At various ages and times, as you were growing up, you sustained wounds. I am not taking about wounds that required going to the doctor and getting stitches. I am talking about that internal wound on your heart or soul when you were so excited and wanted to share something with someone you loved, and that person told you to “shut up!” That wound may still be there, especially if there other similar experiences built up on top of that one. That wound may be making you today, as an adult, more skittish to be in a relationship with someone where you are truly vulnerable. That wound may be telling you that it is not safe to be close, that you will just be hurt again.
You have a choice: you can keep reacting unconsciously to those wounds or you can mindfully start to heal from them. And, yes, it is possible to heal. First, you have to have the courage to face those wounds. If you need help getting that courage, you may see if there is someone in your life that you can safely lean on while you go through this. You might want to explore getting into therapy. Or talking with your clergy. Or holding your puppy as you do this.
Second, think back to that age you were when those wounds were started. Imagine what you looked like when you were three or five or ten or fifteen. Imagine your hair, your clothes. How tall you were? Or more realistically, how short? Then allow your adult self to tell that child part of you that the adult self loves the child, just the way he or she is, that the child self is just wonderful to that adult. Also let that child part know that the adult part can keep that child safe, because you are now an adult.
This is not a cure-all, but it is a beginning. We all have a child inside of us. The child may very well need some unconditional love. It is never too late to give it to that child. Never.