“How to make friends and influence people,” is something I didn’t give an awful lot of thought to when I was growing up. Self preservation was the top of my list of things to do. I was a sensitive and intelligent child who learned at a very young age that you can be hurt by circumstances outside of your control so I built barriers to protect myself. These barriers were built from insecurities and as anybody who has experienced them will know they are not a good foundation for anything.
“If you show weakness it will be exploited,” was the reason behind the barriers; of course if you just protect that weakness it will always remain a weakness; the best way to deal with any weakness is take it out, examine it and determine if it is indeed a weakness or a strength.
The barriers I erected didn’t make me an easy person to approach, I didn’t share my thoughts and feelings with anybody because I didn’t think anybody would be interested, and occasionally when I did share my thoughts, this was the case. The trouble was I was sharing my thoughts with the wrong people, they didn’t appreciate meaningful conversations, they just wanted to talk about the weather, sport, people or the latest bit of gossip that began with, “you’ll never guess what they did,” I don’t mind hearing what they did as long as it’s factual and it comes in the form of a headline.
“Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle,” for me is a headline, not a three-day examination of their relationship. I’m delighted they’ve found each other, but that’s where it ends.
I older I get the more I realise the insecurities I was using to build the barriers were created by my imagination, and this has allowed me to lower the barriers and make me more approachable. I am now an extroverted introvert, which means, I enjoy other people’s company but I also enjoy my alone time too. The following quote by Billy Connolly sums it up nicely.
“I think my securities far outweigh my insecurities. I am not nearly as afraid of myself and my imagination as I used to be.”
I’ll always keep one barrier in place to protect my sanity; “If you sound and act like you’re stupid, I’m going to think you’re stupid.” And this is because I believe in the following quote. “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” ~Socrates