“Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high.” ― William Goldman, The Princess Bride
The above quote has been mentioned countless times. I must admit that living on this earth for two decades isn’t enough for me to stereotype people who take extra precautionary measures to ensure they do not get themselves emotionally harmed. However, what I’d like to discuss about how some people choose to mention “being guarded against others” to cover up for their unfriendliness.
No, being guarded is not an excuse for not letting others in. Sure, the less you reveal the more they wonder. People who are “guarded” tend to restrict the amount of personal information they give out to acquaintances they encounter, having the notion that the other party might use those details against him/herself one day. While staying “bubble-wrapped”, they actually appear more unfriendly, albeit it being unintentional.
No, being guarded is not an excuse for being unapproachable either. That’s right; I’m talking about the “resting bitch face” that many speak of these days. While we all want to look like the beautiful, talented Anna Kendrick, having a murderous glare (No, Anna does not have a murderous glare, I’m exaggerating) or nicely-put a “poker face”, can be rather off-putting. Maybe you’ve had had a bad day, but having an unhappy expression 24/7 and telling others that you are “guarding” yourself by looking less emotive, that’s actually bad reasoning for having a negative attitude towards life, in my eyes at least.
No, being guarded is not an excuse for being a douche. Perhaps you have the idea that by pretending to be less invested in the relationship, the let-down faced in lieu of a betrayal or some sort of let-down, the harm done upon yourself would be less severe as compared to if “lower walls were built” initially. As such, you reply the other party whenever you desire, having him/her to wait “till the cows come home”. As the saying goes, “Friendship is like a two-way street”. When you give the cold treatment to an individual, he/she would sense the lack of interest in the bond shared amongst you and this increasing awkwardness and tension would ultimately put a strain on the friendship over time.
Yes, our hearts are all “secret gardens”. As homo sapiens, we are blessed with the ability to feel emotions in a way many other mammals, or any other living organisms for that matter can. Therefore, we have placed great emphasis on keeping our oxygen-pumpers safe from emotional stress. The term “tugging on the heartstrings” is very literal. In February 2012, Sherry Hollingsworth nearly collapsed at her aunt’s funeral, where her heart literally stopped pumping blood, Hollingsworth was a healthy 50-year-old woman whom was diagnosed with the Broken Heart Syndrome. According to Dr. Wittstein, this (Broken Heart Syndrome) seems to occur in people that have been exposed to some kind of significant emotional shock or physical stress. This means that while depressing news can’t break our fragile hearts, it is able to cause it to cease its normal functions. Thus, just as secret gardens are worth protecting and hidden away, our hearts should be treated with lots of TLC and kept away from heart-wrenching experiences.
Having talk about the cons of being guarded, those are ultimately the most intriguing characters you will ever encounter as you never know how much of them they are willing to share. And with every new information they tell you about themselves, it feels like (an) “Achievement (has been) Unlocked” because it means that they are finally slowing lowering their walls for you, little by little.