20 January, 2013

A Burst of Feeling

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Inside of me, there is a battle. One one side, the urge to be open and warm and enthusiastic at the risk of being made to feel stupid for over-enthusiasm or rejected by those who don't reciprocate my feelings. On the other side is the Protector - the tempting desire to be emotionally vacant to all but a select few; to hold my heart in a quiet room and only open it rarely. To be a cynic; to offer a small smile instead of a warm hug. 

In my heart of hearts, I am a lover, a hugger, an overly-excited, jump-into-your-arms, everyone-is-my-friend kind of a girl. But for so long I've tried to quelch that and become more like the Protector version of myself. I think for lots of reasons, but mainly because there is nothing quite like the sting of rejection when you want to show love and warmth and are ridiculed for it. Do you know what I mean? That's not to say that I'm like the Evil Stepmother in Cinderella - if you know me, I hope you know that's not the case. But I do let a cooler side of me emerge when I feel threatened or unliked or alone. And I don't really think that's unusual. 

I've pondered over this a lot - what side do I want to err on? Warmth or safety? Closed and comfortable or open and vulnerable? When I read this excerpt below from Persuasion, I made up my mind: 

"Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, -- but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight... She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped"

There is always the chance with openness and warmth that you will be perceived as obnoxious, outspoken, inappropriately enthusiastic, needy or weird. But I think it does the soul good to love without abandon.
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Even though it's a little scary, I've decided which side of me is the victor. Warmth wins. At the risk of sounding nerdy, feeling rejected or unwanted, I am going to stop this whole silly business of trying to be cool. I mean, what do I have to lose? I already gave my heart to the most wonderful person I've ever met, and he's totally in love with me.

10 comments:

  1. Awww ... perfect ending to a great post!

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  2. Exactly! The last paragraph sums everything up so nicely! And the best thing about all this is that the older you get, the less important it becomes to be cool and the more important it becomes to be warm, loving, and caring. And everyone loves hugs!

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  3. Brooke,

    Thank you for this post. I find myself thinking about this more and more. Recently I have been noticing that whenever I open up and share that warmth with others I end up hurt. Eventually, I get tired of being hurt, and consider cutting that side of myself off from others, saving it for nobody but myself......but I just cannot do that. I've decided that this warmth and love I have and want to give must be shared with others, and the pain I am caused, though extremely unpleasant at times, is worth the opportunity to connect with others. What's the saying? It is better to have loved (all forms of love for me) and lost than to have never loved at all?

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    1. Yes! That actually reminds me of your last post about making physical connections with more people more often. It's worth it in the end because you will find those who want your friendship and will give back abundantly. I'm so glad we are friends!

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  4. this is so wise and lovely. i really should try to be more warm and loving but i feel like its the opposite for me, being solitary and reserved is ingrained in my personality. anyways on a happier note, i decided to follow your example and read more books. just finished the bell jar and have now started a confederate general from big sur!

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    1. Thanks! I think you can (and I'm sure you are) be a warm introvert.

      I love The Bell Jar and I'll add A Confederate... To my list!

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  5. Go for warmth. There's enough coolness in the world. :) besides its better to apologize later for overexuberance than to regret a potential lost friend

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  6. Hahaha yes! You are wonderful Brooke. Warmth is the best. Every time I hang with Cate or Cathy, I learn more about how I think the is Savior. I love ya!

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  7. LOVED this post Brooke. Totally feel you on this. Being rejected or put down after opening myself up and sharing a piece of my heart has stung, and thinking back it still stings. But my vote is that the moments when I connect with someone, really connect, after opening up and I can tell they appreciate and respect me for it, and then in return they open up, that totally trumps and outweighs those bad moments. (please excuse the over-use of commas:) And like you said, thank heaven for sweet men in our lives who love every bit of us!! xo

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