One of my most profound life lessons has been truly discovering what love is. I believe that every day the process of discovery in this area is never-ending. How does one know when they’ve experienced what it is like to love someone else and the world around them? Is it true what they say when they say we’re incapable of loving another living being until we’ve mastered the art of loving ourselves?
The truth is, love is one of the things that I believe defies description in this world. I’ve also learned that while the love we have for others may last always, it doesn’t always mean that the people we love are meant to be in our lives forever. Some people enter our lives for short a short period of time to be our mirrors. Some connections are merely points of reflection. Sometimes loving someone that causes us pain is the gateway to our healing, and that healing is what prepares us for who or what is meant for us. The tricky thing with love is, loving others can sometimes mean we get comfortable sacrificing parts of ourselves and compromising our sanity for the sake of the other person happiness.
When a relationship or friendship is unsuccessful, I always spend time asking myself “Did loving them hinder my self-love in any way?” Love can sometimes result in pain, resentment and a ton of other emotions. When loving others doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it to it causes us to close ourselves off to the possibility of letting new love in. It’s understandable to be cautious when developing new connections after a bad experience. For many of us, after a connection has failed we’re weary of letting love in. For most, connecting with amazing individuals after heartbreak seems ideal, but our fears and preconceived thoughts cause us to push back in resistance. Here are a few tips that helped me cultivate space in my heart to let love in after previously being hurt.
Practicing Healing Through the Act of Forgiveness
The easiest way to heal through any painful situation is to focus on forgiveness. One of the major lessons I learned when it comes to forgiveness is, sometimes forgiveness means there will never be any closure. Sometimes forgiveness means that you’ll never receive the apology that you hope to get. Forgiveness has everything to do with you and nothing to do with the other party. Forgiveness means releasing all things from the past to heal. To fully move forward and open your heart to new experiences forgiveness must occur. Forgiving yourself and others goes a long way.
Don’t Rush Moving Forward
The excitement of meeting someone new is like a rush. Meeting someone new is refreshing and feels free, but it’s always best to be sure that your heart is in the right place and you’re investing in people for all the right reasons. It’s also important to not rush your healing process. Allow yourself time to heal. Allow yourself time to feel whatever it is that you need to feel. Rushing your healing process or suppressing your true emotions only results in conflicting, confusing feelings. Be honest with yourself throughout the process. Don’t rush. Allow yourself to be.
Don’t Fear the Unknown
The easiest way to block new blessings is to live in fear. A lot of our fear stems from lack of self-esteem due to the disappointment from past situations. When we lack self-confidence, we lack the ability to fully trust ourselves when discerning who’s truly for us and who is not. I remember after going through a really devastating heartbreak about 4 years ago. During that time, I was very guarded. I was very much afraid to be open to new situations. I was very fearful of allowing myself to be vulnerable with someone and they later disappoint me. The problem with this was, I was hindering myself. I was allowing fear to control myself and make decisions for me. The healthiest way I conquered my fear was allowing myself to relax, let my guard down, but trusting myself to make great judgment when it came to my involvement with others. Discernment is your most vital component to connecting with others, but this requires you to trust yourself and the vibes that you get when dealing with certain individuals.
If you find yourself struggling to let go emotions from the past, try this challenge of answering the questions below when you feel you need to.
- What did your last partnership teach you about yourself, what you allow and how you set boundaries?
- What did your last partnership teach you when it comes to healthy connections with others?
- Do you feel you overcommitted or overextended yourself in your last partnership?
- Did this person show any signs that they weren’t ready for commitment? If so, why do you feel you ignored those signs?
- Knowing now what you did not know then, how would you approach that situation differently if you had the opportunity to?
- Do you feel like the past is affecting the present? If so, in what ways can you combat these feelings?