Our family was invited to a party this summer. I didn’t want to go. Someone in the family hurt my feelings. It definitely wasn’t malicious or even intentional. They probably don’t even know. I’m not angry. My heart simply feels sad and a bit protected around this person. It’s happened more than once over the many years, but somehow I’d end up back in the relationship and something would happen again.
Several years ago, my son was playing at a boy’s house he didn’t know very well. The boy made a comment that hurt his feelings and after all these years, he still hasn’t returned to play.
My daughter came home crying from school one day because a girl in her class told her that she wasn’t invited to her birthday party.
And even my husband, who has a tendency to not get hooked by these things, came home from work befuddled about a co-worker who continues to lie to him.
None of these examples have stopped us from living or carrying on in relationships, but they’ve touched a tender spot in each of us.
“How do we care for our tender hearts?”
These situations got me thinking. Four people with different temperaments, personalities, ages and perspectives all carry a little hurt in some small corner of their heart.
When we carry unresolved hurt or pain, it becomes the protective shield around our heart and keeps us disconnected from others. The shield keeps the heart closed to its essential qualities that are warm, soft, gentle and loving.
So how do we open our hearts when it’s easier to keep a shield or stance that “they” hurt me?
I’ve been reflecting on this situation for weeks. I made a list as a way to soften and come back to my heart.
1. Give the person the benefit of the doubt.
2. Put yourself in their shoes.
3. Don’t take it personally.
4. Talk to the other person.
5. Choose to relate to the problem differently.
6. Ask what life lessons I can learn from this situation.
I came to this understanding. No matter what your age, we get hurt in life.
What would happen if we held the hurt and trusted that the heart will re-open spontaneously and soften?
When we turn away from feelings of hurt, sensitivity and sadness they become the scars around our heart. The turning away rejects the vulnerable side of the heart, which longs to be open, loving, warm and connected. The scars unintentionally become a hardened place we live from and relate to other people.
So I ask you to take some time over the week and pause in the place where you may have been hurt and ask what it needs to soften the protection. What does your list look like?
The heart always wants itself back.