What are you really afraid of?

Life is funny, isn’t it? We build connections with strangers normally because we have things in common. Somehow, these connections build into friendships. And, if you’re lucky, some of these become life long friendships.

A fantastic situation, really. But sometimes, people don’t live up to our expectations. Sometimes, people let us down. We simply can’t be perfect all of the time. Yet, we can’t help but feel disappointed. Disappointed in them for making us feel that way. Disappointed that they were so careless to not consider our feelings. And disappointed that it feels like, yet again, another person has let you down.

No surprise, right? This seems to always happen. It’s why you know you simply cannot rely on another human being for anything.

Actually, this is a really negative way of thinking. The only person we are hurting by thinking this way is ourselves. I’ve witnessed friends reach out on social media with statements similar to the above. Heck, I’ve even felt this way myself in the past. It wasn’t until I started looking into myself that I really started to understand what was going on.

Confronting ourselves is one of the hardest things to do. Because then we have to be honest with ourselves and truly open up. It’s in doing so that we really become vulnerable. But ultimately, by being vulnerable and exploring ourselves deeper is how we’ll ever really progress in life. How can you move forward if you don’t really know yourself? How can you expect anyone else to really know and understand you when you don’t understand you?

So, this is where I want to challenge you. If you find yourself thinking about other people in the negative ways above. Rather than simply saying to yourself “they let me down again”, start to ask yourself, “why am I feeling this way?

Take myself, for example, I had a situation where I was entering into a new relationship. As I grew closer to this new partner, I started to feel let down at times. So, I took it out on him. I told him he let me down. I told him he was stuffing up. I’d say things like, “I couldn’t believe he could do such a thing!” What he did isn’t the issue. How I reacted and how I was really feeling was.

When I started trying this new technique of asking myself why, I started to realise that it wasn’t him or his actions that were the problem. It was that I was putting problems and fears of past relationships into this relationship. I was scared and was feeling afraid that I was going to be let down again because that’s what always happens. Rather than giving this person a chance, I jumped in to protect myself from feeling hurt again.

https://brit.co.nz/what-being-vulnerable-taught-me/I started to change my conversation with this partner as a result. Being more open and honest about what was going on meant we could discuss and understand each other. It meant we could come to a resolution that worked for both of us. By being vulnerable, we became closer and connected more. And in doing so, I’ve never felt closer to another person. It’s scary and not easy but it’s worth more than a lifetime of loneliness due to fear. Also, by being honest with this person about my fears and where they came from, they could understand more about why I was reacting rather than feeling attacked for something they weren’t aware they were doing.

If we keep running away from getting close with other people out of fear, we will never really understand or appreciate the value of close relationships. If we continue to lump people into the same categories as ‘let downs’, we will never learn to develop better relationships. The best place, and the only place really, that you should start with to improve your relationships is within yourself.

Next time you start to feel like someone is letting you down, ask yourself why you’re feeling this way. What is it you’re really afraid of? Have an open and honest conversation with that person, particularly if they’re worth the effort and are someone you want a part of your life. Give them a chance. Help them to understand you and work together to find better ways of communicating.

We can’t always get this right and not all people hurt you with intention. Sometimes they are completely unaware that what they’re doing is hurting you. None of us have the ability to read minds, unfortunately. The best thing you can do, for yourself, is understand and listen to your own mind. Learn why you think and feel as you do and what the real feelings are. We do things mostly for two reasons: love and fear.

Understand yourself and decide where you would rather be. Do you always want to live in fear? Or, would you rather help yourself to push through your limitations? Have those challenging conversations, understand yourself and be open to being vulnerable. I promise you, when you do, the rewards and connections you can make are worth it.

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