I understand what it means to be guarded. I’ve been that way for years. It doesn’t happen by choice, as one may think. There’s a slow and subtle build-up when you are abused, used, taken for granted, hurt, neglected or disregarded. It’s based on fear and is a form of self-protection therefore, necessary. One must keep it in balance, however.
In closing yourself towards certain experiences, you may also be closing yourself to amazing opportunities. I’ve found since I’ve become acutely aware of my guardedness and finding a reasonable balance, my life has vastly improved in both a personal and professional way.
Guardedness will always be a part of me, because it is part of my core being. I simply will no longer allow it to take prominence.

The want for joy should be stronger than the fear of getting hurt. Stop giving power to the things that harmed you and start living and loving freely.