I have a cat. Her name is Miss Kyle (a Batman reference), and she is adorable.
She’s so cute that my friends always want to hold her and pet her when they come over to my house. But Miss Kyle usually won’t let them.
I can’t say for sure (because I don’t really know what happens between her cute little white, grey, black, and pink ears), but I suspect it has something to do with an acquaintance of ours.
My acquaintance came over to my house when Miss Kyle was a kitten. It was the first time she (in all her adorable kitty splendor) had encountered a house guest. It didn’t go well.
He was rough with her. When she tried to back away from him, he wouldn’t let her. After that, Miss Kyle has commonly swiped and hissed at house guests.
It’s sad, really. That guy acted like a jerk, but my other friends don’t. They just want to pet Miss Kyle, to hold her, and to play with her. But she won’t let them.
She’s missing out on a lot of fun and a lot of love.
As sad as it is for Miss Kyle to miss out on affection and companionship, how much sadder is it that people behave like Miss Kyle, and for the same reasons?
When I was growing up, I was surrounded by heaps of negative, aggressive, rude, and scary people.
Because of them, I developed poor self-esteem and a fear of others.
Over the years, I have learned about boundaries, self-worth, and relationships. I have formed friendships, and am a ridiculously happily married man.
But if I’m not careful, in large groups of people, my default is still to fear others.
That fear takes the form of feeling competitive, mistrust, feeling insignificant, anger, and the list goes on.
When I feel the fear, I imagine I feel much like Miss Kyle (or any abused animal, for that matter) when my friends come over.
But what can be done?
It’s easier said than done, but…
You have to be open.
I have to be open.
Miss Kyle would be happier is she would be open.
Could Miss Kyle be bullied again? Sure. But she will never get pampered the way she could unless she opens herself to the possibility that my friends just want to hold and pet her.
Could I be mistreated again? Sure. But I’ll never form relationships the way I want to unless I am open to the possibility that not everyone will treat me the way I was treated before.
And so… I will.
What about you?
Are you open?
Is there something in your past keeping you from being open?
Want to know something weird? I wrote this article in the morning, then this happened to me in the evening. Weird.