Locked Away

8 Feb

When things go wrong in our lives, and we get hurt, it’s sometimes hard to see past the pain. We may become cautious going forward, fearful of what could happen. Things can always go wrong, but they can go right too. If we’ve been hurt and are afraid we may forget that. Sometimes after a big disappointment we might determine in order to be safe from additional pain, to lock ourselves away. It seems reasonable that if we don’t allow people to get close to us, they can’t hurt us, and we can protect ourselves going forward. The problem with that thinking is our greatest pleasures in this life come from the close relationships we build with others. If we lock ourselves away, we might prevent getting hurt, but we’ll also prevent getting close. In the big overall scheme of things, that’s a huge price to pay for emotional safety. Is it worth it? Only we can answer that, but it seems the price is greater than the reward it offers. There is no doubt that getting hurt is painful, but living a life on the periphery, unable to connect to others is a superficial existence. If we want a deep, rich, experience here, we have to be willing to get close to others, and face the possibility of getting hurt.

There are no guarantees in this life. We can try our best to know those close to us, and understand them, but people don’t always show us everything. Sometimes we may be fooled by someone who has an agenda, or wants to keep secrets. Other times we may be hurt by someone close to us because they don’t tell us the whole story. People are complex and sometimes they aren’t as forthcoming as we would like. Anytime we open our lives, or our hearts to someone else, there is some level of risk. If we’ve taken the time to know them well, that risk may be minimized, but if they are adept at hiding facets of their personality, we may still be surprised. We all have personal choices to make. We can’t control anyone but ourselves and if someone close to us chooses to, they may hurt us. We are strong enough to accept that and still choose to build close relationships.

Having courage to move forward and trust others after a difficult and hurtful experience may take time. We don’t always want to jump back into the pool after finding a shark there. We can take all the time we need to heal, and there is no rush. But if we really want to move forward, we can’t close the door and lock it. We need to leave it open, even if only just a tiny bit. If we are brave enough to think about the possibility of new relationships, we will be open when they arrive. Being open takes courage, especially after a bad experience, but it’s the only real way we can move forward and grow. If we shut ourselves off we will be stuck where the damage was done, and being stuck doesn’t allow us to grow. It might seem wise and safe at the beginning, but it will not bring us happiness in the long run. Just because one person deeply hurt us doesn’t mean everyone will. We can be cautious, and careful, and still let others in, and in time can learn to trust again.

Today if you’ve been hurt badly and don’t want to risk opening up going forward, remember there is no guarantee that the next relationship you build will hurt you. Every relationship is different. Some relationships are wonderful and a great benefit to our lives. It’s not worth missing out on those because of one bad experience. You have a lot to offer and are worth every happiness. Trust yourself. There is a lot of good in the world. And a lot of it is waiting for you.

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