Not long ago, I was questioned about the importance of not developing a hardened heart after being hurt so many times. It seems fairly understandable and deceptively logical to shut people out after putting yourself out there so much only to find there’s no one there. Human beings can be an unusual and cruel species. We will argue, fight and kill each other over a few simple words. There have been mass murders that have resulted in thousands losing their lives over the actions of select few individuals. It’s an easy resolution to come to.
I want to start things by stating that there are times when it is important and necessary to shut yourself off from people but it is only when you need to focus on healing and growing as a person. There is nothing wrong with closing down for repairs. If you feel that you need to shut down your heart, do so with intentions of reopening and becoming better and stronger than you were before. And make damn sure you have someone that you trust to tell you when you’ve been shut down for too long.
All too often, people forget how powerful of emotional tool forgiveness can be. It frees the soul and mind for lessons and blessings to flow without the veil of the negativity. And sometimes that means accepting the apology you’ll never get. And forgiveness doesn’t mean you become BFF’s with your trespassers; it is simply letting go of the other person’s neck and making conscious choice to stop being angry with them. It isn’t easy but it is rewarding nonetheless. But should you decide to allow your to turn to stone, there a few things that you should be made aware of.
1. You will never have happiness. And forget about joy and peace while you’re at it. When you’re hurt by someone, at one point or another, that person elicited the feelings of joy, love and happiness. And when they have a “human” moment and say or do something that hurts you, you start to associate joy with pain. From there, you start to fear positive emotions because of the pain of your past. Brene Brown said it best, “You can’t selectively numb emotions; when you one thing, you numb everything.” It is the “All or None” law of human emotion. If you want feel happiness, joy and contentment, you have to learn how to deal with the shame, guilt and regret that eventually come. It’s a matter of what you focus more of your energy on.
2. You will never have meaningful relationships. Not in your families, not in love affairs, not in your profession. If you fear happiness, you develop a irritation with those who threaten to bring it around you, like an allergy. You keep anyone who may affect you with it at an arm’s length. Those walls protecting you are up and stabilized in case joy tries to sneak in. And those walls may be keep everyone out but it keeps you locked in.
3. You will never be satisfied or fulfilled. Having a hardened heart means having these unrealistic expectations and standards that no one, including yourself, to live up to. So, to quote a famous Bond movie, the world is not enough. Someone could be giving us everything we ask for and truly want with an open heart but because we become so consumed by hurt, insecurities and fear of being hurt, we can’t see their efforts and all we could ever want slips out of our hands, in front of our faces without us recognizing it.
4. You will always be the victim. Deepak Chopra said it best, “I use my memories, I do not let my memories use me.” When you allow your heart to harden and you put those walls up, those painful memories are the cement between the bricks in the wall. Every time you find yourself opening up, those memories will creep up and remind you of what happened “the last time you tried that”. Being victimized means allowing yourself to be continuously hurt by the past. Each experience we have, good, bad or indifferent, is meant to teach something about ourselves and we are victimized by the experiences we don’t learn from.
5. You will never be healed. I posted a picture with a quote that mushroom-clouded my brain. It said “Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain”. But you have to go through the healing process to get to the joys of being wise, at peace and, consequently, healed. One of the best life lessons I received growing up was in art class when a teacher said, “Make art out of your mistakes”. That same concept can be applied to life. When your heart remains hardened, you can only see the mistake. But if you can push past the pain, you see where the pain created art and divine beauty.
Getting hurt never feels good and oftentimes, we don’t have much control over it simply because that is a part of life. But staying hurt and reverberating the pain we are dealt is our choice and our choice alone. And that’s the good news! If we are willing to be brave enough to allow our heartbreak to be the catalyst to our potential breakthrough, we will find ourselves in place of peace, joy, contentment and, most importantly, love. And that is what it means to be human. Take care, kids.
love your sister, love your brother, love yourself