While I can’t tell specifically why any person, male or female, is closed and guarded I think I can draw some overall conclusions I learned from going through the process of being a closed and insecure person to being the open guy I am today. I also learned a great deal about this subject from learning how consciousness , mind and thought worked to help my son overcome a lifetime of mild to suicidal depression.
I hope you might learn from my journey and maybe, just maybe, either open up yourself or at least be empathic to others who are closed and guarded.
Of all places I learned to open up by having a magic moment when I read the last chapter of Napoleon Hill’s inspirational classic, Think and Grow Rich. That chapter is titled, The Six Ghosts of Fear. About that in a bit.
Some truths to start with is that every single person on the planet has:
- a massive amount of daily thoughts,
- beliefs about life that are not true,
- the ability to choose to think and believe anything they desire, and
- feelings and emotions.
Let’s see how these truths are intertwined. An insecurity is the lack of confidence or assurance or self-doubt. Insecurities are not real. Oh, I’m not saying they don’t manifest themselves in everyday life and end up causing negative results and pain. What I’m saying is that they are only real if we believe they are real. In other words, you can choose to make them real in your mind even when they are not real in someone else’s mind.
Let me give an example. Before Roger Bannister broke the record and ran the mile in under 4 minutes, everyone up to that point believed a person’s lungs would explode and they would die going that hard. The insecurity was death by running a mile under 4 minutes. They had uneasy feelings and would have the emotion of pain, even though they had never actually experienced it because they had never ran that fast or hard.
Strange thing happened. Roger Banister didn’t believe that. Since his belief was that a person could run the mile under 4 minutes he never had thoughts of dying. He felt optimistic and excited to accomplish the feat. He only had thoughts of how he would train the body to go that fast. Right after he broke the barrier and ran the mile under 4 minutes, a whole bunch of runners did it because they realize their insecurity was not real.
My son had a similar experience. The counselor was teaching him how beliefs were only made up in his mind and given life through his thoughts. She asked him a question, “Have you ever been really miserable? Very depressed without his well-being when someone called you and you snapped right out of depression to being happy and bright?” He replied that he had. He answered that every Sunday after church when the youth in the congregation were not kind to him (at least that’s what my son believed) he would go home and be miserable. He would think that he was not good enough for friendship. Then his brother would call and ask him if he wanted to come over and play video games. He said after that call he would be happy and energetic.
The counselor then asked him what changed? Did his environment change? Did the sun all of a sudden come out? Did the video games all of a sudden change? My son reflected and realized that this belief changed. In a split second he no longer believed he wasn’t worthy of friendship. That new belief flowed positive thought. Thoughts of playing the game and beating other online opponents. Thoughts of laughing with his brother.
In just four days of counseling my son’s 20 years of depression were over. For over 20 years my son had these false beliefs and insecurities and in an instant, that one question the counselor asked him allowed my son to see reality and to immediately change his beliefs and the new positive thoughts flowed. He became a new boy after that experience. I was over joyed for him.
When I picked my son up at the airport upon his arrival home from the counselor, I asked him what he learned. His answer is unbelievably simple and very powerful. A reminder to all of us how we can move from being closed and guarded to open and authentic. He answered,
“Dad, I basically learned how not to think!”
Do you see the wisdom in that statement in connection with the messages of these two stories and the five truths?
Now back to Napoleon Hill. I was fascinated by my son’s simple insight. I started to explore more how the mind worked. I started to see how my own beliefs gave rise to my own lifetime insecurities.
I was a great athlete my whole life. But I had a secret. I could shoot a game winning free throw in front of thousands of yelling fans but I was shy and reserved. I was so fearful of rejection. I hid that insecurity by being sarcastic and witty. My mother had used her own insecurity against me and I believed I was not worthy of love and admiration. I would be very closed and reserved. That caused me, members of my family and those I worked with a lot of pain for many years.
Then I started a quest to learn more and to unlock my true self. In the last chapter of his book Napoleon Hill revealed the six ghosts of fear with which almost all fear and insecurity could be categorized. If any person believed these were real, they would create a thought pattern to match it. The demon in all this is that the fear is many times subconscious and we don’t even realize that it exists. The six ghosts of fear in order of their most common appearance are:
- The fear of poverty
- The fear of criticism
- The fear of ill health
- The fear of loss of love of someone
- The fear of old age
- The fear of death
When a person has any of these insecurities and fears they will achieve the object of their thought. Just like all the runners who before Roger Bannister believed that the sub-4 minute mile could not be run, proved the object of their fear (belief); they did not run the mile under 4 minutes. This point is really important to understand. Yet after Roger Bannister did it, those who used to think it could not be done, changed their belief, overcame their fear and ran the mile under 4 minutes.
Those runners probably had the fear of ill health and the fear of death.
When I discovered these six fears I realized that I had several of them. I had the fear of criticism. That made me closed and many of my actions caused others pain. That pain caused others to criticize me. I got what I feared; criticism. The light went on. I started to learn that by letting go of my false beliefs and to open to truth and let me just be me, i.e., authentic, is when my life took off. I removed the self shackles. I no longer believed I would be poor (fear of poverty) and not worthy of abundance and began to excel financially. I took off my imposed fear of ill health and found health and nutrition. I was able to compete in Ironman triathlons at a late age.
Perhaps the best part of the discovery is that I’m always happy. Other people have no power over me.
By being open there is nothing someone can say that can harm you. Your guard is down and its powerful! You begin to realize that if someone says something negative toward you that you realize they are shackled with their own set of fears and insecurities and their words were meant to give them affirmations of their own existence. You can now love other people unconditionally because you understand where their thoughts come from. You can know exactly want to say to them to help them feel confident to drop their shields and begin to trust you.
So why don’t men open up? I hope I’ve helped you answer that question.