There’s this one thing that is in my way from opening up fully, to both others and the beauties of life itself. A feeling of a closed heart. Where I’ve built some thin walls around. Walls that were desperately trying to protect my heart from any more pain. The walls were thin because I’ve never built walls around my heart before. I’ve always been sensitive and soft, especially as a man in today’s world. But after a recent breakup my heart was closed off from life’s beauties, and I didn’t feel like myself. I lost touch with the vulnerable, sensitive, and caring person I’ve always been. And I feel that I am not the only one struggling with a closed heart, a heart that’s in pain and needs healing. That’s why I wanted to share this with you, my journey through mending my heart.
I’ve always been a sensitive man, and highly open and vulnerable. In my first year of high school, I was still unaware of how harsh and cruel other boys could be. I’ve been taught to be open and loving by my parents and to always express my feelings. That’s what I did in high school as well. I opened up, within three weeks, to a girl that I loved. I told her I loved her, unknowing of the harshness that many men and women have been taught in their youth. She together with many other girls and boys in my class abused my decision to be open a loving with her. They bullied me for it, laughed at me openly in class, and made sure to call me weak.
They decided to make me feel like a little boy. Rubbing my head, squeezing my cheeks, joking around about me. And the girl? I still loved her, that didn’t change. I knew she was the one who started it, but I couldn’t blame her. At that age, I already knew who was stronger in this situation. I deeply felt that I was the one that wasn’t afraid to share its pain. I wasn’t afraid to show my vulnerability and pain. I blushed in front of the entire class, I cried when they rubbed my head or squeezed my cheeks, but made sure to never harm them. I was furious, I was angry but never raised a finger to them. I just closed off and tried to heal what was broken. Which was my heart.
I wasn’t into any mindfulness, or spirituality at that time. All I knew is that my heart hurt from the pain that had been caused by the girl I loved and the boys who bullied me. Yet my dad and I have never shied away from tears, from being open and vulnerable with each other by showing our weaknesses at that point.
This experience was the very first time I closed my heart for a few years. I didn’t know it was gonna be years, but after that first broken heart, many followed. My uncle passed away, my grandma passed away, and I was rejected by two girls in the following years by openly sharing with me that they had been seeing another boy whilst dating me. They just wanted to try dating me, and it made me feel used. All these things started to add up and close my heart further and further. It was here that I lost touch with my vulnerable and sensitive side. The one who is me, the one who is loving and kind, and cares deeply about others. Who is open and listens attentively.
It was not before I met another girl, with whom I developed an amazing friendship, that I started to open my heart again. She just lost her mother and I was the only one not scared of death anymore after losing my uncle and grandma. So we spend a lot of time together talking about death. About her mother, about life, and we also laughed a lot together. We became really close and in those years I mended my heart, unconsciously. Opening up to her and that’s when I felt totally alive again. It’s an experience that remained there for a few years, in which I fully felt alive, I fully felt me, because I was open and vulnerable with everyone. I listened to everyone and was compassionate in a pure way. At that time I met another girl, with whom I fell in love. Our love was strong, but over time I unconsciously started to close my heart. Not because of her, but because of everything else going on in life. The stress and discontentment with life caused my heart to close a second time.
Then just a few months ago my most recent love and I broke up. Completely shattering my heart. And it is here where the journey to healing my heart began again. All these years I’ve been breaking and healing my heart, but never consciously. But this time I wanted to know how to remain open, loving, and kind. Even after heartbreaks and pain. To open my heart consciously, knowing how to do it again if it would ever close again.
Part One: Mending Old Aches
I didn’t just share with you the story of my teenage years for no reason other than to tell a story. We often believe that mending our hearts after a breakup or a loss has everything to do with our most recent heartbreak or loss. Yet it’s not just that. For me, it also was mending the pains that were caused during my past. When I was a teenager, going through all these harsh experiences of love, has caused a lot of pain to my heart. At that time I was unconscious of the change and the growth I was going through. Often leaving things unhealed, and unloved. It’s the very reason why I feel that my relationship with my past love partly ended. I was slowly closing my heart to her because the further we go into a relationship with someone, the deeper the pains and sometimes traumas get.
It’s therefore why I feel that it’s so important to look at all your heartbreaks, all your suffering, and the pain that has to do with loving relationships. For me that all started with my first real experience of love. With this girl in high school. At that point, my heart was fully open and loving, but telling this girl I loved her even though I barely knew her, wasn’t the best of things to do. It shattered my heart because she decided to use what I said to her to become popular. I can not blame her for that. We are young and unconscious of our actions. But it was this experience that made it hard for me to connect with girls, lovingly and openly. I’ve always remained scared that they would use it against me.
Part Two: How To Mend Your Heart
That first love taught me the first lesson of mending my heart and opening it. Being vulnerable is a strength This lesson is especially rough for guys, I feel. Because guys are still taught to be strong and take care of their families. When in truth most of our dads are just as much a broken boy like we are. They have traumas and pains as we do. They can cry, they love, they are happy, they are sad, they are human like we are. My dad never wanted me to toughen up, and I am incredibly grateful for that. He, to me, is a true man, because he often opened up to me, however hard this could be for him. He was the first one to teach me that being vulnerable is a strength. That it is okay to cry as a man and to feel pain. He never asked me to toughen up and be a man. Which I feel is the biggest mistake a father can make to teach his boy or girl. We need more loving and caring men, and women. Which requires us to be vulnerable. So how do we embrace this vulnerability?
I’ve learned through my own experience that being vulnerable means we share our feelings, and do so in a loving way. We don’t push away or hide something we feel. If we are sad, we allow ourselves to be sad, where ever we are. This is something I’ve learned from a very good girlfriend of mine. Who wasn’t afraid to cry whenever she had to. Yes, she sometimes felt guilty or ashamed, but she never stopped her tears from flowing. If we feel something it is at that moment that we need to feel them. Allow them to pour out and express themselves. Remember to do so in a loving way. Anger and hatred can come up at any moment as well, we should share these and express these. But not in a harmful way, that’s not what vulnerability is. It’s by saying “I am angry with you, so give me some time to cool down.” That we can be vulnerable with our anger. Because this is a way of sharing how we feel without hurting another, and that is scary and confronting.
The second lesson I learned on mending my heart is to open up to your sensitive side by being kind, compassionate, and attentive. This is something I learned through one of the most incredible friendships I’ve experienced in my life. It was with the girl who just lost her mom that I learned to embrace my sensitive side for the very first time. It felt natural to me, and I now realize that this is actually what I needed to heal and mend my heart right now. To be kind again to others, to be compassionate for the pain of others, and to listen attentively. These are three things that I think make you embrace your sensitive side. It’s funny to me that both vulnerability and sensitivity require us to be soft, and open, and loving, instead of rigid, strong, and harsh. This is opposite from what people see as a strength because strength is often seen as a macho man or woman who seems to be cool and ignorant all the time. It’s the “hard to get” type of people that are on the opposite side of sensitive people. But it is the sensitive people that are truly the strong ones. Especially now that I am learning to embrace my sensitivity in such a way that I am not scared of what others think anymore.
I encourage you to embrace your sensitive side, your feminine side, even for the guys reading this. It sounds weird I know, it sounds weak, but trust me being sensitive doesn’t mean you cry about everything. It means you are compassionate, kind, loving, and attentive. That you listen to others, truly listen, not just hear what they are saying but also feel what they are feeling whilst saying it. By being sensitive you become more in touch with your own emotions, and the way you feel. Which is closely related to your heart, in which all your emotions can be felt.
The third rule has to do everything with this last line. To embrace your emotions, by getting in touch with them. And this is something I feel a lot of human beings have been ignoring, including myself. This is because we put more and more emphasis on doing, on working, and productivity, on time management, on results and statistics, even when these things cause us to lose contact with our emotions. We see this through broken relationships, burnouts, stress, anxiety, depression, and suicides. All extremely harsh topics, that are all caused by losing touch with our deepest feelings. We push them away, to achieve something. That’s really what happens when we burn out or feel depressed, or anxious. We push away feelings that we think we don’t need to feel right now. And I did so too. When I first met the last love of mine, I was in a situation in which I wasn’t comfortable. I loved my relationship with her, but everything outside her was awful. I didn’t like school, my relationship with my parents was awful, I wasn’t doing something I loved, and wasn’t taking care of my body. It’s in this period that I lost touch with my emotions and feelings in order to ‘survive’ and push through. I closed off from feeling anxious, angry, and dull about not doing what I love simply because I had to go on. It was all about the results at that time, losing contact with the being part, with the being alive part of myself. This feeling of being alive I have only experienced once during my life thus far. And that was in the second year of college, not because of college but because I was fully open to my emotions. I allowed myself to feel stressed, anxious, sad, hurt, tired, but also excited, cheerful, silly, playful, and happy. By allowing myself to feel these emotions at any time, anywhere in any place I was allowing life to flow as it pleased. That is the biggest healer of a broken heart. Why?
Because by allowing our emotions to flow through us, to allow life to flow through us as it pleases it can heal the cracks in our broken heart. At first, sadness, anger, pain, or anxiety will dominate. See it like this, A broken heart is like a vase that’s cracked, not completely broken, but cracked. The cracks allow the pain, the suffering, the sadness, the fear, and anxiety to leave, to flow through it. If we allow these things to flow out of our hearts, if we allow ourselves to feel these things, our hearts will be emptied of the painful emotions, and that will allow the joyful emotions to start coming in again. Feelings like love, joy, cheerfulness, playfulness, excitement, all come into our hearts and slowly they heal the cracks of our hearts. Mending it, and making it whole again. It is only if we first allow the painful emotions to flow out of our hearts that we can heal our hearts without constantly feeling discontented. Because if we heal our hearts without first allowing all the painful emotions to flow through, these emotions will stay stuck in our hearts to the moment it is fixed. Leaving you with a constant feeling of discontentment, until another heartbreak occurs and the painful emotions can hopefully flow out of your heart again.
Allow the painful emotions to flow out of your heart before you start healing it. How? By embracing all your emotions and feeling them the moment they come up. There isn’t anything more to do. Then to feel sad, or to feel angry, or to feel impatient. We need not recite affirmations, or change our mindsets, or implement new habits. These are all things that happen naturally if we simply start feeling our emotions.
Part Three: The Wonderful Life That Awaits You
These are the three lessons I learned about mending my heart. About healing and about opening my heart again. The heart is our center of love and being alive. It’s the place in which we start to experience a deep sense of connection, and joy throughout our lives. And by closing it we shut ourselves out from this lovely experience of life. Heartbreaks are rough, in whatever form they appear in your life. But let those heartbreaks serve as an inspiration and a reminder to always remain alive with an open heart. I know this is rough. It’s rough to have a loving and open heart for those who hurt us, but to be honest with you it’s the only real way forward. It’s the only loving and joyful way forward. I even feel that by closing our hearts to others, even if it is just one person, we start to become bitter in some parts of our lives.
I feel that my heart is opening again. That the walls are breaking down, by reminding myself of these three lessons. To be vulnerable, sensitive, and stay in touch with my emotions. I want you to do the same, and I want you to feel alive as well. Keep expressing how you feel, keep being kind and compassionate and attentive to others and the world, and remain in touch with your emotions. Allow them to flow freely, without blocking them. Why?
Because the beauty of the world shows to the ones with an open heart. It’s the ones with an open heart that can love the smallest of plants, that can love the deepest, that can take care of themselves, that give more than they take, and that love their experience of life. If there is anything I would love for you to do is to take the time and to get in touch with your heart. Literally. Place your hand on your chest and feel it. Place your attention on your heart in your chest. What do you feel? Is it beating fast or slow? Is it stressed, or peaceful? Does it feel open or closed? Excited or dull? Loving or hateful? Kind or harsh?
The heart is our center of being alive. Embrace that, and you will never experience a day in which you will not be able to say, Today I Lived. I made the most of it.
Thank you dear reader. Have a lovely day.