I can feel it. My inner-being’s construction crew is getting very antsy and they want to start work on building my Fortress of Solitude.
It seems that I’ve been getting a little too vulnerable lately. I’ve shared feelings, extended olive branches, apologized for past hurts and opened myself up to rejection. All of these items put me at risk for hurt and pain and disappointment. Even today, I had a rude awakening…let’s just call it a defining moment for now.
While these activities don’t qualify as attacks, they are slow and destructive poundings that chip away at my emotional stability, which is shaky at best these days. Enter the brick builders who want to help me build a wall…to keep people out and protect me from harm.
Sidebar: This morning I was accused of being too needy. Did you know there’s a quiz you can take to see how needy you are in a relationship? I took it. I’m not needy. My descriptor was “Picture Perfect”. Yes, I answered 100% honestly, even when I felt the answer was unflattering.
Practicing detachment is a process by which a person separates themselves from the emotional reactivity of a situation. I’ve been “practicing” detachment but I’m not very good at it. I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m very upfront. When I’m sad, I cry. When I’m happy, I smile. I don’t do well playing poker either.
Knowing how terrible I am at shielding my feelings, my little construction workers are quietly building a wall around me brick by invisible brick. They want to protect me from harm. They mean well.
Unfortunately, building a wall to keep people out means I’m also building a wall that keeps me in…and isolated. It’s called Emotional Isolation
Many people suffering from this kind of isolation have strong social networks, but lack a significant bond with their friends. While they can build superficial friendships, they are often not able to confide in many people. People who are emotionally isolated usually feel lonely and unable to relate to others. ~ WiseGeek
Emotional isolation is a possibility if I allow the wall to get too high. I won’t let that happen. I’ve learned a long time ago that reaching out to others is not a sign of weakness but a sign of personal strength. Admitting you need help AND accepting help is very empowering. Leaning on loved ones in a time of weakness teaches me trust in others and myself. Believe it or not, asking for help has made me a stronger person over the years.
I’m also very good at establishing deep bonds with my friends. I don’t know why, it’s just who I am. They know I will keep their secrets, crab with them when they want me to, call them out for being crazy when they need it, and always, always, always have their backs.
Back to my walls…
The crew knows I’ve been taking risks and they want me to stop. They believe the risk is too high.
Maybe my crew is right. Maybe I need to pull back, stop trying to live a full life, and huddle up in a cave and die an early death, even though my body will keep going.
It’s hard for me to explain to my little builders that the risk is worth the reward. They don’t care. They don’t see the joy, only the pain.
It would be easy to listen to my little construction crew, to give in and let them wall me off from the rest of the world, to fool myself into being content with superficial friendships where I trick myself into believing the barista at Starbucks is my friend, just because they remember my name and order.
But that wouldn’t be me.