Opening Pandora’s Box

For years I was someone who tended to keep his distance. I liked (and still do) my own company, tended to meet people on neutral ground, pubs for example,  and felt awkward in more intimate social gatherings.  A partygoer at times but always at other people’s parties. That childhood outsider remained one and it became my default mechanism. Indeed, so much so that I never questioned it. It was me and I’ve learnt that I’m quite strong on that “me” bit.

This whole situation was made worse by a lack ability to do small talk other than in certain situations and, something that I now realise, was a lack of empathy. A great amount   of sympathy, caring and  personal, practical advice and help but empathy no, not really. Inside the shell that I’d created, I was safe, letting people in at my own behest. Until, one day, meeting one of my youngest daughter’s boyfriends, I felt  empathy for the first time and it hurt. Moreover it is, I now find, a one way street in which there is no turning round. I liken it to a Pandora’s Box.

Well, over the past few years and many years on the therapist’s couch, I learnt to face up to my demons and, in doing so, understand why they were there in the first place. As a result, most of them don’t plague me anymore. They were only in my head anyway although, unfortunately, that’s the last place you want demons to be.

Well, yesterday we went to Gaynor’s brother and his wife’s Xmas family get together. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Talking to people whose views I didn’t necessarily agree with and not labouring the point was quite nice really. My lovely wife even commented on the fact that a lot of the fury has gone although, as later was also to be commented on, not the passion or optimism.

So, if you have to live with demons, please try to understand why they’re there and send them quietly on their way. If my experience is any guide, the life that you will then lead, just as yourself, can be easier and more fulfilling. It would appear, after all, that opening that Pandora’s Box and letting the bad out, allows the good to flourish. Not a bad result, both for you and those around you.

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