The Dangers of Being Guarded
By Elizabeth Barrera
I never realized how damaged I was until I finally noticed how guarded I was being. Better yet, I never even considered the idea of me being damaged. I always thought I was reacting normally to every potential partner coming my way, until I learned my lesson the hard way.
See, I was cheated on. Not once, but twice. Both times by different partners. I tried to date shortly after the last one, and I was deceived - or what we now call, “played”.
I was kind, caring, and extremely loving and nurturing. You would have never doubted the love I felt for you, especially if you were my significant other. I had no problem showing my affection through more than just physical ways. My love was loyal and unconditional. “I love you” was just one method to express my love, but showing it on a daily basis was my preference. I liked to focus on being there when they were going through difficult times, offering help when it was needed, cooking after a long day, and letting them know how much they meant to me.
This all changed the minute I tried dating casually. After being cheated on and lied to, I told myself that I wouldn’t change because of the way I was treated. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to let what they did to me change me for the worse. I wasn’t going to become bitter. I wasn’t going to stop believing in love. I wasn’t going to quit showing my affection.
However, it’s difficult to control our emotions when we’re giving everything we’ve got, but repeatedly getting negative results.
To say the least, I failed myself.
I become the woman I said I would never be. I let my exes change me and allowed myself to stop believing anything I was told. I unconsciously picked up the methods that were used on me. Some would have even called me a player. I figured that if I was going to be played, I might as well learn to master the game.
I was unintentionally mastering a game that had consequences I was unaware of and would later pay for.
Fast forward three months. My credibility isn’t the best, but I’m much closer to the woman I want to be than to the woman I was before. Everyone has their own path to follow. Perhaps, if I hadn’t let my exes damage me, I wouldn’t be in the place I am today, but maybe I wouldn’t have learned as much about myself either. After all, we're all a work in progress, right?
I was guarded. Then, I slowly transitioned from being guarded to feeling hopeless. I then went from feeling hopeless to feeling bitter, which finally resulted in me feeling like the entire world was against me. Funny thing is, now that I'm on the receiving end, I’m watching people be guarded against me, especially because of the mistakes I made. It’s a horrible feeling, but because of these mistakes and the damage I’ve caused, there is nothing more I want now than to change.
So here’s my advice to you:
Don’t let anyone damage you. Don’t lose hope, and don’t become bitter.
Show them you love them before it’s too late. Don’t lie to them. Don’t deceive them.
Make note to constantly check yourself and remind yourself of the person you’d like to be and compare it to your actions. Do they match? Are you doing what you preach?
Finally, let yourself love them. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to them. It’s okay. The worst that can happen is that it won’t work out between you two, and if it doesn’t, and you’ve done everything possible, then walk away. Don’t hurt yourself any more than you need to.
You miss them? Call.
You need them? Tell them.
You love them? Show it.
Call to see how they’re doing.
Be there for them when they need you.
And never lie.