Letting people in
Letting people in
I remember being very little, and just loving people and letting people in – meaning, letting them into my heart and being open and transparent and letting them see all of me. But somehow it didn’t come naturally to me to build relationships with others despite my efforts, for I just wanted to love them and be with them. I was like a little puppy dog, enthusiastically following around my favourite people, but this affection wasn’t always reciprocated.
By around age 8 I had accumulated enough rejection from people to decide that I was going to shut them out. I did a very good job at shutting people out. I convinced myself that I didn’t care – that friendships weren’t that important anyway – and that people weren’t really worthwhile.
For a long time it has felt like ‘me against the world’. I felt very much alone, somehow different, and like there was no place for me in the world. I spent much of my life trying to perfect a persona that would help me fit in, presenting myself as ‘all sorted’, ‘sociable’, ‘confident’, but I still felt as if I was very separate from others. During this time someone mentioned to me that they felt like I didn’t let anyone see the ‘true me’; that I seemed aloof and intimidating even when someone wanted to get close. Somehow it really upset me to hear that because I had worked so hard on building my persona, which I thought came across as ‘warm’ and ‘approachable’. I don’t think I even knew what it meant to show the real me, or why that was even important.
Looking back, I did have friends throughout my life, but at the time it didn’t feel like it because I wasn’t truly letting anyone in, letting them see the whole of me. Despite having people in my life, I often felt very lonely. The loneliness sometimes felt like a physical pain. When I would see people spending time together enjoying each other’s company, I would feel a physical pang in my heart.
Despite thinking that I didn’t care, I knew that true connection and intimacy were possible between people and I craved that, but I didn’t know how to go about finding or building those relationships.
Several years ago I started learning about the Ageless Wisdom as presented by Serge Benhayon. One of the things Serge spoke about is how we are all connected. I loved how that sounded, and that was something that I had always felt in my heart, that we are all deeply connected and our natural state is to love one another. He spoke about intimacy as letting people in and letting them see the real you. I found this very intriguing, but scary, as I had spent so long trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. There were parts of me that I felt deeply ashamed of – a feeling of there being something ‘wrong’ with me. How could I show all of me and still be accepted, much less loved?
But because I really wanted to have closer relationships in my life, I embarked on a journey of letting people in. I started by becoming aware of the mask that I wore around others, and what it would feel like to not wear it. Initially it felt very awkward, but I decided to allow that sense of awkwardness.
I realised that I would have to be kinder to myself, to allow myself to feel awkward or nervous, or say the wrong things, without beating myself up afterwards. That felt great: instead of using my mistakes to build another layer on my armour, I used them to practise being kind to myself.
I realised that not only was I not letting people in, I was actually pushing them away. I was incredibly judgemental of others, and unable to accept their flaws. But I wasn’t able to see this at first; all I could see was how judgemental others were, and I used that to justify my decision to push them away. I slowly came to realise that the judgmental people in my life were offering a reflection to me, and the reason that they upset me so much was because it reflected my own tendency to be judgmental towards others, and particularly towards myself.
Although this was initially difficult to take on board, it was very liberating to begin to let go of judgement, and to begin to accept others (and myself) for who we are, rather than holding everyone up to an impossible standard of perfection. I started to see that there was something to appreciate in everyone; I could see the beauty in others, and slowly my love for people started to grow again. I began to enjoy my interactions with people so much! I was able to see that a moment of connection with a stranger was no less than a connection with family and close friends.
But there was more to go, and more to let go of. Despite my love for people I could feel that I wasn’t really letting them see all of me, or allowing in their support. I loved people, but I still wasn’t sure that they could love me. All my life it has felt like there was something in me that I needed to hide in order to be accepted in the world. At first this was not a conscious realisation, as the shame and hiding were second nature to me; it was something that I slowly became aware of. The more aware I became of this, the more I was able to question if there was even any truth to it. Yes, I have my quirks, and some of them are admittedly odd, but that does not make me any less loveable. I could see those same quirks in others too, and that made me realise I wasn’t alone.
The more light I shone on the parts of myself I had hidden away, the more I realised that there was in-truth nothing to hide.
I began to appreciate myself for how beautiful I am. And I began to see that others loved and appreciated me too! I began to allow myself to feel loved. And even when I come across rejection now, it doesn’t hurt so much, because I have learned not to take it personally or let it reduce me from the love that I am and feel for myself.
It feels beautiful to know that I can continue to deepen my relationships, and to keep allowing more intimacy. It is like a continually evolving exploration.
I no longer feel separate from others, and instead it feels like we are all inextricably connected in this grand Universe of ours.