Be Yourself?

I was thinking about people.  I have a hard time when I meet people because I don't know how to navigate that stretch of time between all the initial information (name, job, life, etc) to when they allow me to really know them.  It's that acquaintance phase of friendship that is difficult for me.  I don't know how to act, or how much to share, or if someone wants to be friends or if they think I'm ridiculous.  Perhaps I just over analyze things too much.   

I am a pretty open person, yet I keep some things close to my heart until I feel safe enough to let people in.  I think everyone does this to some extent, and certainly some more than others.  We fear people seeing us just as we are.  That they might not like what they see.  It's that fear in us that makes us apologize to company when the house is a mess.  Or for how we look, what we say.  Deep within us lies an innate need to feel accepted.  To be truly seen and not judged.  There is a great amount of peace when a relationship reaches a point where you can truly be yourself without fear of rejection.  Sadly, these types of relationships are rare finds.

I came across this photo online today.  I thought it was so beautiful.  What if we could read the story of each person we meet?  How amazing would it be to have the instant ability to know another person's heart?  How many more friendships would we cultivate and how quickly would acceptance occur?  Instead of peeling back layers over time, we could cut right through to the core of someone.  So many of us hide our sorrow, our dark moments.  We all have pasts that hold our many mistakes.  No one has led a perfect life.  Yet we hesitate to share those dark moments with each other even though they are often the moments that shaped us the most.

Even our present moments are kept behind closed doors.  We don't want the neighbors to know that we can't keep a pristine house, or see that life has thrown us a huge curve ball and we have been in the same clothes for three days.  We don't want to be seen without make-up, or in our pajamas.  We apologize for our messy cars and our disorganized minds.  I once turned down some help I truly needed because I was too afraid to let someone into my mess.  By now you would think that we would all realize that perfection is as unattainable as unassisted flight. 

Over the years I have worked to fight off my tendency to hide who I really am.  I lived in the story that I am a perfectionist for so long that I was almost in denial that having kids had made my "perfect" tendencies almost impossible to actually live.  I have learned that the more I let people see me as I am, the more comfortable they are being themselves.  I have seen firsthand the relief in the eyes of someone when I claim or relate to their similar troubles.  Yet I still have a hard time trusting that the real me won't be shunned. 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Wendy Mass, The Candymakers

I love this quote.  I see it often on social media and it is an excellent message.  Wouldn't it be even better, though, to let people into our battles so they can help?  In this age of virtual reality it is so easy to connect to people across the world.  But I fear that this kind of connection will never be a real one as we all tend to only show our best selves in the virtual world.  I am not suggesting that we air our dirty laundry to the world, but perhaps if a neighbor came over and saw that I had piles of dirty laundry, they might feel less worried about their own piles, right?

Since I work from home and I like my own company, I tend to abuse social media and forget to go see people in real life.  Yet it is those solid and real connections that I crave.  I want nothing more than to have friends within walking distance who will just show up at my house anytime and vice-versa.  I love to talk real life with people and share worries, joys, burdens and accomplishments.  I like to truly know people and be trusted with their hearts.  It's just that long acquaintance step I wish we could skip.  So, if I am awkward when I meet you, just know I am testing the waters.  Throw me a rope in the form of something real about yourself and I will gladly grab on.

Does anyone else experience this?  I wonder if more outgoing people feel differently than me?  What do you wish people knew about you? 


  1. I wish people knewwww that I really want friends! So come hang out with me, Kat. I know we are both introverts, but we can be introverts TOGETHER! ;-)

    1. I wish the same thing! Let's do it! I need to bring you your heating pad back!


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