Restraint, and the Attempt to Conceal my Thoughts
There is so much that I choose not to say because I am afraid what people will think if I share it. Many of the challenges that I am experiencing, I keep to myself. These challenges are not specifically part of the normal social repertoire, and are internal by nature. I am afraid to share them because I do not want to burden those around me. I do not want to be known as the person that is always complaining. I do not want to be known as the person that is always gushing about their feelings.
Often, in conversation, I am asked how I am doing. My response is quick and simple: “I’m okay.” It doesn’t matter whether I am frightened, sad, angry, or anxious, I do not want to frustrate my friends and acquaintances with any troubling thoughts or feelings. Ironically, to avoid sharing these feelings, I tire those around me with trivial complaints or insincere banter. My reluctance to be genuine reinforces isolation. What would happen if I told a friend that I was sad or frightened?
For me, when I can summon the courage to express these feelings, I am rewarded. My vulnerability is met with compassion. Authentic exchanges can follow, and I often find myself learning a great deal about the world and about other people in the those moments. It takes courage, and I do not always have it. The dread that I might be rejected prompts me to conceal my feelings, but I can be brave. When I allow myself to communicate honestly and openly with those around me, I am much happier.