Are You Giving the People You Care about Your Full heart or a Fraction of it for Self-protection?
This is a question I have to ask myself daily due to my ability of keeping my heart completely to myself. Over the years I’ve learned that if I keep everyone I know on the surface level I don’t have to worry about getting rejected or feeling awkward based on people’s response. Most people would rather stay on the surface level anyway because they lack the capacity to comprehend that there are deeper things in life to converse about other than sports, weather, vehicles, work, and any other mediocre subject. I am not saying those subjects aren’t interesting or worth talking about. On the contrary, I actually enjoy expressing my thoughts on each of those subjects but it becomes a problem when that is all a person has to offer in what they think is a meaningful conversation.
I learned from experience that if friends and love ones only share surface level information with each other over a span of years, there is a great possibility that they will run the risk of not knowing one another authentically. How can a person be known but not actually known? I’ll give you an example, growing up my sister and I hardly ever spoke to one another about life, dreams, fears, or anything else of value concerning our personal well being. We just fought and disagreed about everything. We didn’t know how to converse about anything of value. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have serious life issues to discuss, like how we felt about being fatherless. Or about how we felt about our mother working two jobs to support us on her own. My mother wasn’t the type of person to express herself verbally either so when she was home from work we still had no avenue to express ourselves. This didn’t means she didn’t love us or that we didn’t love her, we just didn’t know how to converse about things that people who love each other should converse about.
I was afraid to allow anyone in because I didn’t know if they would accept what I had on my mind and heart. Due to the fact that all the males in my family were either in prison or dead, I struggled with my sexuality. I just needed a man to validate my masculinity and tell me the ins and outs of being a male — It doesn’t just come naturally. But all I had were women role models. So I turned to pornography to figure out what I was attracted to as child. I just wanted to know which way to go without being embarrassed for even questioning my sexuality. This shouldn’t have been the case but I saw no other way and I was curious. I was a victim of feeling like I didn’t have a safe place to trust people with the conditions of my internal state of being.
Even though I was a kid then, that doesn’t mean the problems I was experiencing during those times are childish issues. On the contrary, it is still hard at times to be honest with people about how I feel about being single in my mid twenties, family issues, failures at being the man I would like to be, being fatherless, and other things I should be talking about instead of pretending to be this perfect person with no problems. I am only hurting myself when I’m not authentic! The friends I share my heart with do not have all the answers. More often than not they just listen. I’ve come to realization that when I keep things bottled up, I to stray off into a state of depression and despair. Still at times I find myself venturing back to the grounds of not wanting to be known because I feel like I am the only person experiencing or have experienced what is on my heart. That often times is a lie and even when it is true, it is better for someone to know rather than being kept bottled up.
I haven’t met many people who are on that level of being honest on where they are in life but whenever I have the pleasure of being in the presence of a friend who I can be real with, it is like a breath of fresh air to my soul. All people want to be known no matter what they say or what you think. It is the decision of every individual if they are willing to allow people to get to know the real person inside or the person they display for the world to see. I pray that when the time comes for me to get married, I can create a family atmosphere where my wife and children don’t mind sharing the good, bad, and the ugly with me while I also do the same for them.