It wasn’t until I lost something, that I realized why I was so attached to it.
Rewind to years ago when I was in an unhealthy relationship. The kind that you try to leave a thousand times, and keep finding yourself back in the same place of “comfort.” I’m not talking about the kind of comfort you find by snuggling up on your couch in your slippers.
As adults, we are reflections of our “child selves.” We tend to take on the same patterns we were brought up knowing and understanding to be normal.
In my case, a normal relationship consisted of constant fighting ending in divorce. I spent my entire adolescence pushing away any guy that showed me the slightest bit of interest. My theory was, “Screw them before they can screw me.”
I went on into my early twenties with this same mind set. I was even coined the title “man eater” by my friends. Back then, I would laugh about it because God forbid anyone know that my hard exterior was all a facade.
In reality, I was lonely and terrified to feel.
This only caused more pain. I didn’t want to get hurt, which left me with no opportunity to love. “Sounds like a great way to live, right?*” *insert sarcasm here
It all happened faster than I had any time to digest it. He was the first guy who ever came close to my heart. This is where the fear came into play.
I never trusted him.
Why would a guy just want to be with me to because he loved me? He had to have an ulterior motive. Every time I tried to push him away, he stayed. He wouldn’t leave. We played a game of relationship tug of war. No one was winning, and we were both mentally exhausted. This went on for over a year.
It wasn’t until one day I woke up next to him feeling like a ton of bricks were on my chest, and I just said, “I am leaving,” and I did. It wasn’t exactly as easy as it sounds, but I think we had both gotten to a point of surrender.
Once I was settled into my new place, I received a package in the mail. Inside was the name platted necklace I had been asking for the entire time we were together. I threw away the note, and put it on immediately. It rested close to my heart.
Years came and went, and so did my relationships. It wasn’t until I woke up one morning to discover that my necklace was no where to be found. I felt a sense of panic, and I began on my search. I called a few places I had been the day before, turned my house upside down and even searched the lining of my purse; hoping I was having a “Carrie Bradshaw” moment—for all of my non Sex and the City fan readers, she finds her “Carrie” necklace inside of her purse lining.
And then it hit me. When I wore my necklace, I felt safe.
I had been wearing this necklace as a barrier to protect my heart from breaking. My necklace is gone and I’m not going to lie, I still find myself looking under a rug or behind the couch every now and again in hopes that it will magically appear. It’s in those times that I am reminded why I don’t need to keep protecting my heart.
I’ve come a long way. This change does not happen over night, but each day that goes by I find myself opening up to new possibilities. Not just in relationships, but in all aspects of my life. The more I do this, the more opportunities start to fall into place.
We can’t always protect our hearts from breaking, and that is a good thing. It is in our brokenness that we can truly come alive. The more vulnerable we are, the more we can feel.
I will no longer let my “child self” drive my car on this journey we call life. I am in control.
Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?
Assistant Editor: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant journal archives