We are Here Together, so Why are we so Separated?

Most of us go through life with varying relationships with family members, friends, colleagues or neighbours. And most likely we all have, or had, at least one best friend, be it mother, father, a playmate, school friend or lover. With them we feel at ease; we trust them with our deepest thoughts and feelings; we reveal much more to them than to anybody else.

I had two such friends in my life. As a small child I had a ‘best friend’ that I spent my pre-school years with. We were exploring ourselves and life together with uninhibited curiosity and joy.

That ended when our parents sent us to different schools. Apparently I was a ‘bad influence’ on my friend too wild and free. I was heartbroken and withdrew into a previously unknown shyness that I found difficult to let go of for a long, long time. It still holds me in shackles from time to time, even though I have healed most of the hurts from my childhood.

After that hurtful experience, I never had another friend, let alone a best friend – until I met my loving partner many years later.

With him I started opening up and trusting again, slowly and carefully letting myself be seen. And after many years of testing the waters with him, I learned to open up to more and more people.

My story is probably familiar to many people. We start off as an open, joyful child with free expression and no fear of consequences, then we experience rejection and judgement, grow up and build up walls of protection around us. We then feel separated from everybody, except from our best friends, if we have them. And even those best friends will most likely not get the full version of our true being any more, as we have learned to adjust to the ‘adult’ way of behaviour, which is measured and tainted by all the hurts and disappointments of our childhood and teenage years.

The ‘adult’ way of life – being very reserved with people we don’t know, smiling only to our neighbours or people that fit our criteria of what good people should look like, but looking away when strangers look at us, being very polite and friendly but showing no honest interest in the other person, being uncomfortable at parties or gatherings where we don’t know most of the people, where they are all friendly and familiar with each other and we feel like an outsider. All this is not the connection we really want, but we pretend that all is good when inside we feel disconnected, protective and lonely.

But what we all crave deep within is that intimate connection to others that we had as a child. We don’t want to be held back by our self-consciousness and fears. It feels like a prison; it makes us sad and lonely. Our own holding back actually hurts much more than a negative reaction of another towards us. That is just one moment, but our holding back is with us all of the time. It’s a structure that holds us in a certain energy even when we are alone.

So why are we so afraid to let our guard down? What does it do to us when somebody doesn’t like what we do or say, or what we look like? Apart from pressing all the buttons and reminding us of past experiences and bringing up those hurts again, it then reaffirms the held belief that we are not good enough just as we are.

I had that belief for so long that, even when I had addressed those old hurts, I still found it hard to believe that I am actually a lovable person; that the sweetness, goodness and love that I feel inside is good enough and of value for others.

So many of us feel that way, but what do we do about it? Mostly, we wait for others to first prove to us that they will not hurt us. Do we really expect that other people, those strangers that we hold so far away from us, will come to us and tell us that they like us and they would love to see and hear the true version of ourselves, and that we don’t need to feel afraid because they will love us no matter what? We all know that that will not happen, but somehow we still hope. So why don’t we give what we hope to come from others to ourselves, love ourselves no matter what, then make the first step towards the other – by just being open, not holding back – and offer our true sweet nature and see what happens?

For me, the only way out of that deeply held belief in the lack of self-worth, the shyness and sometimes crippling self-consciousness, is to come out of my perceived safe haven.

Step by step, I do what feels possible, trying out different avenues to meet and connect to people and open up more and more. With that comes the experience of how people respond or react to me and it has been the most wonderful journey. People are actually all pretty much the same. They all have a goodness and loveliness inside them and most of them love to share it. I never had so many friends before, even if it is just for a moment.

We can have an open and loving connection with anybody, instantly. We just have to hold ourselves in our natural essence, just be who we truly are deep inside – whether there is a sweetness, tenderness, joyfulness or just a willingness to be present within us – and then keep our hearts and minds open, welcoming the other into our presence and receiving theirs. There is no need to perform, or do or say anything in particular, just allowing ourselves to express what comes naturally in any situation. Sometimes just a smile or simple “hello” opens the door to another heart. You can see it in their eyes – it’s a wonderful light, so beautiful equally in everybody.

I often feel like a child; simple, innocent, joyful and filled with love. And with the experience, wisdom and awareness of the grown woman that I am now, there is an understanding that we are all very similar inside. Everyone is love and has their own way of expressing it. And if they don’t show it, it is no reason for me to feel inhibited in any way, but to understand that everybody is on their own chosen path in life.

If we would only allow ourselves to be what we deep inside know to be true, we can live and connect with each other in this free and intimate way that we secretly all crave for. It’s the easiest, most natural thing in the world.

By Regina Perlwitz, housewife, 60, Mullumbimby, Australia

Further Reading:
The Science of Hurts
Self-worth and self-development – does it work?
What is a True Relationship and How Does that Feel?

806 thoughts on “We are Here Together, so Why are we so Separated?

  1. ‘love ourselves no matter what, then make the first step towards the other – by just being open, not holding back – and offer our true sweet nature and see what happens?’ I love this. When I do offer this some people jump feet first into being open and friendly – I remember waiting in hospital and soon a whole row of people were talking as if we’d known each other for years. It was a very beautiful experience. What scuppers it is whenever I go into self-doubt and become self-consciousness, then the other person picks up on this and we can both go back into the usual restrictive norms most of us live by. I don’t often do this and opt for, worst case scenario, feeling an open hearted fool.

  2. ‘But what we all crave deep within is that intimate connection to others that we had as a child. We don’t want to be held back by our self-consciousness and fears.’ Reading this makes me realise how open and loving young children are – there is a joy and a trust and a love that is very beautiful to feel. As adults we usually don’t have this same openness and unconditional love for others.

  3. It can be devastating to lose friends when you’re younger and being in the army this was very common for me. I got to the point where I thought there was no point because either my friend would have to leave or I would. I’ve never forgotten that first day at school feeling and the awkwardness that comes with not knowing anyone.

  4. It’s like we don’t really know what it would truly be like to be with others if we allowed ourselves to just be who we are, that we haven’t quite given that a full go yet. A part of me wants to say that it feels like I have only been living the after effects of having my true essence crushed, and I do not actually have clear memory of pure joy of just being me. No wonder it has been very hard to regain trust in others and in myself, to feel that it is okay to just be me. Then another part does know that the true light was never lost and how simple it actually might be to just surrender if I allow it.

  5. I related to this blog as I have had similar experiences growing up as a child. I had a younger sibling I got on very well with. And then something changed over the years and both were going through something at the same time and our hurts got in the way of being with each other. At times I wonder if we were coping with what life was throwing at us and didn’t know how to handle it.
    Now it’s bringing that understanding and I find myself responding differently to what life has been sending me, by connecting to myself more. It can be that simple, if we choose it.

  6. I haven’t thought about this for many years but I remember being devastated by a childhood friend moving to a different county. I had finally found a friend I felt at ease with and with whom I felt I could open my heart up to. I was so angry with God, with life that this chance to be me with someone was taken away. I felt pretty rubbish about myself so retreated more from being honest about what I thought or felt, always looking for that same feeling I had had with my friend with someone else. I felt very uncomfortable with people I felt didn’t have issues, and attracted to those who did. It’s taken a fair few years to realise all the stuff I felt awful about that I could feel inside wasn’t actually who I am but emotions I’d taken on board.

    Connecting to my essence and how lovely I actually am means that I can share who I am with people, I can also share any stuff that doesn’t feel great because I know it isn’t me and sharing does support me in letting it go. I can still fall into feeling ashamed for choices that aren’t loving, but I then look at myself from love and get the understanding needed to heal. Writing this I can see how much I pushed people away when I wasn’t ready to accept myself.

  7. I feel like letting our guard down and holding back are two completely different things it feels like letting our (or not letting our guard is) is because we are afraid to be or feel vulnerable .. maybe think we will get hurt. And holding back is not expressing all there is to express .. it is like not letting ourselves be all that we truly are but staying in a very small box. Neither are love and neither are natural yet we seem to currently live this way more then allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and allowing ourselves to be all that we are. My understanding of being vulnerable is not completely different from when I was younger. When I was younger I would think being vulnerable was being weak even stupid but now I see being vulnerable is not being afraid to be all who we truly are and so on reflection maybe the two are very similar and interlinked after all?

  8. It is such a freedom to express our love without depending ourselves by the behaving of others.
    To just love and let others deal with their own issues and being open to learn.

  9. I feel so adjusted to live in this society, I feel like a bolt that has got rusted and stuck, so that when someone comes along and offers a different way to be; I’m so rusted up with ideals, beliefs, pictures of how society expects me to behave it feels impossible to move. The easing oil to become unstuck is love understanding and appreciation.

  10. From experience the more I let down barriers and open up, willing to let others in the lovelier it feels within my body.

  11. I have observed that grown ups sometimes don’t realise that what seem like little things to them, can be so deeply hurtful and life changing for a child still so open and sensitive. When children have problems these things can emerge and often amaze parents who could easily have avoided incidents had they understood.

  12. “I often feel like a child; simple, innocent, joyful and filled with love. And with the experience, wisdom and awareness of the grown woman that I am now, there is an understanding that we are all very similar inside.” How beautiful that we can still feel this innocence of a child, even when we are older if we so choose. Such a precious reminder of who we truly are.

  13. The more that we love ourselves the easier it is to be with others without imposing on them that they should be different from how they are.

  14. ‘We don’t want to be held back by our self-consciousness and fears. It feels like a prison; it makes us sad and lonely.’ This is well expressed. Our fears and self-consciousness do imprison us. We need to learn to live in a way that counters self-consciousness and fear so that we can live more of the gorgeousness we truly are.

  15. We are separated because we like to be recognised, we like to get a pat on the back and in that we do everything and anything to stand out and be better than those around.

  16. This is really interesting and pondering on this I can feel that this is the case; ‘Our own holding back actually hurts much more than a negative reaction of another towards us.’

  17. It’s interesting that we think that just because someone is a small child that they would not feel hurt or disappointed by having a friend move away. But no matter our age it does. No matter our age we need to be supported to process these things, not think that they are young enough, they’ll get over it. Often these experiences are formative in our younger years.

  18. Waiting for others to prove that they will not hurt us before we allow ourselves to love them is never going to work and is extremely disempowering. We can choose to love no matter what another is doing.

  19. I Love becoming more open with people, a talk in a queue, waiting for the Docter, bumping into someone, can be a meaningful connection and not an irritation or inconvenience.

  20. I have found since I have been working on myself, discarding all that which doesn’t belong to me anymore. and getting to know the true me, my guards are coming down. I have approached and spoken to people I would have reluctantly gone over to say hi to. There is this impulse, whilst before the effort was for another reason and that was to be liked, or to be noticed.

    A big move to forwardness and knowing we are here together as one and not the separate ones.

  21. It is true that as I have stopped holding back, I am noticing that I feel a lot closer to people I meet on the street, not just family and friends, an openness with others allows intimacy to be felt and known.

  22. Regina you are correct in that many of us had the innocence, joy and love of a child and then something occurs for them, whether it is an incident or being continuously belittled. I can totally relate to this.
    But the statement that is standing our for me is ‘our own holding back actually hurts much more than a negative reaction of another towards us’ – is quite a big revelation and I ponder on this many a times – expression is everything, it either heals or harms.

  23. Come to think of it, when I venture the furthest from my comfort zone and I am still alive at the end of it, I do usually feel very expanded by the experience.

    1. Awesome observation, I have also felt this in my life and it is a marker for me, if it feels a little raw, and my heels little dug in gently ask myself to give it go, and yes expansion is the word from stepping out of our comfort.

  24. You show the cycle we are in and continue to repeat lifetime after lifetime, from child to adult. From being open and free, to being shut down and separate from each other. Holding back our love is something we learn, it is not our natural way. So one of life’s purposes is to reconnect to the love that supports us all.

  25. We can learn fast as kids to play the game and do the right things to appear like everything is ok, but underneath it all we know it is all fake and though the game playing hurts, the greater hurt is knowing that everyone is playing the game and pretending that it is real.

  26. Regina, this is a gorgeous sharing about how you have experienced hurts but also how you have learned to let them go and embraced love again.

  27. “Our own holding back actually hurts much more than a negative reaction of another towards us”. Even though I still hold back in varying degrees at times, I know the harm that this does to your body. The reaction we fear happening from others is nowhere near the harm we do to ourselves.

  28. “being very polite and friendly but showing no honest interest in the other person” I have done that and I have that done to me and both of them feel pretty foul. It is a good one to call out and see if it is true for you and to feel the effects of it.

    Quite often if I react to something that is being done to me, I will reflect on if I have ever done that to someone else. More often than not, the answer is yes in some shape or form and then I become appreciative of it because I know how awful it can feel when I do it to others which allows the space for me to choose differently next time.

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