If it’s not obvious to all of you by now that it’s next to impossible for me to engage in small talk with people, then… this must be the first post you’re reading.
There is nothing I love more than to peel back the layers of people’s hearts and get to know what makes them who they are. In my opinion, we just don’t have enough time on the planet to engage with people in any other way.
Recently, while I was engaging in one of these typical (for me at least) heart-exposing conversations with a friend, he turned to me and said,
“I never talk to people like this.”
Puzzled, I asked him why he didn’t.
“I don’t really know,” he said. “I guess that I want to make sure that the people I share this stuff with are going to around for the long haul. Why would I share this stuff with someone who is just going to be in my life for two years and then leave? It hardly seems worth it.”
Listen. People are always going to come in and out of your life. The only person who is always going to be a constant in your life… is you.
Who you share your life and heart with now, may not be around in two years. You know what? That’s ok. It’s actually really great in my opinion. You had the privilege of getting to know a certain person (or people) at a certain place in their life, and you both had an impact on each other. You learned things about the human condition you didn’t know before, and you learned how to relate to another personality type. Just because they didn’t end up being a permanent fixture in your life does not, by any means, diminish the importance of their place in your life.
Think of your heart as a home; you can choose to open it up and allow people to enter it. You can invite people in, eat with them, drink with them, talk with them, even allow them to stay the night. But here’s the thing: you have control over when/if they leave because it’s your home. You decide when they’ve overstayed their welcome. You decide when you need some space for a little while before you invite them in again. Sometimes, when people leave, you need to spend some time cleaning up the mess they left. Other people may actually help you clean up the messes other people left. Some people might leave before you wanted them to, but that’s ok because that’s their decision. Eventually, you might find that you want one of those people to take up permanent residency, whether that is a spouse, a best friend, or a family member. All of these things are entirely within your control, because your heart is yours, and yours alone. You have the final say. Always.
You would never invite someone into your literal home and allow them to steal your furniture, or throw paint on the walls, or break the windows. So don’t do that with your heart either. Keep your heart a sacred, protected, space. At the end of the day, you are the only constant within your home. You are the one in charge of repairs and remodels. You are the one who opens the door, and you are the one to close it.
Ok, ok… I know I’ve beaten this house metaphor to death, but for real; it’s always worth it to open your heart to someone else, as long as you protect it in the process. That means knowing that your heart inherently has value whether or not the person you show it to sticks around for the long haul or not. If you limit the people you open yourself up to based on the amount of time they spend in your life, you are doing yourself a severe disservice. I have had truly vulnerable, beautiful, and life-changing conversations with people who I have only met once. To think, if I had censored my story because they hadn’t been in my life for very long, I would have missed out on so many incredible experiences.
So build your heart up to be something that you love. To be something that you think is worth sharing with other people. And then let those people in, if only for a moment.
Featured photo for this post by Lily Grace Cloninger