After last week’s doozy of a post about money, I figure I might as well keep the trend of confessing my crazies going. Here’s the latest: I’m fiercely protective. Of myself. And I’m not sure I can help it.
I’ve referred to this strong sense of independence before. I’ve admitted to being afraid of those three big words (I need you). And, I’ve admitted that exploring vulnerability has been a big, life changing deal for me. That’s true. Taking on business partners? Vulnerable. Getting engaged five months ago? Vulnerable. Last week’s money post? Vulnerable. Having a money talk with Hunny that same week? Vulnerable.
I’m definitely working on it.
But as I do, I’m realizing that I don’t think if I’ll ever let myself be fully exposed. Like, if I equate it to being naked, I’ll forever be leaving my socks on or something. You know?
Because I’m thinking: there’s a fine line between being totally real and open and sharing your soul, and losing your soul altogether. At least, that’s what it feels like to me. I think I’m starting to push where that line IS, shifting it inch by inch. But for me, it’s probably always going to be there.
I’m absolutely terrified of losing myself in other people. I’m absolutely terrified of forgetting how to stand on my own. And I absolutely refuse to share my soul to the point where I can’t see where mine starts, and someone else’s begins.
I’m not just talking in the romantic sense, either. I’ve always felt the need to protect my soul from everyone. My family, my friends, my boss, my clients, and now my business partners, too. Not because I don’t trust people or love them. I do.
But regardless, I need to know that I’ll still have something left inside if the people and things I know were to go away. I need to feel enough strength of self that I could endure tragedy, loss, divorce, confusion, and simple day to day uncertainties and still have some sense of who I am.
To me, that means:
- Preserving my self confidence as best I can, mostly by not apologizing for it.
- Working on internalizing my values so that I don’t let them go, even if no one I know believes in them except me.
- Being a realist, and expecting that people are going to make mistakes, change their minds, and take care of themselves first.
- Trying to keep my definition of myself so complex that I’m never just a daughter, or just a wife, or just a business owner, or just a writer. I want to create capacity for things to change and the unexpected to happen and still have something left afterwards.
- Trusting my instincts so fully, that I believe in them even when others think they’re wrong.
- Learning how to not let other people’s energy overtake my own. This may sound a little crazy pants, but I think I’m really sensitive to the energy other people project, especially the negative stuff. I need to keep a bit of a shield up so I can feel, navigate through and respond to other people’s stuff, without letting it morph into my stuff.
- Constantly observing and learning from other people. Observing what they go through and how they handle it. Observing how they make decisions and defend them. Observing how they choose their words in order to bluff, convince, or endorse. Observing how they feel about themselves and in turn, what that means for people around them.
These are my ideals; they’re not absolutes. They’re things I work toward and perspectives I try to maintain. But they’re a work in progress and are most definitely fragile. Perhaps most importantly, they’re where I am right now. And where I might be for a while.
What do you think? Am I crazy? Young and naive? Too guarded? Unrealistic? Idealistic?
I’m curious to know how where I’m coming from compares to where you’re coming from. Go on, spill!
(P.S. Confession #3: Part of the reason I’ve been able to own up to this stuff and share it with you guys is Molly, and her gentle questioning, poking, encouraging, and coaching that I SO appreciate. I love to hate her tough questions; they lead me to realizations like the one I just shared. If you’re looking for some more insight into YOU, or a whole host of other benefits that working with her offers, you should apply for her first-ever scholarship. But hurry, applications are due Sunday.)