Friend, I am stumped as to why we, as people, are so insecure and cautious around other human beings. We cradle our hearts and our minds, scared to let anyone too close, know too much, or see too far into us. As soon as we start to open up, our instincts tell us to cringe back — preparing to be struck. Afraid of the rejection we could, potentially, suffer.
Perhaps this is conditioned into us after pain and disappointment. Those we care about failing to fulfill a promise, leaving us with disappointment and heartache.
We crave connections, understanding, and for someone to love and accept us for who we are — warts, pimples, fears, insecurities, love handles, dimply butt and all. However, we don’t feel comfortable with letting someone close enough to see those things — and to accept us in spite of them.
When I was a teenager my closest friends made me hug. I hated it.
They would run up to me, excited to see me, wrap their arms around me in a warm embrace. I would stiffen up and pat their backs awkwardly in return. I don’t know why this is. It isn’t as though I was raised in a household void of hugs, but for some reason a hug made me uncomfortable. My friends didn’t let this sway them from enveloping me with numerous hugs throughout the day. Quite the contrary, they made it their mission to get me to hug without recoiling. This is one of my memories that I will always cherish, because it is an example of people not giving up on me — even when I may have seemed unlovable.
My inability to hug could have made those I cared about step back from me in an effort to preserve their own feelings. After all, who likes to be rejected? That is just what I was doing when I failed to hug back in return. No, I wasn’t consciously snubbing people I cared about, but it could very well have been interpreted in this manner. However, it wasn’t, and they didn’t. I am forever grateful for that, and so are all the people who have hugged me since and haven’t felt me draw back from them in terror (though they might not realize that they owe a debt of gratitude to my my childhood chums).
Maybe it was easier to take risks when we were young; to hug, despite knowing that it may not be returned — because our hearts were buoyant — not weighed down by prior mishandlings. All I know is that we, as humans, are weird. We want to be appreciated, accepted, and loved — yet we are so timid to put ourselves into situations where this could potentially become a reality, all because it isn’t a certainty.
The risk of being damaged and hurt just doesn’t seem to be worth the reward of being found desirable and longed for. However, this is an illusion perpetrated by our insecurities and fear of rejection.
Friend, I think if we take the time and think of the important people in our lives, the people we love and have loved, we will see that it is worth it… for all those relationships started with one step… and I bet it was a scary one.
Your Trusted Friend ❤