As you go through the various stages of life, you will encounter things that will make you want to shove your feelings into a box and burn them. You convince yourself that if you’re going to feel like the world has turned its back against you, you might as well turn your back against it. This is your survival mechanism – your coping technique, your daily mantra. After all, feelings of numbness are easier to deal with than feelings of shattered expectations and seemingly unjust pain.
Maybe things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to. Maybe your morning coffee was a little too hot, or your shower was a little too cold. Maybe your car was running a little too fast, or the line at the grocery was moving a little too slow. Maybe you received some harsh words that are still engraved at the back of your mind. Maybe you poured your heart out to someone you thought you trusted, only to be responded to in an apathetic manner. Whatever it is, you don’t want to feel it nor do you want to acknowledge that the pain is there and that it exists.
As a result, you push it all away. You do whatever you can to convince yourself that it isn’t there. You tell people that you’re fine, don’t worry about me, I didn’t care about it that much anyway. An occasional bitter comment slips off your tongue, and you shake your head at people who wear their hearts on their sleeves. You turn a blind eye, harden your heart, and scold yourself for being emotional and irrational. And with this, a piece of your vulnerability deteriorates, and you close yourself off.
While it becomes a temporary convenience to build a barrier around yourself to keep all unpleasant things at bay, there also a certain tragedy to it. Maybe you’ll never be rained on or struck by lightning at the wrong time, but the sun will never shine itself on your direction either. Maybe you’ll never lose sleep, but you’ll never know how the stars will look like hours before they disappear. Maybe you’ll never know what it’s like to drift apart, but you’ll never experience the exhilaration of getting to know someone in the first place.
In the midst of all your troubles, allow yourself to still believe that the world can be a beautiful place. Allow yourself to be better than what hurt you – to express yourself in a raw, yet enthralling way.
The moment you decide to set your heart to stone, you not only shield yourself from the bullets fired your way, but you also cease to witness the flowers that bloom on the other side.
You may think for a while that avoiding something that will inevitably break you is what constitutes strength, but the reality is that rebuilding yourself from what broke you is the toughest thing anybody can do.
So be open. Be vulnerable. Let people in. Immerse yourself in feelings – good or bad. Allow yourself to feel bad about the things that don’t work out, accept that these things happen, and focus on moving forward.
By taking control over your circumstances rather than running from them, you are ultimately setting yourself free from the fear of pain all while exposing yourself to what has yet to come. When a good thing comes running your way, you’ll just be glad that you left the door open.