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How to Let People In

Consider several ways to open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable, even if it feels risky.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Change your questions into statements. Instead of asking for respect or love, say what you need. Don't deny yourself the chance to speak your inner thoughts and feelings. Use "I" statements to make it clear.
  • Step 2: Give yourself some time to heal and clear the air. With the distance, safety, and quiet, plan for how to set your boundaries. Go slow.
  • TIP: Love yourself and lose fear.
  • Step 3: Calm your anxiety about being psychologically naked. Give others a chance to know you before their respect for your privacy and pain convinces you that no one wants you any more. Integrate your outer world with your inner world.
  • FACT: Studies show that young adult women living alone report more loneliness than those living with roommates or pets.
  • Step 4: Express your feelings to the person who lost your trust, and be honest about what they need to do. Decide if you need an apology or to get things off your chest.
  • TIP: Understand that no matter how well you thing you're defended, you'll get hurt or betrayed once in a while. The good news is, you'll live through it.
  • Step 5: Confront your tendency to imagine your heart is safe just because you're physically isolated. Consider that every day you interact with others and benefit in some way.
  • TIP: Don't feel obligated to befriend someone just because you suspect you're not trying hard enough -- not everyone is worthy of trust.
  • Step 6: Test peoples' loyalty at first, sharing small, less personal things about yourself. Jumping into relationships the second you feel accepted is premature. Accept yourself first.
  • Step 7: Evaluate your reasons for not trusting someone. Weight them according to how severe they are as opposed to how afraid you have become, to determine whether someone is worthy of trust.
  • Step 8: Admit the need to let people in even if you don't feel ready to risk it yet. Humans are social creatures, hurt when rejected. After the loss of a close relationship, even though life can seem empty, you may not be ready to let anyone back in.

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