People love to talk about themselves – but how often do we really open up to our selves, our vulnerabilities or insecurities?
It makes sense not to – after all, how many people can we really trust with such honesty.
None – because we too terrified to really give anyone a chance – and we all do it to each other.
When I was in my early twenties, I read a brilliant book called “Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am”, by John Powell. I read it all in one sitting one quiet afternoon in the University library, and it changed the way I looked at people and myself forever.
It was all about the fear of ever really revealing your true self – your feelings of fear and shame – because of those very feelings of fear and shame.
Being frightened of rejection, abandonment, of not being approved of or loved.
“This is all I have – if I give you that, and you don’t like it, what do I have left?”
So instead we keep our true, inner worlds to ourselves.
All the little doubts, anxieties, insecurities.
Sure – we may share a few here and there, its almost fashionable too – like “here, look how human and self-aware I am!” but its rarely the real scary feelings that fiercely limit our everyday lives and social encounters.
You can almost see how this tendency to not want to share our true selves with people has led to a kind of “unsociable” evolution.
Taller garden wall fences.
Online shopping rather than in person.
Texting someone rather than calling to cancel an appointment.
Leaving Facebook statuses to give false impressions of how your life is.
Reading other peoples online expressions as a substitute for calling and having a genuine conversation.
Trusting the sensationalised ratings-hungry media to believe that everyone is out to get you, that the world is a far more hostile place than it is, as a justification for avoiding strangers.
Again, the secrecy just gives more energy to the feelings of shame, more disconnection, more withdrawal, and less opportunity to have genuine moments of empathy with others.
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