Have you ever been in this situation: You’ve just revealed something about yourself and believe that the other person is now criticizing you in the privacy of their own head? You try to reduce their perceived judgements by minimizing what you just said or maybe use self-deprecation to divert their attention elsewhere.
What’s going on here?
You’ve unconsciously stepped back in time where at one point you learned that those vulnerable parts of yourself were not acceptable to have, so you did your best to keep them hidden. All human beings want to be known on some level, so this striving to be seen by others is within you, but old patterns of self-censorship have come up to prevent that very thing.
When a parent or caregiver tells us we’re worthless or unacceptable, we take that at face value. Children are very good at internalizing these messages and are even better at keeping themselves safe in the face of a threatening caregiver.
As adults, when we do something vulnerable like let another person in, all of those old beliefs and fears of being judged come screaming back. To help yourself distinguish between the past and present, take a minute to explore what is happening right now, in this moment. What do you see when you look into the eyes of the other person? What is different this time around?