We are obsessed with protecting our hearts.
It seems like every second conversation we have is focused not around what we want out of life or love, but around what we don’t want.
I don’t want my heart to break. I don’t want to get hurt again. I don’t want to try and then fail. I don’t want to be left out in the cold.
We go to drastic, unbelievable measures to keep our walls up and keep the possibility of disappointment out. We believe that this protects us. We believe that we are playing it safe.
But here’s what we never talk about: The extent to which we’re limiting and bullying ourselves by doing this. Every time we agree to keep ourselves guarded, we’re telling ourselves, ‘You don’t deserve to be happy. You don’t deserve to be happy because I don’t want to deal with the fall-out.’
And the truth is, you owe yourself so much more than that.
You owe it to yourself to try: For that person, for that opportunity, for that chance that could turn it all around. You owe it to yourself to pursue what you want with a passion so relentless and unyielding that it could absolutely drive you to ruin. You owe yourself that temporary madness. You owe yourself that one shot at it all.
How many times did you fail? How many times did you screw up? How many times did you go out on a limb to find absolutely no fruit, only to have the branch snap underneath your own weight?
Because I’m inclined to believe that the answer is time after time after time. I’m inclined to believe that all the great successes of the world are just high-scale, professional failures. They’re the losers who wouldn’t stop playing. They’re the has-beens who kept hacking away. They’re the heartbroken who knew that their lives and their journeys and their passions were worth more than the pain that they endured along the way.
And that’s the thing we all loathe to admit: That to get to that place where we’re liberated and thriving and free, we first have to pass through that place where we’re heartbroken and hopeless and alone. We can’t just see that pain looming in the distance and set up camp where we are, refusing to move a step further. That’s a great way to keep ourselves safe. But it’s a method that detriments all growth.
Because the thing is, if you’re living your life right, your heart is going to break all the time. It’s going to break when you don’t get the job that you want. It’s going to break when the person you love loves someone else. It’s going to take a thousand beatings and splinters and cracks along the way to wherever you’re going, and it should. Because each crack and splinter opens it up a little more. Every fracture makes you that much more receptive to the joy and the passion and the fullness that is coming.
Because those things are coming. If you are living with a wide-open heart, there is absolutely no way to keep joy out. That’s just one of those wonderful consequences of allowing yourself to be completely alive.
But before you can get there, there is one undeniable hurtle that you have to overcome and that hurtle is the fear of your heart breaking.
If you’re living your life right, it’s going to.
It’s going to break and mend and twist and expand and heal, more times than you can possibly imagine over the course of a lifetime lived well.
But it’s never going to break irreparably.
And once you can finally realize that, you’re free.