I think I learned that the world was not safe when I was young. I find myself often thinking the worst in situations, or feeling certain that somehow I’ve done something wrong and I’ve pissed you off. Or just – without even realizing it – knowing that I can’t fully open up. Or just not fully opening up.

I don’t know if the people I’m around know how guarded I often am. Maybe not, as I’m just somehow realizing it myself. Maybe so, because I’ve learned over the years that we just don’t fool people as much as we think we do.

I’m ready to not be guarded. I’m ready to not hide behind a mask.

I’m not always guarded. I’m not always hiding behind something or calculating – again without even realizing it – what could go wrong or how I could f—k up. But I’m doing it more than I want to.

I’ve learned – I’m learning – that the world is safe. That I don’t have to be afraid. That I won’t get left. That I won’t be hurt.

I’ve learned – I’m learning – that it’s okay to be open. And trusting.

I’ve learned – I’m learning – that I don’t have to try so goddamn hard…at everything…just in case.

But I still catch myself being guarded. And trying so goddamn hard to get things “right” – whatever the hell that is.

I have learned that I have a choice. That I can notice my guardedness and breathe through it and ease it away. I can call out my (irrational) fears. I can acknowledge myself for being willing to put down the fears and let in love. I can admit that it makes sense that I have these fears. My guardedness may have saved me when I was young, and I certainly believed it did back then. But I can choose if I still want to play that way.

How do I learn not to be guarded? I keep trying, and trying again. I let down my guard in safe situations and learn that nothing goes wrong. I admit my guardedness to people who will be understanding and supportive. I don’t blame myself for being this way, and I love myself though finding other ways.

I’ve recently joined a Facebook group for people who were born into and grew up in the Church. It somehow still amazes me that I’m not the only one with some of these defense mechanisms.

How do I stop being so guarded? I surround myself with safe people and safe situations, and then I just do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!