Opening up to people is vital for interpersonal relationships, but it could be one of the hardest things we could do. Let us dig deeper into this and try to understand why. First, let us define what “opening up” means. Imagine building a house. This house shelters all your most prized possessions, things that you hold dear, things both material and immaterial that makeup who you are, stuff that makes your heart beat fast and your palms sweat, stuff that can bring tears to your eyes or light a fire in your chest. Naturally, you wouldn’t just let anyone in your house. Some reasons are less visible than others. Here are 4 reasons why you might not open up.
It’s who you are
It doesn’t really matter what kind of person you are. You could be outgoing or timid; you could be loud or quiet – the fact is, all personality types can find opening up quite tricky. What most likely has the most impact, though, is our upbringing. When you had a rough childhood, you might have some trouble effectively communicating emotions and will most likely have a hard time managing them. If you grew up in an environment where you feel like you don’t have a say if you always feel like there’s no point in speaking your thoughts, this would eventually become normal. Building a wall around you and keeping things to yourself will be your comfort zone.
Because of someone
Some of us have trouble letting people in because of past traumatic experiences of someone who was a seemingly harmless walk in and wreaks havoc. This is one of the most painful life experiences and would just cause someone to shut down emotionally. It would take a lot of time, effort for a person who experienced this trauma to open up and let someone in again.
From an evolutionary perspective, fear is a valuable survival mechanism that has made sure the human species did not die out. It is an emotion that has been embedded in our DNA, so we would not mindlessly walk into life-threatening situations. Needless to say, fear is a huge factor in our decision-making process. It is what keeps us from doing dangerous things, like showing people our bare souls. There are a couple of things underlying the fear of opening up.
- The fear of being judged.
- The fear of being vulnerable.
- The fear of not being understood.
At the end of the day, letting someone in is risky, and most of us just decide that it’s not worth the risk.
You know yourself well. You know all about the good, the bad, and the completely fucked up things about yourself. You look at the mirror, and you don’t like what you’re seeing. You don’t love yourself, and you think there’s absolutely no way you can show people the real you. This is what causes you to keep the real you locked up somewhere where no one can see.
These are some of the challenges one needs to face whenever the need to open up to someone rises. Opening up is definitely imperative to maintain a healthy relationship with others and with yourself. I have learned this the hard way.
If you find yourself struggling with this problem and you feel like you can’t open up to anyone at all, it is always a good idea to talk to a professional. Remember, you don’t need to have something wrong with you to speak to a therapist.
If you want to read more here is a related article: What anger does to our being and how to unload it