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For most of my life, I struggled with opening myself up to others; I was withdrawn, secretive, and comfortable being that way. Today I am able to see that it was a lack of self-esteem and the absence of a sense of self identity that led me to feel secure living my life that way. How could I show others who I was and relate to them if I didn’t even know who I was?
One of my biggest struggles I’ve made huge progress with is overcoming my aversion to open up to people. At this point in my life I have begun to define who I am and how I relate to the world around me, and my confidence in myself has allowed me to begin living my life with a very ‘open book‘ policy: the attitude that I would rather be loved, accepted, understood, or disliked for who I really am and what I really think and feel, then continue wasting my time and energy tip-toeing around the idea of who I think others will like.
My discovery? That we are all human. That we all have painful or difficult things in our past and present to deal with. And by opening up, we allow ourselves to be taken in by others. By opening up and talking about all the things I thought I never wanted anyone to know about me, I deepened my understanding and relationships with those people because they, in turn, opened up to me.
No one judged me for what I had to say, just like I didn’t judge what they had to say, because we understood that life happens and that we aren’t defined by what has happened, but rather by how we carry on with ourselves and our lives. Parts of me that had been cold and lonely for years were suddenly warmed by the touch of human acceptance and love.