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I read this beautiful depiction of what a closed heart looks like a few months ago. It went something like this:

Make a fist as hard as you can. Allow it to hurt you. Allow your nails to dig into your palms and your forearms to tense so much that your veins begin to pop out. Do you feel the tension rise through your arms? Maybe you feel the tension in your jaw,  the clenching sensation cascading to other parts of the body. 

Now, let go. Release. You should, in this moment, feel the pressure and the pain fade. As you squeezed that fist, there was nothing  that I could have possibly given you. No gift, no help, no money to pay a bill or food to feed you. You couldn’t take it from me. You were closed off. I could have been offering you a large check, a key to a new home, a simple card of gratitude. I could have given you a blessing, but you missed it. You chose to hold yourself prisoner to your situation by being so closed off that you missed the help that could have been given to you. 

You see, in society, I think that it is romanticized to do it alone. When you are hurt, disappointed, let down or deceived, you are told that, at those moments, you’re supposed to close down. Shut people out. Shut opportunities out that may hurt us again. Essentially, there is this mindset that, ‘ this happened to me, so I am going to punish the opportunities of the future by not letting them in.’

I don’t buy it.

“This happened to me, so I am going to punish the opportunities of the future by not letting them in.” That makes no sense, but that is exactly what we do when we close our hearts and minds. Holding onto your pain, or allowing unwillingness to forgive shut your heart up doesn’t make you strong. It makes you hard. It makes you bitter.

Of course, I am not saying that we should repeat history. No, no, no. Not at all. If something hurt you, learning from those situations is crucial to making better decisions in the future. What I am talking about is how we manifest what comes next. When relationships don’t work out and you resolve to the popular expression, “I am meant to be alone. I don’t need a man/woman.” do you truly believe it? Your internal voice is strong. It, in a way, predicts your future. You are the one who makes the next step, sets the scene, chooses the path. So, be aware of what you tell yourself. Sure, it may be true that you are independent, and that is wonderful. However, closing your heart to possibility of relationship is you manifesting your own destiny. Should we be surprised when things don’t work out again and again after we have put this gigantic wall up? This goes beyond romantic relationships as well. Maybe a family member or friend hurt you. Lack of forgiveness is like heavy tar poured over your heart space. It is weighted and painful. Just as you made the fist and missed all of the physical blessings that I could have handed you, when your heart is sealed shut, hard, unreachable, you will miss the opportunities life has for you.

When my dad was very sick, I remember monitoring my tears so that I looked strong. I hated to cry. People could not see that I was falling apart, in pain, feeling totally unhinged at points. I hated pity, and I thought that shutting down my own emotion would numb me enough to skirt by the hugs, the shaking heads, clicking tongues, and mournful “how are you” questions. My heart was wounded and molded back together with a blow torch so that the cracks would never be opened again. It spilled into my interactions with men, with trust in the fact that if I got too close, maybe I would lose them too, then it impacted me in the way that if I got close enough, it was hard to let go, even if it wasn’t right. I was always “available”, but never truly honest in my availability. I was never fully myself. I was never truly open. How could I be fully loved when I was not fully there?

Flashing forward, thankfully, I have come to realize that I am always fully loved, I am never too broken, and my tears are a sign of strength. I am independent and totally dependent in the same vein. Do you know how freeing and liberating it is to allow other people to help you, to hold you in your broken times, to speak words of wisdom into your life, to teach you and learn from you? Be honest with yourself. How much time do you spend focusing on the pain rather than putting energy into the healing?

There have been excruciating moments of my life that held me prisoner for years. Some of which I finally opened up about a short year ago. There have been pains that I allowed to shape my relationships romantically and in day to day friendships.  Hurts that I have held onto like a security blanket so that when things got serious or bad, I could fall back on them as an excuse for why I am the way I am. Why I am so broken. Why I fear certain situations. But, no more. This year has been one of letting go of fear, forgiving the past, forgiving those who have hurt me, and forgiving myself for things that I have done and been.

Maybe you totally disagree with this. But, I would closely examine the wall that you may be building. Is it to protect or to prove a point? Is it worth the energy to keep lifting block after block after block? Are you simply learning from the past, or allowing yourself to be defined by the past? Can you let go of what is holding you back from the destiny that is so much more than what you may be allowing yourself?

Remember this. You are always fully loved, you are never too broken, your tears, your emotions, your ability to face the hard moments and move on from them, open for the better moments, is a sign of strength.

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written, but I just felt as if I needed to write this one, now. I’m not sure why, even. What I do know, however, is that I am tired of people that I know and people that I love holding themselves prisoners to the past hurt. You were hurt. You are not defined by that hurt. You are not pain. You are free.

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