“Why is it that, in every Final Fantasy game, there are scenes that show separation? Because as we live life, bonds and friendships are born, but there will inevitably come a time when we have to say good-bye. Tales of separation, they are also tales of meeting and connecting with new people, tales of conflict, trials, and battle. They are an expression of life itself.”

— Shinji Hashimoto, producer of Final Fantasy XV and head of the franchise’s 30th anniversary activities



Truth talk

I asked myself… How did I become the person that I became today?

So tough.. I thought. But all I did was fenced myself up, set the distances and hid my weaknesses.

The truth is… I am extremely vulnerable, sensitive and emotional and I wouldn’t even reveal that on my blog because I know people are reading and when they find out too much about my weaknesses… someday they would use it against me.

I don’t know why I decided to be honest today. Maybe I am starting to realize that this defense mechanism I’ve built within myself is preventing me from being true to myself. It’s hurting my loved ones. It’s stopping me from feeling happy from deep within. I didn’t want to open myself up to feel true happiness because I am afraid of being hurt.

So terribly afraid of feeling the pain that I’ve felt before.

I’ve become that someone that would never trust another a 100% because if you did and that person disappointed your trust, the damage you receive would feel like someone threw you down from 100th floor. And if you didn’t put your full trust, just a portion, granted it still hurts but at least you did have reservations so that’s like throwing you down from the 10th. And I think it’s way more bearable that way.

I don’t know how to put myself all out there to take the full blows of reality of pain and in turn, this holds me back from feeling the full brims of joy.

How do I become the person that I used to be… when I despise the old me that didn’t know how to love herself and didn’t recognize her own value and allowed people to trample over her again and again.

How do I become the wiser woman who loves herself and yet have the courage to open up to receive love and trust others again?

Perhaps no one can help you… You’ll have to figure this out on your own.

Try to recognize that little voice in your head that feeds you information like, “He doesn’t really love you. Don’t be a fool. Get moving before he really hurts you.”  Think about how this critical inner voice coaches you to avoid feeling intimate or vulnerable. “She is just manipulating you. Don’t let her get to know the real you. You can’t trust anyone.” Think about how it puts you and others down, injuring your confidence. “You’re too ugly/fat/poor/awkward to have a relationship. No one will be interested.”

Throughout your life, this cruel and conniving thought process will try to lure you away from finding love. Identifying it will help you to stop seeing it as reality or your own point of view. It will allow you to separate and to act against its harmful directives. Remember that letting go of your inner critic means letting go of an old identity that, although unpleasant, can also feel safe in its familiarity. Breaking from this critic will rouse anxiety, but it poses a battle well worth fighting. Powering through this anxiety and refuting your inner critic at every turn will allow you to uncover and become your truest self.

It’s easy to fall back to those old, comforting activities that keep us feeling sheltered and alone. Even though, they may make us feel lonely, unfulfilled or hardened against love, we revert to our defenses like a heavy blanket shielding us from the world. Our defenses, no matter how alluring they may sound, are not our friend. They are there to keep us from achieving our goals.

It may have felt threatening, even dangerous, to open up to someone as a child or show our feelings in our family, but these same defenses are no longer constructive to us in our current relationships. Perhaps, pretending we didn’t care helped guard us from the pain of feeling neglected or invisible, however that same attitude will make it hard to accept loving feelings that are extended to us today. As we learn how adaptations that served us in our childhood are harmful to us in the present, we can act against these almost instinctive behaviors and, over time, become who we want to be in our relationships.

We’re all familiar with the expression, “Love makes us feel alive,” and it’s one cliché that’s entirely true. Love makes us feel. It deepens our capacity for joy, passion and vitality. However, it also makes us more susceptible to pain and loss. Falling in love can remind us of previous hurts. It can awaken us to existential realities. Unfortunately, we can’t selectively numb our feelings. When we try to avoid pain, we subdue joy and love.

Caring deeply for another person makes us feel more deeply in general. When these emotions arise, we should be open to feeling them. We may worry that strong feelings will overpower us or take over our lives, but in truth, feelings are transitory if we don’t try to block them. For example, sadness comes in waves, and when we allow ourselves to feel it, we also open ourselves up to feeling a tremendous amount of joy.

So many of us live in fear of being vulnerable. We are told early on to be smart and toughen up. The dating world accepts, even promotes a culture of game-playing. Don’t call her for at least three days. Don’t say “I love you” first. Don’t tell him how you feel. Don’t let her see how much you like her. Being vulnerable is a mark of strength, not weakness. It means ignoring the voices in your head and acting on how you really feel. When you do this, you learn that you can survive, even when you get hurt. You’ll be able to live with more honesty and possibility, knowing that you’ve stayed yourself, even when the world around you wasn’t perfect.