Tough People: Not So Tough

Letting Your Guard Down And Taking Risks

I’m sure that we all have known at least one person in our lives whose heart could not be penetrated. Try as we may, we just couldn’t love them into accepting love. I’m not speaking of romantic love (well, not exclusively romantic love), but all kinds of love — friendships, coworkers, or family. Regardless of how hard we’ve tried, we couldn’t seem to cut past their tough exterior.

Trying to reach the center of these kinds of people can be exhausting, and giving up on them, eventually, is not the most difficult thing to do. It’s very difficult for those who are trying to show compassion only to have it returned with disregard or worse, insult.

I’m Not Only The Tough Guy President, I’m Also A Member

As with all Afrologik articles, I speak from experience. I’ve been guilty of being the person with the impenetrable heart, so I know a cold heart is the result of experiences. When life throws us human beings blows, there are a couple of ways of dealing with it:

1. Learn from it and try to make better decisions, moving forward. Or, accept that every day is not a sunny day, and not all people are pleasant.

Or

2. Promise yourself that it will never happen to you again. Then, build an invisible wall around yourself that prevents anyone or anything from getting close enough to cause you hurt, ever again.

Won’t Make A Fool Out of Me…

For years, I kept an invisible wall around myself. To this day, I will still flip the switch that will erect that wall. My reasons for doing that are most commonly: feeling abandoned, betrayed, and of course, hurt. Another reason is to avert anyone from getting too close to me. I’m afraid of my feelings being mocked or that they won’t be returned. “It’s better to bail than it is to stand there like a fool, waiting for both shoes to drop“, I’d reason to myself. So, I developed an “Eff it. I don’t care” mentality. At first, it was phony, but as time passed, it became very real. Before I had realized, I didn’t care about anything, and very few people. I’d respond to everything with sarcasm, and sometimes, blatant evil. I’ve really hurt the feelings of some people, and turned even more away. “Eff it. Eff them“, I’d say to myself, mentally.

It had gotten so bad that I began to dread human contact. I couldn’t stand for anyone to be in my space, “three feet!“, I’d say to anyone who has gotten too close to me.

*Okay, to be honest, I still have a problem with strangers being too close to me. For this reason, I’m uncomfortable in malls, concerts, or any place that draws a crowd. At stores, I prefer to use self check out.

I wasn’t always that way. Experiences with people, hurt, deception, and the like made me distrust all people. I actually thought this was cool. While everyone else was taking chances on other people, only to fall on their faces, I was fine. I was a statue inside of a velvet rope. I was there to be seen — perhaps admired — but never touched.

“Sadness is for suckers!”

~Papa Fuerte, “The Get Down”

As stoic as I had become, ironically, I couldn’t stop smiling. Even now, naturally, I’m a smiler. Even when I’m thinking “Eff you“, I’m smiling. My aura has always been big and red, yellow, and orange. As much as I tried to be unapproachable, it never happened. It wasn’t natural. Because of that one little thing, people were (are) drawn to me, and I couldn’t do a thing about it, even though I really did not want them there. I was the tough cat. I didn’t need anyone.

Realization

It took several months of pondering for me to realize that I’m not really a “Tough Cat” (as my grandfather used to call me), I was a fraidy cat! I had allowed life and its situations to harden me and scare me so badly that I was afraid to take chances. I thought that if I was to take a risk, I’d risk my sanity. Conversely, living inside of an invisible wall is certainly insane.

Be aware that the tougher a person portrays themselves to be, the more afraid they are. Those who are not afraid to take a chance on love, life, and change, are truly the “Tough Cats”. It takes guts to cry and risk looking foolish. Hurt, as unpleasant as it is, is a sign of life. You have to be alive to feel. Dead people don’t feel anything — not only the physically dead, but also the mentally dead.

Some people are afraid to learn new things, try new things, or understand other cultures, (I thank my lucky stars that this part never happened to me). They stay in their boxes with likeminded people who are not encouraging to their evolution. They’re afraid to challenge the things that they have been conditioned to think and do. It scares them that if they learn more, do more, and accept more, they will no longer fit into the presentation of themselves that they created.

Life is all about taking risks. Sometimes the risks have good results, sometimes they don’t 🤷🏽‍♀️. When they don’t, the lesson is; regroup, recoup, and move forward. The lesson is NEVER to “shut yourself off from the world“. The Universe needs each and every one of us to have open minds so we can receive the greatness that we are entitled to.

There was a reason why while I was in my wall, putting on a tough guy facade, I couldn’t stop smiling. That reason is that, that kind of behavior from me wasn’t cosmically sound. I had made a choice to go against nature and imprison my spirit, however, my spirit was too big — it could not fit inside of that wall. Upon disassembling that wall, people and opportunities started coming to me, and I was open to it all. I’ve been places, and I’ve allowed people into my life. There is much more to come.

“Life Is Good”

~Mitch, “Paid In Full”

I haven’t taken that wall down, completely, but I can now see over it. Maybe one day, I’ll no longer need it. Maybe I’ll always need it, now and then🤷🏽‍♀️. As for now, I can say with honesty, that it’s pretty cool to be free.

“It’s the lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”

~ Muhammad Ali

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