Does a heart ever truly heal after being broken? Are you ever able to love the same way you did when you were experiencing it for the first time? It only takes one heartbreak for you to say- I never want to feel like this again. The protective wall has gone up and you’re never taking it down again. You find yourself searching for how to find love because you’ve structured your life to answer this question instead: how do I avoid pain?
What is this wall doing for you? Keeping you from harm? Stopping all the bad guys from getting in?
What else is it stopping from getting in?
HOW TO FIND LOVE BY TAKING DOWN YOUR PROTECTIVE WALL
THE WALL BLOCKS BOTH SIDES
Let’s say for example that your wall is working. It stops the bad guys, it stops you from getting hurt. The problem here is that the wall blocks both sides. It stops you from giving. It stops you from sharing your full self.
If you put your feelings and your heart on the other side of the wall, they are no longer protected. The wall only works if your feelings are safely kept on your side.
Saying “I love you” puts your heart on the other side.
Saying “I need you” puts your heart on the other side.
Can someone really love you if you’re not sharing your full self with them?
Keeping your heart on the safe side of the wall means that you are not being vulnerable. The definition of being vulnerable is that you are susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. This seems like a stupid position to put yourself in, but it is how humans truly connect with each other.
The great news is that you don’t have to take my word for it. Brene Brown is a University research professor and she spent countless of hours researching this topic so that you and I didn’t have to. Her TED Talk sums up a few things that she discovered:
- The point of human existence is connection with others
- Shame is the fear of disconnection with others. Shame is the opposite of vulnerabilty.
- Vulnerability is the act of showing our true selves to others.
- Connection is when our true selves are accepted by others
Do you see the step by step ladder that her research revealed?
In order to be happy, we need to connect with others. To connect with others, we must be accepted by them. In order to be accepted by them, we must reveal our true selves. This is why vulnerability is an essential step for how to find love and you can’t do it with that big fat wall up.
But how can you be vulnerable when you fear rejection?
LETTING GO OF FEAR
The reason why we feel shame and feel like we don’t want to take down our emotional wall is fear of rejection. Since the root of happiness is acceptance by others, the root of unhappiness is rejection.
This is why going through a break up is one of the most difficult emotional pain that a human can go through. It is rejection by someone to whom you revealed your whole true self.
Although this pain is unbearable, overcoming it and letting down your wall is essential for how to find love. Here are some steps for how to let go of fear.
UNDERSTAND THAT SHAME IS UNIVERSAL
Remember, shame is the fear of disconnection with others. This is what stops us from being vulnerable. Brene Brown mentioned in her Ted talk that shame is universal meaning that most humans feel shame. The only ones who don’t are the “people who don’t have the capactiy for human empathy or connection.” This includes people who have mental disabilities so severe they can’t feel love – so basically people in comas and serial killers.
So you’re telling me it’s hard to open up? It’s hard to let the wall down? Guess what…that’s because you’re a human.
I’m just here to remind you that the consequence of not doing it is putting your entire future in jeopardy and you’re choosing not to overcome a hurdle that literally every human faces. How many times do you let a little todller attempt to walk before you stop him and say “he’s falling down too much, I think I’ll just carry him” – that’s right never…
INSTEAD OF THE WALL, BUILD A FOUNDATION
An excellent way to overcome the fear of rejection is to build a solid foundation within yourself. Let’s imagine you have a house made of straw.
Your straw house is not very strong, so you build up a big wall around it so that nothing can get near it. The problem is that the first thing to get over the wall is going to take down the whole house. Not a good long-term strategy.
Instead, build a brick house so that you don’t even need a wall – you know you’re safe even though you’re fully exposing yourself to anything that might attack you.
LEARN TO TRUST
“The only way to know if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Ernest Hemmingway
The people who are deserving of your trust are the people who have it and don’t abuse it. There is not a single way of knowing if someone is going to abuse it unless you give them a chance. Trust is given and measured on an individual basis. If your mom breaks your trust, it doesn’t mean all moms are not trustworthy. If a man breaks your trust, it doesn’t mean all men are not trustworthy.
Generalizations don’t work well when we are dealing people, every situation is it’s own.
BELIEVE YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE
I came across an excellent quote one day that said “you teach others how to treat you.” If you are always really nice and never stand up for yourself, you’re opening the doors for people who might abuse you. If you act as though you are not worth of love, people won’t think you are and they will share their love with somebody else.
The first step that you can do to overcome this is to start believing that you are worthy of love. Treat yourself with love and kindness to get a feel for sharing love with others. This kills two birds with one stone: it builds your foundation in case you get hurt and it attracts other people who are loving and giving just like you are.
People mirror each other.
Have you ever noticed that when you raise your voice in a conversation, the other person immdiately starts talking louder? People mirror each other so the more open and sharing you are, the more open and sharing others will be with you.
TAKE THE WALL DOWN, BRICK BY BRICK
The last step I’m going to share with you is for anyone that has been so hurt or wounded, the thought of the wall coming down is absolutely terrifying. Now you know why you need to take the wall down, and you know a few ways how to take it down, but it’s still hard.
I know it is.
That’s why the whole wall doesn’t have to come down right away. Put yourself out there and enter new relationships know that the whole wall isn’t down yet, but you’re willing to slowly take it down when the right person comes along. There’s nothing wrong with getting your feet wet first and testing the waters before you dive in – in fact it’s probably very smart.