that I have the wisdom to realise you really can't please everyone and that you should actually expect that that are always going to be people who hate you and what you do and will chuck negativity at you. At this age I am more self-assured and do not measure my self-worth by how much people like me (or pretend they like me). I no longer worry about doing the right thing or saying the right thing to not provoke debate or anger, as long as it is a genuine and true thought or action (obviously it is not in my nature to be intentionally inflammatory, but I won't be buttering up people who disagree with me just so they like me).

Once upon a time, I used to enjoy talking to strangers and making friends. A part of me still does but I'm not as blatant and forward as I used to be when I was younger. For example, I don't enjoy making up a character and talking to someone (that I know I will never see again) as that character for the heck of it anymore (and no this was not a pick up thing at all- I just used to enjoy acting). I do value quality over quantity these days but that doesn't mean I have to hold the people close to me tightly and never let anyone else in. I am trying to throw out the cynical side of me and be more open to relationships. To accept that not everyone can stay around forever but that doesn't mean we can't learn from them and enjoy life with them in a particular stage.

As part of my journey to being a better version of myself this year, I have made the choice to start plugging back into the real world. To be more open to forging connections, hearing from other people, talking to people, learning about other people's stories…To be more open to criticism and judgment, and to be more honest, authentic and real in my thoughts and actions. I recognise it won't be easy at times. It is hard to fight the instinct to protect our own hearts and not become defensive and wounded, but I will do my best.

I pledge to actually get with times and start using social media more, to read more people's blogs and learn from others, to not be afraid of speaking my mind, to email and message people more, to meet up with people when I can, to open up my mind to different perspectives…I choose to live in the real world and put myself out there without letting the fear of what people might think hold me back. I choose to be unashamedly me. I choose to still have an open heart despite what I've gone through…because I believe it is worth the happiness and positive experiences that I will receive.

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Oh look I've JUST joined social media! Joining these apps and trying to figure my way around them hurt my brain a little. It made me really wake up to the fact that I'm not 19 years old anymore!

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