All your relationships, good and bad, past and present, teach you valuable lessons. The bad teach you what love isn’t and the good teach you what love is. It’s vital to learn the difference between the two. Real love doesn’t hurt.
We all too often think that we should protect ourselves from the possibility of getting hurt. Most of us have been hurt in the past and a common reaction to the pain of being hurt by someone else is to close off our hearts.
We mistakenly think that closing our hearts and guarding our feelings protect us from further pain. We mistakenly think it strengthens us and gives us control over what happens to us.
The problem is the opposite happens.
When you close your heart, you close yourself off not only from the world, but also from yourself. A closed heart can leave life devoid of joy, love and compassion, and possibilities. It becomes a fearful heart. It actually attracts negative situations and people, it does not avert them.
There are, of course, certain people (and situations) you should protect yourself from, but not everyone you meet. A closed heart takes a lot of (negative) energy to maintain. It’s draining. You’re constantly on guard waiting trouble, waiting for someone to try to step on your toes. Your life becomes dictated by painful past events to the detriment of your present moments.
Plus a closed heart means you treat yourself with less love, trust and compassion too. You end up being incredibly hard on yourself.
A closed heart has also soaked up the bad energy from the memories you replay over and over about the betrayal or rejection or pain inflicted upon you. You literally lock that pain inside your heart, thinking you are protecting yourself when really you are hurting yourself.
The only way to solve that problem – and let go of your pain – is to open your heart.
Do you sometimes or often feel like a victim in your life? Well, you if you do, you are certainly not alone.
Feeling like a victim is all to do with our state of mind – our mentality. We think of ourselves as victims, and our thoughts become our feelings and our actions.
When you have a victim mentality you feel as though you cannot succeed no matter how hard you try and that everything and everyone is against you. Feeling like this can be very frustrating as it keeps you stuck.
You feel trapped and helpless and believe you have no control over your life. Your thinking patterns are likely to be negative and very pessimistic. There is also a strong chance that self-pity and sadness are familiar features of your life.
Believe it or not, having a victim mindset is attractive to some people because they believe it holds several benefits, such as:
Whenever I visit family and friends in the UK, I like to do a digital detox. No internet, no social media, no emails. Bliss.
I’ve found it so beneficial that I often have a mini detox most weekends too.
My detoxes always make me realise that our digital devices can be a tad too intrusive in our lives. Sure, they can help us reach out to a massive amount of people and open up worlds of information, but they also eat into a lot of time as well. Hours can be lost on Facebook or Twitter if we’re not careful.
I know that social media helps us to connect with people, but it can also severely affect our day-to-day connection with the people closest to us.
How often have you seen people sitting at a restaurant table together or in a bar completely focused on checking their phones rather than talking to one another? How many couples feel ignored because their partners are engrossed in something on their iPad or laptop? How many of your friends on Facebook are actual friends? Probably less than half? Maybe not even that many?
Isn’t it all a bit, well, crazy?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the internet. I love being able to easily keep in touch with my friends in other countries. I love how it helps me do my job. It offers a wealth of knowledge and information. But most technology has a down side and in the case of social media, there’s a dark side too.
There’s seems to be an enduring romantic notion that good relationships just happen and you don’t need to work at them.
That love alone should be enough to make things work. That a good relationship should be effortless and any signs of trouble mean the relationship isn’t worth saving because it’s not “right” and so the only option is to end it and search for the truly perfect relationship.
Most of us know deep down the notion of perfection is wrong, and that all relationships need nurturing. We know there is no perfect relationship because we are not perfect. Even couples who consider themselves ‘soul mates’ need to work at it.
We’re different to our partner in many ways, we have different views. We can’t read their minds (thank goodness), we all carry around a lot of emotional baggage, and have hang ups and faults…