At Arm’s Length

I’ve come to the difficult realisation recently that I tend to live life at arm’s length. Even the people I care for most tell me I can feel decidedly distant from them at times, disconnected and detached, and however uncomfortable it is for me to accept, sometimes I feel it in myself too and know they are right.

In holding on so tight, so carefully to the fragile core that feels essentially me, I inadvertently create protective barriers in my heart. These barriers may well prevent further hurt from entering, but to a certain extent they also act as a shield to deflect the full force of the love that is on offer from others, and stop me from fully returning it too.

I engage cautiously with life, but do not fully commit to immersing myself in it. I remain forever stranded on the shore, wading dejectedly in the shallows and the shadows, existing in the imagined safety of a kind of liminal space where I am neither out nor in, hedging my bets, sitting on the fence, and feeling dismally alone.

My aloneness hurts, but deep down it feels better than the risk of rejection. But I’ve had enough of paddling perpetually on the periphery, restricting myself to always appearing reserved and remote. I want to learn to trust in myself to trust others, to trust in life itself, and move forward to a new level of involvement where I can feel truly comfortable to give life and love my all, come what may…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Comfortable

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2 thoughts on “At Arm’s Length

  1. I appreciate your honesty, Ruth. Since I retired, my inner introvert has blossomed and I feel more distant from some people. I engage socially for short periods of time, two or three hours tops, usually with task oriented activities, but I also like my own company and my own space. Maybe short visits, outings, or volunteer work would be a way for you to start.

    Liked by 1 person

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