I recently discovered something about myself that shocked me to the core.
I used to think that I was receptive to love and that my heart was open, vulnerable, and unafraid.
I used to believe that if love wasn’t being reciprocated, it must be the fault of the other person because I believed that my heart had the ability to love, fully.
I was wrong. Love wasn’t something I was open to at all.
I came to the realization that I could send out boundless waves of unconditional love, but I found myself almost entirely incapable of accepting love at the same depth from anyone else.
I was afraid.
At first, I struggled to come to terms with the truth, and it took a lot of introspection to finally realize why I had unconsciously shut off my heart.
Eventually, I was able to remove the barrier that prevented me from fully expressing my emotions.
Upon deeper exploration, I realized that my level of fear extended far beyond mere wariness, but rather, I was truly petrified. At some point in the past, I had come to feel unworthy of receiving unconditional love, leading me to doubt and mistrust anyone who tried to love me. I was confident that the affection I was offering was genuine, and yet, although people had attempted to show love, I remained skeptical and lacked belief in their affection.
In order to fully embrace love, it is necessary not only to express love but also to be open to receiving it.
Reflecting on my past, I weighed the pain that I had experienced. Although I have had my fair share of struggles, I had never experienced the pain of a truly shattered heart. Despite enduring chaos and unhealthy relationships, I never completely surrendered to love because a voice within me urged me to guard my heart and not fully embrace it.
In time, I came to the realization that my lack of trust wasn’t directed towards love, but towards individuals.
Although I had heard those three words muttered repeatedly, the person’s actions never truly aligned with their words. I started to realize that I had put my self-worth in the hands of others that also didn’t have the capacity to openly and unconditionally give and receive love. At that point in my life, I selected relationships with individuals who reflected back to me that love was not something I deserved.
To avoid the disappointment and potential hurt, I put up emotional barriers and kept myself at a distance.
Upon reflection, I realized that my previous romantic relationships were always dependent on certain conditions. Affection was only given to me if their emotional, mental, or physical needs were being fulfilled.
If I did anything that let them down, they withdrew their loving actions and instead resorted to hurtful and destructive ones. Not only did this experience leave me feeling unsure of what it truly means to be loved, but it also made me incredibly cautious of opening myself up to it again.
It is difficult to make sense of love when someone professes their love to you with one hand and then heartlessly retracts it with the other.
Upon deeper exploration of my past, I discovered that this pattern had repeated itself in all my romantic relationships. After my first significant relationship, where I was deeply hurt, it seemed like the Law of Attraction was working strongly.
Unbeknownst to me, my beliefs of inadequacy were still prevalent and as a result, I attracted individuals who aligned with the belief that I wasn’t worthy of love.
I had to come to terms with the fact that I had closed myself off to deep emotional connection.
At that time, the difficult part was figuring out the reason behind it and finding a way to overcome it. Accepting the truth was not going to be easy, but I delved deep into my subconscious and heart, only to realize that my reluctance to embrace love stemmed from my inability to move on from the past. Although I had released any emotional attachment to my past, I realized that I still held anger and unforgiveness towards myself and those who caused me pain.
The reason love was eluding me was because I continuously over-analyzed every person’s attempt to love me. I thought that they would turn out identical to the ones who had caused me pain previously. As a result, I aligned energetically with individuals who felt familiar to my past, as there was a sense of comfort in being involved with someone who was emotionally unavailable. There is a strange feeling of security in repeating the past, even if it is painful.
I was prepared for the lack of trustworthiness in their love, so there were no unexpected shocks or surprises in store. Therefore, I believed there was no risk, I had nothing to lose.
Realizing that the individuals I had developed feelings for were emotionally inaccessible in one way or another and understanding that I was also emotionally unavailable wasn’t an easy pill to swallow.
For a considerable amount of time, I was surrounded by individuals who were content with receiving love, yet reluctant to reciprocate it. In contrast, I found myself eager to distribute love, yet hesitant to accept it. Although it may seem like an ideal pairing, the reality of actually living it out can be traumatic.
It was not an easy task to heal myself and allow love into my life.
My first steps to healing were through using regular affirmations, to install new thoughts and beliefs.
“I forgive you for causing me pain.”
“I forgive myself for letting you cause me pain.”
“I forgive myself for hurting you.”
“I am worthy and capable of giving and receiving love.”
I repeated these words to myself over and over again until I finally started to believe in them. By devoting long hours to meditation, I revisited my past memories in a gentle manner. During this process, I substituted any negative emotions such as pain, fear, and misunderstandings with positive emotions such as empathy, compassion, and love.
Instead of perceiving the individual who mistreated me as unfeeling and cruel, I began to view them with compassion and acknowledge that their actions did not define my identity.
I have come to understand that any individual who resorts to deceit, abuse, control, or similar harmful traits is solely responsible for their actions, rather than the person they are in a romantic relationship with.
I questioned why I had believed for so long that my experiences were a result of me being unworthy of love. I felt a strong need to begin anew, to relive and reconcile with the past, and approach the future with optimism and trust, rather than doubt and fear.
I needed a considerable amount of time to process all of this, and even now, I am still in the process of learning how to accept love wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, I won’t allow the wounds from my history to dictate how much affection I am capable of receiving in the present.
Accepting the existence of emotional barriers surrounding the heart is the most important step to breaking them down.
I chose to overcome my initial tendency to shut down and question my self-worth, opting instead to welcome any expressions of love, regardless of their duration. Now I let go of foolish pride and let the person I’m with know that I still get scared when it comes to receiving love. I ask for their patience and understanding while I learn to love again.
Although it requires courage and openness, those who truly care about us will embrace our fears and show compassion and care.
Rumi suggests that instead of actively searching for love, our focus should be on identifying and breaking down the self-imposed obstacles we have constructed that prevent love from entering our lives.