We can find thousands of articles online telling us how to deal with the pain of life. Archives documenting the right steps to take to heal after suffering, grief, betrayal, heartache and devastation are just a click away. We can find how-to guides on rebuilding by focusing on loving ourselves, empowering ourselves again, regaining our courage, our ability to accept love again. We keep clicking and reading because whatever has happened to us has hardened and hollowed our hearts and we want to find the reverse button.
We are so focused on surviving the next days of pain and grief that we don’t stop to think about when the healing is over. We never talk about the phase after healing, when someone walks into our lives and finds us not in pieces anymore and wants to love us. We never hear about how terrifying vulnerability is after the labor it takes to reconstruct a shattered soul.
We have to learn to love again, with an open and brave heart.
Learning this is a process. Melting the ice that covers our heart after heartache takes unparalleled courage.
We are at the point in healing where we have taken the damaged parts off of ourselves, like Christmas ornaments unhooking from a pine tree, we’ve let them go. We emerge new and somehow, love has walked into our lives again.
But what do we do now?
After healing it’s vital that we live life with an open heart again despite the fact that living that way and getting burned is how we end up in these inevitable phases of life in the first place. There’s not one person out there who hasn’t been trusting and loving to the wrong person. Who hasn’t paid the very high price of that. The betrayal, the hurt, and the heartbreak that sets us back with nothing besides our bare bones.
For especially traumatic experiences people close up. We build a concrete wall around our hearts and refuse to let anyone in. We sometimes even hurt others, because that way we can’t be hurt first. We don’t trust, we question everything and believe nothing.
But we can’t start a new chapter of our lives like this. It’s not fair to all the work we put into our souls after painful experiences like divorce or loss. It’s not fair to the new versions of ourselves that emerge after healing our hearts and finding all that happiness that everyone said was just around the bend. It’s not fair to the person out there waiting on the other side of all this, waiting to wrap you in love.
We have to allow our hearts to be open after heartbreak because what’s the alternative? You’ve suffered, you’ve persevered, you’ve sat in the emotional shit of starting a new chapter of your life all so you can be hard and guarded? To be too terrified to care about anyone again?
That’s no way to live. Out of all the difficult things we go through in life, no one really talks about the bravery required to open our hearts to people, after we’ve been hurt by those we loved.
Leading with an open heart is the truest act of bravery your soul can embark on.
Brave is not knowing if someone is feeling the way we are but telling them we’re all in anyways.
Brave is letting the door to our heart remain open even when someone’s run inside and fucked everything up.
Brave is knowing this might really hurt one day but realizing it might also be a beautiful gift.
Brave is believing the best in someone again.
Brave is giving someone our best again.
Brave is saying the words “I love you,” even though the thought of love nails knots down in the pit of our stomachs.
Brave is trusting someone with our story, not knowing if it’s too soon or too weighted down with pain for them to carry with us.
Brave is letting someone see our flaws, our beautiful scars.
Brave is saying “Hey, I’m here and I’m scared but you’re worth it.”
There’s nothing more amazing to see than someone who was knocked down, hard, and who got up, pulled it back together and shines even brighter, someone brave in the way they love.