One of my students burst into my room in a huff, angry, and cursing under her breath. When she got to me, unable to let go of the trauma she just endured at the hands of someone else, she looked at me and with a loud, frustrated bark, she asked if I had a pen she could use to fill out a form. I asked what the problem was, and she began going off about a counselor who thought she could talk to her any old way as if she was a child and on and on. When she took a breath I calmly asked, “Did I do anything to you?” She said, “No.” I said, “If I am not the one who hurt you then don’t take it out on me.”
In relationships, we often become our own worse enemy. We hold on to the hurt of the past, form it into bricks, and use it to build an emotional wall to protect our heart. The problem is, we are protecting ourselves from the anticipation of hurt, not the reality of it. Particularly with new relationships, there has not been the time or opportunity to get hurt but we still keep the guards at their posts, ready to defend against anything that even slightly resembles something painful from the past. Inevitably, our wall serves to deflect rather than protect and we sabotage our own happiness.
There is no guarantee when entering any relationship. It may be a lifelong success, wonderful for a time, or a complete failure. But we have to go in optimistic rather than rigid with our scars leading the conversation. That new man is not the one who hurt you. To assume he will be like the last and the one before that and the one before that actually says more about you than him. Rather than protecting yourself from the hurt of the past, apply the wisdom gained from your experiences. Take a chance. The one you feel you need to protect yourself from could be the very one that would spend his life protecting your heart if you gave him a chance.
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