Did she really just say what I think she said? I know she meant a different sentiment than what came out. She feels protective. She doesn’t want to see me get hurt. That was what she was trying to communicate.
But the message that came through was more like, “I wish you wouldn’t love so much.”
Honestly, I understand the instinct.
I am a tenderhearted person. I have struggled with this and against this for much of my life. But thankfully I can say I have never been able to shake it.
I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me, that I was too sensitive. I had too many emotions. I was exhausting to those around me.
Sometimes I have wondered if this quality is really just foolishness. Naivety that has never grown up. A Pollyanna everyone puts up with and then laughs at and makes fun of when I am out of earshot.
So my friend wants me to do what I have been tempted to do many times. Pull back. Build up some walls of protection. Wise up and realize people hurt one another. The world is a dangerous place to live.
And there is nothing wrong with using discernment. But I don’t think I serve myself or anyone else well by closing up. Because in my opinion, what the world does NOT need is more closed, hardened people.
But the innate reflex to protect oneself is there nonetheless. And my friend wants to protect me, too. And I understand that.
Because love is foolish and free. In any form.
And watching me love foolishly and freely, and then get hurt because other people are imperfect human beings (it has been known to happen) can make others uncomfortable, make them squirm. “Protect yourself,” they might like to tell me. “It’s a harsh world out there.”
And they would be right. The world can be an incredibly harsh environment. I would be wise to toughen up a bit. But I would also be less alive. Less connected to myself and others. I would be controlled and conformed and twisted to hardness. And I would lose who I am. My heart and my soul.
(You guys know I have been tying up loose ends from last year. Posts that got started and maybe even finished but never posted. This one is from last summer after a visit from an out of town friend. Ironically, last night I went to a Brene Brown workshop called Hustle for Worthiness at Potentia Therapy that completely affirms this post. Timely to wrap up this loose end now.)