These days, I've been seeking to widen my social circle. Getting into a couple of projects so that I can work with people on a more...intimate basis, seems to do the trick. I guess there are a couple of reflections I want to take away from these experiences, and the vulnerabilities we all have when we "put ourselves out there".
Not everyone, is willing to open themselves up, to approach others and risk the chance of rejection. I have come to learn that rejection is hardly something I should take personally. There are many reasons for it, and your personality or character sometimes is not the largest factor. We're often arrogant, thinking that it is the "I" that causes the outcome of the decision-maker. Often times, there are other factors that are beyond "us", based on the person's own prejudice, background, context and even time period that can affect the result. I feel that some people think too highly of themselves, to assume that they caused their own failure. Oh please.
Another thought that came up, was the fact that many people are confounded with appearances. They conjure images of the aloof, disinterested and impartial front. I used to be like this too, and bad habits are hard to break. However, I find that the energy to put up this front, could be better channeled into doing the things that I actually do care about. I cannot and will not put a facade, thinking that it'll somehow achieve the goals I want. It is very difficult to work with someone who is not honest in what they want, and how they want it. It is often easier to negotiate between individuals with sincere expectations, and find a compromise that way, than to navigate through murky waters. Furthermore, people who play hide and seek are often the worst team players. I am just too tired (or not good enough) to deal with excess bullshit.
While appearances are important, I think being open is even more crucial. Being open to all the judgement and hurt, makes me a mirror that reflects your own insecurities and fears. If I put myself out there for judgement, I do not apologise for my shortcomings and mistakes. In fact, you would have to justify to others, why you would think ill of me and my person. Rather than hiding from judgement and critique, the solution is to just admit our flaws, and work on them. It puts the defensive in the offensive, and I do not tolerate people who play in the shadows. Everyone says it's easier said than done, and even I have some lurking dark corners I want to purge. However, my mother used to say, the lie we tell others, are actually the lies we tell ourselves. If we lie to ourselves just to impress others, how can we expect anyone else to be convinced by the falseness of the story? There is a difference between using lies to tell the truth, and using lies to perpetuate one's ego - which may already be hyperinflated?
I suppose I'm a very open person, and it takes one to go through the depths of pain before understanding that the only thing you'll ever lose if we keep up being defensive and apologetic of our shortcomings, instead of opening up and admitting our faults, are the most important things in life - empathy and understanding. When we open ourselves to others, we invite others to open themselves to us as well. Vulnerabilities morph into strength, and you'll be surprised how strong you can be, when you let your insecure-manifest-into-ego go.