Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability, the kind of person I want to be, and the kind of people I want to be around.
I suppose “lately” is misleading. I’ve probably thought a lot about these things for much of my adult life but never had much affordance for actually solving them.
I’ve been jumping around the country ever since graduating college, entering new social circles and trying on different hats. I have evolved since that beginning. My friendships have grown. Yet there are still times I feel alone and disconnected.
There was a time when I felt that “needing another person” was a sign of weakness (in me, not in others). I wanted, for myself, the ability to be happy regardless of who was around me at the time. I wanted to be resilient against potential risks, and relying on other people was a risky proposition.
Even my preferred relationship style protected me against that risk. I entered relationships mainly with people who I could tell were staunchly independent and didn’t need me for emotional support and would understand that I was going to do what I wanted, above all else.
(I don’t know why I’m talking in past tense, by the way. This is all still pretty true.)
I have made connections with many people, in small and large ways. I feel close to people now more than ever before. But I still don’t tend to go so far as to let anyone "lean on me", and I don’t lean on others.
I share my feelings. Sometimes I let a little vulnerability show here and there, but usually I don’t speak straight from my heart. I speak from my mind, where it’s easier to get distance from my feelings.
In my most vulnerable states, I am usually alone. And I feel safe there.
Something in me refuses to trust another human being with my entire self.
But I think something in me also desires to have such a trust.
I’m trying to ask my System 1 what’s going on with this. I think it’s complicated.