I have long been criticized for what others deem to be a certain level of aloofness. I have been accused of withholding, and even pullback. Caring people have told me that they perceive in me a tendency to isolate. 

Guilty as charged. 

What others have called aloofness is for me an earned level of discernment. What some would deem to be withholding is for me a healthy set of boundaries. If I am pulling back there is almost always good cause. 

I have done enough inner work in my life to be on alert for my own triggering, distortions, and projections. I am keen on staying alert to those, and to wakefully dealing with them. I also lived years of my life trusting and disclosing to people who quite frankly had not earned the right of entry to the deeper levels of my being. This was a pattern that ran and cut deep for me. 

I rarely make that mistake anymore. 

I now send my energy forward and test the receptivity of people before I move to the deeper levels of communication. I try diligently to be a trustworthy person, and I seek that same quality from people who are potential friends. I do not expect that everyone shares in that desire. There have been enough betrayals in this lifetime to teach me to pause before speaking, to presence before sharing. I have constructed an internal safe zone for myself, but I do not kid myself that acquaintances of various levels are automatically safe. 

And so, yes; I proceed with caution. I carefully choose those who I have deeper sharing’s with. I am more forthcoming with those who have proven they will receive me as I am. I practice the art of response in my relating, and I seek to be an open and safe space for those who choose to confide in me. 

So, if you care to glance back at the opening paragraph perhaps you will get a sense of why I relate in the ways that I do. 

Your criticism of my discernment does not open me to letting you in further. Your accusations of aloofness do nothing to foster a deeper intimacy. If you perceive that I am in pullback, and perhaps I am, look at what interaction just occurred and what your part was in it. I assure you I will. 

It took me decades to claim and to nurture my own personal interior space. It took me decades to recognize the warning signs of people who should not be granted full access. I erroneously thought that as an awakening spiritual person I should be open and disclosing to all. Premature opening would result in hurt, and then I was left scrutinizing myself for the cause of another’s bad behavior. I left people in my sphere years after they should have been released. 

So, if I have shared with you and you evaluated, corrected, spiritualized, or in some way critiqued what I have shared do not expect further offerings. And accept it or not my discernment is not defense. 

Empathy is not commentary. And only empathy is the bridge to true intimacy. 

We all have unconscious moments. We all behave and speak unskillfully. But we all do not choose to own that unskillfulness, apologize, and amend our way of showing up. And so those are the folks that get my compassion, caring, and even love without access to the deeper realms of my being. 

I fully accept that I inadvertently taught people how to treat me by virtue of what I would tolerate. I have radically adjusted that. I am taking full responsibility for what I allow, and for how I show up in relationship. I am clear that I would far rather have a few true intimates than I would a slew of surface negotiators. I do not confuse social media contacts with friends. And, when I do choose to call you friend, I commit to showing up fully and accepting you freely. If I show up unskillfully, I will own that, and I will amend my ways. 

Pullback isn’t always a bad thing. It taught me a lot. I needed to withhold. It was in effect for me guidance. I needed to pullback. And in knowing when to pullback I am free to choose when to fully open.