It's always been hard for me to let down my guard around people. I've always been a guarded person. And I've been thinking about it, recently. Especially since my recent escapades in the realm of questioning reality and the power of the mind (starting to see the real meaning of the phrase "mind over matter"), I've been increasingly open to the world around me, whereas before, I always closed myself off, trying to be nice to people while keeping my distance. And I'm remembering sometimes why I closed myself off in the first place.
My brother has always been the really sensitive one in the family. The strange thing is, I'm starting to think that maybe I'm built to be as sensitive as he is, maybe more so. That's not to say I act sensitive. But I've always been attuned to the underlying emotions of the people around me. I think early on I was so sensitive to it, I walled myself off. First of all, I think that's part of where my self-consciousness comes from. I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be, but I grew up always aware of what people were saying, the looks they gave me, the things they said and the feelings they emitted. And I copied them. Somewhere along the line, it started to hurt (not the copying - the sensitivity). A friendship would shatter and I'd take it so personally. My hopes for a certain future would fail, and my emotions would be so strong, I couldn't live with it without building up safeguards. Now I don't even know how to be good friends with anyone even. Trust takes a long time and openness comes difficult. I don't know when this started. I can't point to any specific time. I'm probably being overdramatic about the oh-so-ordinary events of my life. I was probably always this way, careful, cautious, analytical and guarded.
The thing is, I've been coming to believe that we are all connected, that there is more to our existence than a bunch of little bubbles colliding every now and then. It is more like a great pool. Every drop of water affects every other. Maybe not enough to make waves, but enough to... enough. So when I lower walls and try to use my mind and my existence to bless the world and make a difference and all that fun stuff, I collide with the reality from which I walled myself off, from which I became calloused. Sometimes it is beautiful and wonderful. Sometimes I go, "eaugh!" and cringe and grimace in horror. The negativity around me becomes stark and difficult, a presence to grapple with and wrestle with every moment of the day. It is better than just sleeping beneath the surface, being tossed back and forth by the waves. But it is difficult. Love and goodness are not easily maintained. And they must be maintained. It's like treading water, staying above the surface. You can never stop kicking. Not until you're rescued or you reach the shore.
So what do I do? Well, besides keep treading?