To the girl who’s too afraid to let anyone in, I see you. I understand your fear, your worry, your doubt. I understand why you keep people at an arm's length or push them away when they try and get too close.

Maybe it started when you were little. Your dad walked away and never once looked over his shoulder. He chose money and women over his little girl, and for eight years he paid for it behind big metal bars. He would call you and tell you how much he loved you and how he was going to make it right when he got out. But how? He was gone for eight years. He missed so much. So many things that a daddy should be there for his little girl. School dances, heartbreaks, broken car parts. He was never there. But you wanted to believe in him. So, you did.

And that was your first heartbreak. Whenever daddy got out, he didn’t make things right. He made things worse. He fought with you and mommy and never came around and soon, it was only a phone call a week. Then a month. Then three months. Then no phone call at all. No phone call on your birthday, or the day you graduated high school or the day you moved into your dorm room.

Maybe it was your first real love. A boy you thought was your everything. So you gave him everything you had and more. You put all your love and time and effort into him, and it was beautiful. Wonderful. Until, one day, things changed. And that boy who you swore you were going to marry one day outgrew you and pushed you away. All the promises you two made together had been broken, all the memories that you once looked at for happiness now left a bitter taste in your mouth. Hearing his name once made your heart race with excitement and your stomach filled with butterflies, but now whenever you hear his name, your heart stops from the pain it feels, your stomach hurts, and your anxiety takes over.

Maybe it was a best friend, who promised to never hurt you and always be there for you. You two were inseparable, attached at the hip. You did everything together. Then one day her kind words turned into daggers that stabbed you in the back. She would tell you things that would only hurt you and tear you down, instead of bringing you up. This is friendship? You would ask yourself as you’d sit in your room at 2 AM, crying because she told you how ugly you were. You’d always be too scared to go to school the next day because you never knew what side of her you’d get next.

Maybe you’ve just been burned one too many times by people who you treated so well and with so much love, but they didn’t appreciate it.

Maybe you’re tired of people lying to you and just telling you things that you want to hear, but then the truth comes out and makes you wonder why you ever trusted them in the first place.

I see you. I understand you. It’s scary, meeting new people. You can’t help but think when you meet them “I wonder if they will walk away, too”.

But, I also know that if you never meet new people and put yourself in those kinds of situations you will never grow and learn. You will never find the good people and learn how to see the bad people. So please, next time you start to get scared, or worried, or afraid, push those thoughts aside. Think of all the possibilities, good and bad. Think of the positive things that could happen from this new person, but also consider the negative. Put yourself out there, but don’t feel bad for guarding your heart. I promise, it’ll be worth it in the end.