I have been discussing the difficulty of connecting with others and developing lasting, trusting relationships while also living with an armored heart. It is difficult, to say the least, if that what you are trying to do.
I understand the desire to fully protect those tender parts within. Feeling that, “I will wait til Im sure I can trust you/him/her” and then when Im sure its safe, I will engage in caring for others or will allow myself to be cared for by others. The problem is that our hearts dont really work that way. I havent found that there is a selective sorting and sifting process that allows only good, pleasant feelings and mutes out the negative, unpleasant ones(Im not even going to get into the judgement of good and bad feelings now since they all come and go like New England weather). However, it is still a desire that many of us want; to feel the good and avoid the bad. Addiction (shopping, drugs, alcohol, sex, food, etc) feeds this desire quite well, telling us that it will work for us if we never leave the comforts of the addiction itself. This can have its own, particular disastrous results.
An important issue is that we have been emotionally hurt in our lives. As such, we have developed efficient and protective coverings/walls/armor to keep these tender loving hearts safe from hurts from the outside because we didnt have the skills or supports to manage/express those hurts on our own. These protective strategies have served us well, and for many is the reason that we are alive today. Literally. I do not minimize this feat and celebrate it with all who are here to read this. But…there may be a time (now…later…) when this protection is doing more to keep you away from those that you longingly wish to connect with than is actually needing to keep you safe now. The circumstances which brought the need for this emotional distance and safety were certainly important, but is it the reality that you are in now? Is it possible that you could look at your current situation and current needs with fresh eyes and assess if the wall really needs to be so thick or so high? Does that armor need to be soo thick, all encompassing and heavy? It is serving you or are you serving it, working so hard to keep it going that you cannot truly connect with those you love or want to love? Is there even a notion of love and connection that you feel is possible, not from others but originating from within? Can you even tell what or if you feel, at all?
This is the cost of war. After being so skilled at keeping our innermost secrets and vulnerable parts safe, we may have forgotten how to see if the coast is clear? In protecting those hurts so effectively we might have forgotten that life is happening and we might be missing that which is the most important and needed thing to us. Has our internal world become a police state? With complete protection on one hand, but with a complete absence of the juiciness of life?
And this is not to say that by opening our hearts that it will not break on occasion. That a measure of our joys will not be matched by a measure of sorrow. Though who is to say what is good or bad in this. It is truly like the weather. It is always happening. Can we accept it and be with it, seeing its beauty and possibilities even when our best laid plans are disrupted? Now, like the weather, feelings can be extreme and bring massive destruction and upheaval as well as surprising harmony and connection. But let the testament of our lives not to be in the numbing that sometimes follows, but in the bonding and community of humans as we let each other know that yes, it happened and yes, we are still here to hold each other up, bear witness, bear the grief and still find joy in the delicate, tenderness of Life. In the chance that we will experience the rainbow AND the storm. This is the cost of freedom.