If These Walls Could Talk, They Would Say “Tear Me Down”

 By Nina Atwood

What happens when you get to the point of “No matter what the outcome I will be okay?” I seem to have the problem now that I know I’m okay and don’t need someone, I don’t get close to anyone.

There is an important distinction between individuation (basically, that I am a separate human being who is complete even when not in a relationship) and the fear of intimacy. You know it is the latter when you don’t allow yourself to get close to another person.

As human beings, we seek the middle ground, but sometimes we miss. Perhaps at one time in your life you got very close to someone, maybe even so close that you lost a bit of yourself. You opened your heart, you trusted, and you put everything you had into the relationship. Then one day something happened. You found yourself alone and lonely, grieving, hurt, lost and confused.

You picked yourself up, dusted yourself off (maybe sooner, maybe later), and you went on with your life. You resolved that never again would you allow yourself to be that devastated by another person. You created a life and became a whole and complete person once again. But in your zeal to make sure that you were whole and complete, you created a wall around your heart. You went just a bit too far the other way.

It is natural to go a bit too far to protect ourselves, as long as it’s temporary. When it becomes a way of life, then it is a problem. The way to begin shifting this is to consciously create opportunities to “practice intimacy” in a safe way. Find a group of like-minded people (meaning that you share a common philosophy, activity, religious practice or method of recovery) and participate in every possible way.

Attend meetings and be the greeter at the door so that you meet more people. Go to lunch or dinner afterwards so that you can connect with individuals. Invite people to your home for small social gatherings; invite people to dinner and share about your life. Find a charitable organization and contribute your time and energy. Open your heart in small ways, leading to larger ways.

These practices allow you to exercise the emotional muscle of connecting with other people, letting your heart discover that it is safe to let down those walls. The bonus is that you will fill your life with lots of valuable relationships! Being able to get close to others, to open your heart to love, is the best evidence of true security and happiness within oneself. It is when we have that inner strength that we are most able to open our hearts and take the risk of loving once again.

Entry Filed under: Breaking Up,Dating,Personal Growth

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