When I first started this blog, one of my goals was to be more open and honest with others about my life. As I stated then, sharing my life with others is one of my weaknesses, I generally just do my thing and move on. While I believe there’s a need to be protective of oneself, I also believe being overprotective can be damaging to growing meaningful interpersonal relationships. Tonight I was reminded of my innate tendency to be excessively protective of myself. I say excessively because I’m protective even with completely trustworthy people.
Long story short, I’ve been reading this book, The Circle Maker. The church pastored by the author of the book owns a coffeehouse, Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, in DC. I had been thinking about going to check the place out with a friend, and casually mentioned this in passing to a circle of folks at church. One of the individuals in the group mentioned that they would like to go to the coffeehouse with me. Without even stopping to think, I responded…”Ummm…I was actually planning to go there on a date.” While this was a true statement, afterwards, I felt bad about my response because I truly believe this person was reaching out to me in an effort to learn more about me, and grow our relationship, but I instantly shut her down. The thing is, it wasn’t personal, nor was it meant in a malicious way, it was just my natural response. I was protecting my time and space. This is an individual whom I know, but not that well, and I just know that our coffeehouse conversation could make me feel exposed. It’s not that I have anything to hide…it’s just that I like to control how far I let people into my space. I guess it’s one of my defense mechanisms.
Anyways, when I got home, I started asking myself why am I such a loner, why am I so fearful of opening up and sharing my life with people, why do I generally think people don’t think highly of me or have my best interest at heart? Despite knowing that I have surrounded myself by great people in every area of my life, I still struggle to be vulnerable to those closest to me. This is a big deal. I don’t have to be this protective of myself, yet I am!
So, it seems that perhaps it’s time to change this reality…much easier to say than do, I know, but it’s definitely possible to overcome this challenge. It’s possible to open up and try to be vulnerable (again) especially with people whom I trust. At the least, it’s never too late to try to overcome our greatest life struggles! So, I’m going to push my date plans to the back burner momentarily…there are always other places we can go…and revisit the idea of having a potentially vulnerable conversation with a church friend over a cup of tea (since I don’t even drink coffee)!
Until next time…