Protection of the tender heart

heart in the darkMany of us learn at an early age that intimacy, vulnerability and closeness can hurt, and it seems like the power to hurt is in everybody else’s hands. This might not even be true, but if this is how it feels, we will integrate it as the truth, and do what we can to protect ourselves.

We – consciously or unconsciously – start putting up walls, create intricate strategies to keep people at a safe distance and stay safe. They may not be the most effective or sophisticated ways of protection (they were created by a child, after all) but it’s the best you’ve got.

For a period of time, maybe until you move away from your parents or leave high school if that’s when the pattern started, these walls and strategies serve a purpose. The thing is that when the (real or perceived) danger is over, we tend to keep the walls up, because we aren’t even aware they are there.

The problem with protecting your heart from hurt is that you at the same time “protect” it from love, intimacy and closeness. This makes many of us end up as lonely adults with child made walls around our hearts that keep people from coming close. Even if we are unaware of it, the walls will keep doing their job, and you will wonder why your love life feels like a constant struggle.

Realizing what kind of protections you still have around your heart will make everything make much more sense, and then there is the work of putting the wall down. And yes, since you put them up you are the only one who can tear them down. Also, it is not up to someone else to come through, put down or jump over your walls (and if they did it would scare the crap out of you!). Your wall is your responsibility.

The process of seeing the wall, and start to change the strategies that keeps it is challenging, but also the most rewarding thing you can do. On the other side of your wall is LOVE. CONNECTION. FRIENDSHIP. RELATIONSHIPS. INTIMACY. JOY.

It is indeed a big change to not only stop doing the things that keep people at a distance but also start inviting people in, but it will be the most important change that you make, and I am here to guide you along the way.

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