So you’ve been reading all about this vulnerability lark, or you’ve watched Brene Brown’s TED talk, and it seems really logical from the outside, but the reality is, there are certain people you just can’t open up to. There are certain people you can be yourself around, and others who get a somewhat edited version of you. The judgey mum’s at school, your old high school teacher, your mentor, your clients or co-workers, even your friends have a rating scale of how much of yourself you can be around them.
Any of this sounding a little familiar?
Most of us have certain masks or veils we use to tone down aspects of our personalities and ramp up others, depending on who we’re around. In a sociological sense, it’s healthy – we all need to get along to a greater or lesser degree so knowing that the rude jokes you and your mates have a laugh about in the bar aren’t going to be suitable at the latest parent – teacher evening isn’t a bad thing. What can be someone debilitating to your sense of self, is not trusting the people closest to you with your whole self.
I’d like you to check in for a moment and ask yourself how many people in your life you feel like you can be 100%, no holes barred, yourself with? One, three, five, none?!
For most people, it’s only their nearest and dearest who get the full experience, everyone else gets a veiled version. That’s cool, but if you’re looking at only one or two people, and maybe even no-one, it becomes pretty exhausting. This is where trust comes in.
You might like to ask yourself what’s SO scary about you, that you don’t want people who love and care about you to see. Have you surrounded yourself with people who will think less of you if they see an unfiltered version? Are you happy having those people as your nearest and dearest?
I tricked you with the title of this blog post. I’m sorry. Truly. There is no ‘quick fix’ to trusting someone. It also can only come from you. I can’t force you to trust someone, neither can someone make you trust them, but you can learn. You can examine the real reason you don’t want to let someone in. You can examine where that fear lies – whether it’s from a fear of getting hurt, or a fear of being rejected – and honestly ask yourself, if this person hurts me or rejects me a) will I survive it? (I’ll answer that one for you – 99.9% yes) and b) do I want that sort of person in my life?
Yes, I’ve made it sound simplistic. That’s because, at it’s core, it is. If you want to be close to someone, you have to trust them. End of. If that person ends up hurting you as a result of you placing your trust in them, that’s a reflection on them, not on you. Learn any warning signs or lessons you need to learn and pick better people to be around in future, don’t just learn that you can’t trust anyone! That’s not a viable answer!
You may take my advice today and get hurt, and if you do, I feel for you, but I know you will survive, I know you will get over it, and I know you will have the opportunity to trust again. When you do, take it, because life cannot ever be enjoyed fully when part of you is in hiding.