Thus, when we connect we must make certain choices with caution. Who we choose to share ourselves with and what we choose to share with each person in our lives are critical considerations. Not everyone is a good match for us in connection, and there are parts of us that certain Others may simply not have the experience to understand.


THERE ARE OTHERS who create a sense of safety around us, whose confidentiality we come to trust, who we know will be gentle when allowed into the sacred space of our “self.” We can recognize these folks by our own feelings when around them; they support us in being who we are, they seem to genuinely care, and they seem to want to understand us better. It is with these Others that you can start laying more delicate pieces of hope and fear atop the sturdy foundation now in place. You can adorn your bridge with flourishes of your unmasked self, combine pieces of yourself and your Other into a mosaic unique to the connection you share.


THERE ARE ALSO PEOPLE whose habits in connecting are not a good match for ours. Something painful in their life may have habituated them to react to us in ways that make us feel rotten - though usually they do not intend us any harm. They respond naturally with judgment, with criticism, with unsolicited advice. They interrupt our stories to brag or moan about their own. It is important to get a sense of who you are dealing with before you open up wide. Trust your instincts. What you hold within yourself is valuable, and must be earned through care and respect. If you don’t like how it feels to walk someone into the shallows of your heart, then it is wise to withhold them the honor of seeing your deeper self.