The endeavour of connecting with people is always bittersweet. I would say that it is one of the most vulnerable acts we can perform. We, humans, are wired for connection as a species and therefore always crave it – it gives us a feeling of security, safety and fulfilment. As an introvert, reaching out to connect with anyone is an act of utter courage, the result of a lot of rumination about the many scenarios in which I would be rejected and an act of defiance to the voices in my head that tell me I would not bring much to the relationships I become part of. It basically hurts to reach out. And when I do connect, I give of myself wholeheartedly.
Looking back on some of my interactions this week, I remembered Dr. Brene Brown’s talking about armor. While she recognizes that people armor up because they don’t want to be hurt, they want to make sure they keep attacks and hurt away, the same shield “protects” them from love, true connection and, basically … life.
It must be getting close to winter break – it’s been a tough week. I started the week being bullied into a decision, continued it finding out about things going on behind my back, and ended it having things demanded of me as if I owe anything to anyone. And each act surprised me, every, single time. And it hurt, every single time. Probably a little less as years go by – scarred heart tissue turns into thick skin I guess.
We, humans, can be beautiful, inside and out. And when two humans connect authentically it’s like a gorgeous symphony and life seems to fall into place. We, humans, are also vanity driven, we have agendas and act to further that rather than really connect. And when this is revealed, it hurts. Especially when you choose not to see it coming.
My partner calls me naive. To my face, many times. I can see where she comes from and I cannot contradict her. I choose to be surprised by people and to not ever see anything coming. I guess long ago I decided that starting with an assumption that every person is after something is like putting up heart numbing armor. And that it is more painful for me to always assume people are going to get me one way or the other, or that they are pursuing agendas, or that they are not what they seem. This feels painful and alienating and hurts me more than actually assuming the best and having it thrown back in my face after the fact.
Today I choose to always offer my fellow humans (the operative word) the benefit of the doubt (do onto others … ). I choose to potentially be hurt by others than to deal myself a blow that may be lethal to my joy and sense of belonging: I choose to assume people are good (ok, most people are good 🙂 ) until proven otherwise. And even then, maybe they are just having a bad day … there is so much beauty in second (and third, and fourth …) chances. 🙂
Photo by Brandi Burnss