I’ve always found it to be so interesting to take personality tests. I love either/or style questions, and I’m always interested to see the results at the end. When I was in high school and college, the best part of any personality test was reading about the appropriate career choices associated. Typically, the results were always the same and would serve as a great affirmation about the path that I was following. Then and now, I’m always both an extrovert and an introvert (of course, there are much more technical terms used to describe it!). However, none of these tests ever accounted for the fact that I am highly guarded in many situations.
Being guarded was never something I spent too much time thinking about. I never actually realized I was protecting my heart until my cousin pointed it out years ago. I was sitting in the backseat laughing and smiling with my cousin’s sister (who’s also one of my very best friends), and he said it was so great to hear and see me laughing. Years later, I’ve realized that moment was pivotal because it’s one that constantly serves as a reminder to let. go. And it’s a situation that still happens.
Photo by Kathryn Croskey as seen here!
I will talk to anyone. I think having the ability to make someone laugh is one of life’s greatest joys, and I will become sarcastic with a moment’s notice if I realize that person has the same sense of humor as me. I’m also a huge fan of questions. One of my closest friends calls me The Journalist for my epic question asking skills. ;) I truly want to know about others whether it’s a family member, friend, acquaintance, or client. However, I’ve realized that asking questions also serves as a way to guard my heart because if I’m asking questions and chatting about the other person, I’m not talking about myself.
As long as I’m comfortable and asked, I’ll talk about anything someone wants to know. But I’m always hesitant to divulge tons of information about myself on my own. This typically happens when I a.) don’t know the person very well, b.) it’s not something they need to know, or c.) I’m a little afraid the entire story will make them bored. The latter happens a lot – there’s the highlight reel, there’s the actual reel, and then there’s me choosing to just skip talking about it altogether. One of the things I’ve learned is each relationship falls into a category, and my family and best friends are the ones who want to hear every (unguarded) detail.
Being guarded also extends into being hyper aware of how I eat, how I act, how I dress, etc in social situations. It sounds like a lot (maybe it is!) and it’s likely tied to being a perfectionist in different moments. But, I hardly realize my guard is up until it hits me that I’m constantly listening, overthinking, and focused on feeling nervous rather than jumping right in. When I realize what I’m doing, I remind myself that no one else is as focused on me as I am, and then I say “let go” to myself in my head. Crazy? Maybe. But it works because I start to relax, laugh, and let go a whole lot more.
If you’re guarded, let go. Find people who make you feel like you shouldn’t care about how you’re acting; who make you laugh until you cry; who want to be updated on every detail of your life. Those family and friends are true gems. If you sense that someone else is guarded, listen to the whole story and encourage them to keep going. Either way, give yourself and others grace as you navigate being introverted, extroverted, and other – guarded.
P.S.: I feel like the title of this post could be a movie or book title. Any takers?!
P.P.S.: I promise I’m fun to be around! HA!