Occasionally, letting go of people who are similar to you is the most difficult thing in the world. Building that wall around yourself as “the grump,” “the leave-me-alone,” or the person who “keeps to themselves” can appear to be a more convenient option than allowing people into your space and allowing them to break down your shield of protection. Yes, being vulnerable and running the risk of being hurt or having one’s trust broken by others can be frightening. Nonetheless, connecting with other people, and allowing some people to get close enough for a genuine connection to develop, can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. The following suggestions for how you might let people like you know about your plans are only preliminary suggestions to get you started on your journey.
Part 1 Why Do You Shut People Out?
1. Consider what it is that has caused you to lose faith in others. What experiences have you had in the past that have prompted you to construct a wall around yourself in order to keep people at bay? The person or people who did this to you are no longer alive, and the events that occurred are no longer a good guide for other people or for your future. Considering working through what has led you to develop habits that keep people away, either through therapy or by conducting your own self-analysis, may be beneficial.
2. Consider the various ways in which you have developed your defence mechanisms. You may be irritable or grumpy on a consistent basis. It’s possible that you’ll be curt and snap at people. You might try to make yourself invisible by refusing to answer questions, refusing to volunteer information, or simply disappearing into the background. Whatever your behavioural habits are that are intended to drive other people away, it is critical that you recognise them so that you can put a plan in place to stop them. For example, if you tend to withdraw and avoid eye contact, it will be necessary to begin working on your ability to make eye contact as well as your comfort level with conversing with others and being acknowledged.
3. If you make broad statements about the “entire world,” exercise caution. It’s easy to say “every human being is hateful” because you can feel so strongly about things that aren’t going right in the world that you feel completely alone in your feelings about them. There are plenty of other people who see the injustices you see, who feel the pain you feel, and who want this world to be a better, kinder and gentler place. The reality is that you are not alone in your feelings, and there are plenty of other people who share your concerns. Everyone else is horrible, scary, and awful if you think about them in general terms. When you think about everyone else in general terms, you eliminate the possibility of meeting the people who can bring light into your life and who can join forces with you to do good in the world.
Don’t allow the people who have wronged you to make you feel less than you are, or to make you believe that the rest of the world feels the same way.
4. Check to see if you have ever made an effort to “convert” the wrong types of people in the past. As a result of your saviour complex or need to “fix people,” you may have been attracted to the wrong types of people, primarily those who were damaged or controlling. You are correct in wanting to avoid such people because they are harmful; however, they do not represent the majority of people and constitute only a small proportion of any population. Many warm, caring, unconditional and helpful people are still waiting to be discovered by you. You just have to know where to look.
Take care not to become demoralised by the problems of the world by overanalyzing them excessively. It is admirable to try to help people and the things that are causing them harm; however, no one person can fix everything, and it is important to remember that every person is responsible for their own course in life and must take responsibility for it.
5. Learn to recognise the people who make you feel rejected, unwanted, and unhappy and how to avoid them. You should avoid people who push your buttons and make you feel as if all humans behave in such a heinous manner. Examples include emotional vampires, sociopaths, hard-driven perfectionists, control freaks, and other such individuals. Instead of ignoring them when possible and trying to work around them when it’s not possible, try to find a way to work around them when it’s not possible. It is possible to deal with such people effectively by using manners––being extremely polite while not actually connecting in any meaningful way. But, whatever you do, avoid allowing such people to affect you. And keep in mind that they are not “everyone,” but rather a select group of people, so exercise caution.
Stay away from people who make you feel unlovable or who make their love or respect for you conditional on your behaviour. These individuals do not deserve to make you dislike everyone on the face of the planet.
Part 2 Letting People Like You
1. Make it a point to allow others to like you. As soon as you’ve figured out a) why you push people away, b) what kinds of people bother you, and c) that there are good souls in this world, it’s time to open up to the people who really matter to you in your life. Dropping your protective shell around the people who matter to you and whom you’d like to be liked in return will be necessary to accomplish this goal. Some examples of how to accomplish this are as follows:
Be friendly and smile at people. A smile can go a long way toward removing grumpiness, fear, and the desire to withdraw.
Learn to converse, to engage in some light banter. It should be based on the other person’s responses to questions about themselves. No need for a full-blown conversation, but it’s helpful to have a list of questions prepared in advance to ask them, as this will help the conversation move along more smoothly.
Be genuine in your friendliness. Make it clear that you genuinely care about the person by allowing this to come across in your speech and actions. Genuineness makes all the difference when it comes to winning over someone’s affection.
2. Make an effort to be a good listener. Pay attention to what others have to say. Even if you’d prefer to turn off your computer, be courteous and remain present. The relationship isn’t forever, and it helps a great deal if you hold yourself in high regard with the other person, because people appreciate being sincerely heard. Recognize and repeat back your understanding of some of what the other person has said to reassure them that you have heard and care about what they’ve said.
3. Inform people that they are important. In order to let someone know that you see something beautiful in them, you must first recognise something good in them, and then you must tell them! Don’t be afraid to share such important connecting material with your partner, as it can make all the difference in the world for you both.
4. Participate in the proceedings. It doesn’t matter if you don’t normally participate in the activity; sometimes the spirit of participation is more important than anything else. At the very least, you’ll be able to say that you tried; you might even find that you enjoy the activity so much that you want to repeat it. People enjoy having others try new things with them, and they will consider it a compliment that you are willing to put yourself in their shoes and give things a shot for their sake.
5. Be self-assured. Always maintain your self-assurance in what you’re doing. Make it known to others that you are self-assured. Make a decision about what you want to do, be confident in your decision, and assist others in believing that you are interesting to be around because you are interested in life.
6. Allow yourself to let go of the need for equal feelings. Finally, the most terrifying, yet potentially the most valuable piece of advice is to never be afraid of being the one who is most loved. When someone is healthy, positive and centred, love is not a competition; rather, it is a wellspring that springs from within that person. If you happen to fall in love with something more than what is returned to you, don’t analyse it or use it as an excuse to run away once more. Instead, recognise that your love is limitless and abundant, and that it will come bouncing back to you in a variety of ways, from different people at different times. All you have to do is have faith that it is worthwhile to continue to send out more love into the world. Because, without a doubt, it is.
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