Emotional walls are there for a reason!
When we build a wall around our heart, it’s usually because we’ve been badly hurt. Hence, we’ve learned that it’s dangerous trust other people as doing that is risky and may cause us pain. However, that can also leave us feeling empty and lonely, and lacking intimate and meaningful relationships. But breaking down the walls and being open as a person is often very challenging, and difficult to do. Some tips to help include the following:
1. Persuade yourself that there are good, caring and genuine people out there – as well as immature, selfish and untrustworthy people.
2. Practice by being more open with a family member or close friend you feel comfortable with. Notice how they respond. Do they turn spiteful or hurt you in return, or do they respond with sensitivity, and by being open in return? The chances are that other people will also respond in a similar way.
3. Work on developing your self-confidence. When we feel secure in who we are, then other people can’t affect us as much. We know that we are valuable and worthwhile people, with positive qualities and attributes. That is, accepting yourself fully is a crucial key.
4. Recognise that feeling anxious is very normal – but act as if you actually feel confident.
5. Start by sharing stuff that is more superficial. That is usually much easier and less threatening. For example, comment on sports, or music or school … and from there progress to sharing your personal feelings. For example, you might say something like “I’m pretty disappointed about my mark as I actually studied for the test we had.”
6. Try and start more sentences with “I”. That will get you into the habit of talking about yourself – and regularly sharing what you think and feel.
7. Become a good listener. When people feel listened to and genuinely cared for they start to usually share more personal stuff with us. As you start to feel more comfortable and safer with them, you’ll find it so much easier to take your own walls down.
8. Remember it’s a choice – and you can choose to be more open. Just take it slowly and be patient with yourself.