I’ve been listening to Daring Greatly by Brene Brown on Audible and it has been rocking my world!!! She talks about how shame and vulnerability leads to more connections and how those connections are transformative.
For most of my life, I pushed people away. I didn’t want to show what I was thinking or feeling. My parents’ divorced at the age of 8 and my heart for a long time needed to keep people at a distance so that I wouldn’t get hurt.
My emotions didn’t match my actions, my words, the expressions on my face. I didn’t know how to be me. I had a smile plastered on my face in every situation because that helped to get people to like me. Despite the smile, I barely had any genuine connection until later on in my adult life.
My heart was secured like a bank vault. To break-in took picking millions of locks that took years to configure. Sometimes I felt bad for the people closest to me because I was and sometimes still am a closed off-book. I don’t particularly like talking about myself as I’d prefer to talk about other people.
Moving to a new city
In 2016, David and I moved to Los Angeles. It was a brand new city, and I didn’t know anybody in the area. I was hungry for connection. After two years, I met a woman at church. She was friendly and wanted to connect with me. I was excited. I thought to myself someone finally wanted to hang out with me.
The first time we met up was on our bikes and rode our way to brunch. It was fun! We talked about her pet, our jobs, and husbands. After I got home, I was excited to share what we did with my husband. I no longer felt alone with no friends.
Not too long after our first conversation, we texted each other and decided to have lunch on a workweek. I started opening up my relationship with my mom and so did she. We were both transparent and connected after, at least that was what it seemed to me.
The third time we met, I opened up a little bit more about my marriage and personal life. That’s when I felt it was one-sided. She left me jumping off the cliff with nothing to hold on to.
The next time I messaged her, she was distant. I was hurt. I made the attempt to connect with someone and she just left me hanging. I opened my heart and life, but she decided to walk away. I would see her around the block and at church, and her superficial smile stabbed right through me every single time.
After that experience, I shut down for a bit and questioned myself. Am I interesting? Was I too open? Did I say too much too soon? Is there something wrong with me? Am I enough? With the help of my husband, I slowly rebuilt my confidence in myself.
Seven months after, I reconnected with my friend Laura. We are old friends. I was very cautious with the newly rekindled friendship, but knowing her helped because she was open from the start. That’s what I LOVE about her. She’s not afraid to be transparent and vulnerable. I see that as one of her strengths. She helped me regain my trust in humanity and helped me be more open and vulnerable. She’s absolutely the best!
What I learned from this experience is that sometimes people are in your life to teach you a lesson. They are passing travelers in your life, delivering valuable gifts. Those gifts are memorable you refer to over and over to those experiences in the future. Because I learned from this experience, I realized that I can recover and learn to be vulnerable again with the right people.
How to trust again after being hurt by a friend
1. Acknowledge the hurt and the pain
It can be a terrifying feeling looking into your emotions after being hurt by someone. Recognizing what you’re feeling and any memories attached to it will help you heal from the root cause and any memories attached to it.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings has magical powers. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns. It also provides an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifies negative thoughts and behaviors.
3. Allow yourself to heal
Take time to allow your mind, heart, and soul to heal. The healing process differs from one person to another. One person might need some alone time. Other people might need to distract themselves with a new hobby. Explore activities that heal you.
4. Talk about the experience
This can be tough, but talking with someone about the experience can help you process your thoughts and feelings. A way to start being vulnerable again is to trust someone else. I did this with my husband, and he helped me heal during that hard moment. Same with my friend. I also have spoken to therapists who have helped with deeper introspection. It takes time and a village to heal.
5. Open yourself up again
I know what you might be thinking, opening to another person?! No way, Jose!! I know it might be scary to open up the gates to your heart one more time, but this is the only way to do it. As Brene Brown said, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” When you are vulnerable, you allow yourself to have a real connection with another human being. It is where you start feeling belonging and self-love.
Look at your patterns
If the cycle of getting hurt continues, look at the behavioral patterns. Journaling can help you pinpoint what it is that causes the cycle and discover how to change the habit.
Keep your head up, and your heart open. It’s the only way to live.
Being hurt by someone you trusted is the worst feeling. I would be lying if I tell you that following the steps will prevent you from getting hurt in the future.