“You’re gonna end up getting hurt.”
I’m sure you’ve had a friend broadcast that warning. A good friend doesn’t want to see that happen to you, again. So he/she is just looking out for your best interest. That’s what they are there for, and I’m sure the last time you got your heart ripped wasn’t a fun experience for them either. The closer the friend, the more pain you share with them. Thank them for their concern, but don’t let that stop you. It’s okay to be scared, but don’t let that control your life.
We all have, in varying degrees, that fear of getting hurt. Sometimes, if you’ve been scorned frequently, that nervous anxiety growing in the pit of your stomach can be just as strong as the feelings you’re developing for this person. Some people won’t reveal all of themselves for that reason—they don’t want to be vulnerable. It’s a natural defense mechanism. You get your heart broken, the next few times you’re in a similar situation the guard comes up. You build the wall, protecting that tender sensitive vulnerability like it was the Fountain of Youth. It’s understandable, you have every right to. People will even say you’re being smart, protecting yourself…I’m not going to argue in defense of that stance, but I challenge you to do the opposite. Be vulnerable.
Now that doesn’t mean completely open up to every person after the second date. But if they have earned it, show them. That is part of who you are. I’m “talking” with a girl who lives in LA. Despite friend warnings of getting hurt and even my own hesitations, I allowed myself to develop feelings for this person. I’m in NY. She’s in LA. We are still doing our own thing, and if one of us finds someone, well…I’ll cross that bridge when it appears. This situation is filled with potential for getting hurt. I’m doin the dougie through a Soviet mine field with a blindfold on. Odds are I’m gonna get a limb blown off. But you know what….I don’t care.
It sucks to get hurt. But I’m not gonna let that fear stop me from enjoying my life and being who I am. Most of the people that know me best know I’m sensitive. I mean, I can handle shit talking with friends and all that, but as far as girls—I have the emotional armor of an over-ripe tangerine. This girl had a wall, strong well-armored protection of her sweet and sensitive side. Biting sarcasm, indifference, and sometimes straight up disrespect were all her weapons to protect herself. But once I earned that right, and she let the walls crumble down, I could see who she really was, and knowing that, made the difference. Someone is probably going to come away with from this precarious situation scathed, wounded, limping back to their side, vowing never again to go out into the battlefield unprotected. But that’s life. To me it’s worth it to have this connection with this person. And if she had never brought those walls down, I would have moved on. Life is about connecting—connecting to people, to ideas, to passions. The stronger the connections, the more you’re getting out of life. I’d rather experience a lot of amazing highs and crushing lows than to spend my life playing it safe down the middle. That was never me, and it never will be. Life is more enjoyable when you feel these tremendous emotional swings.
“But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”- Jimmy Valvano
Open up. Try it. I am. And if I get utterly devastated, which is probable, well…at least I’ll have something to write about.
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