There are few infirmities that ravage a life more than that of a wounded heart. Being intimately injured is an experience that almost no one walks away from unscathed. And Just as our skin might toughen over a bruise for protection, so too do we hide behind a tough exterior in order to protect ourselves from what hurt us.
Many people demonize the act of curbing one’s behavior due to unpleasant experiences but like our bodies, we also adapt and heal from traumatic experiences. While it’s normal to adapt, it’s easy to turn our lessons into luggage. These adaptations quickly become baggage that can make a heart bitter if not properly dealt with. Here are just a couple ways I’ve dealt with heartbreak that have kept me from becoming bitter.
Maintaining Levels to This Thing
Sometimes boundaries look like things we won’t allow people to do to us, but they also look like things we won’t allow ourselves to do to others nor to oneself. There are levels to just how much access a person should be allowed of your heart. If you haven’t had the chance to learn certain things about a person or see them in certain scenarios, then perhaps you shouldn’t trust them with some of your deepest secrets.
Humans beings are naturally empathetic, but we’re naturally a host of other things too. Not everyone you meet will have your best interest at heart, even the nicest folk out there. You will hit it off with people upon just meeting and then, a few months down the line, realize that you don’t have much in common beyond the superficial. This doesn’t make them nor you a bad person it just means that you’re not compatible.
Emotional distancing is a facet of setting healthy boundaries, but you should refrain from exercising it to any extreme. When you practice emotional distancing to an extreme it transforms into emotional detachment. Being detached in your affairs with others is more often than not a sign of unattended trauma. Extremes in behavior may appear easier to practice, especially when you’re feeling extreme emotions, but balance as with most things is key.
What has helped me to maintain elasticity and bounce back from intimate conflicts is that I always make room for feeling and expressing myself. There’s a lot of buzz around new age stoicism even if most people don’t realize it. This idea of remaining unbothered and unaffected by your environment no matter how despicable someone’s action towards you or others may be is well-intentioned misguidance.
I believe its more important to practice when to feel emotions rather than if you should feel certain emotions at all. Repression is never ideal and many health professionals agree that feeling out your pain, heartbreak, rage, or whatever else is afflicting you in a constructive manner is what’s healthiest. Exploring the arts is one of the most common avenues for expressing how you feel and I recommend it.
Take Nothing More Personally Than Needs Be
I’ve touched on it before but it’s something I think we forget easily. It’s hard to focus on the bigger picture when all you’re aware of is your narrow life. Still, you must learn to accept that not everyone’s actions are a reflection of you.
We’re often told that we attract everything in our lives. That we’re in greater control of our realities than we know. This is only a half truth. Yes, we do have a large influence over how we experience this life, but that’s in terms of our mindset. You have very little control over how it is that others will behave and especially behave towards you. So much goes into influencing our actions and about 90% of it is out of your control.
People are constantly struggling through battles you are unaware of. Many of us are plagued with insecurities that have a large appetite and can only be satiated by validation from complete strangers. The guy who cheated on you didn’t do so because you were lacking in something, but because he was lacking in something. It is not my intention to absolve anyone of accountability. You can influence the behavior of others but it’s important to not overstep your boundary of influence. So much is out of your control.
It’s easy to feel like something is wrong with you when you show someone who you are and you're rejected for it. It's one thing to be unsuccessful at something, but to be unsuccessful with people can can make you feel fundamentally flawed. Whenever I find myself falling into self-destructive trains of thought like the aforementioned I remember these few things and then dating isn't so scary anymore. Life will be full of opportunities that take shots at your core, but stand firm and stand tall.
Lilith is a blogger with an emphasis in writing and reflecting upon social agendas that effect black women. When not at her computer writing she is more than likely still at her computer, programming. On the rare occasion that Lilith isn't at her laptop you can attempt to find her exploring the Chicago food scene or attending workshops in creative writing