Heartbreak. I’ve been here before. It feels very familiar. And no, I’m not talking about the Celtics losing to the Heat in Game 5. Ok, well maybe I am sorta kinda….
Heartbreak is the emotionally crushed remnants of a dissolved romantic relationship–be it a mutual break up or not. Even when a relationship comes to an amicable end, it still seems that at least one party is left feeling a bit empty. Not empty from being alone, but empty from the energy used to pour into a relationship. Because ALL relationships take work to be sustained, especially those that have are on their last leg. For me, I start to feel emotionally and psychologically drained when a relationship is ending, and I tend to overthink all of the consequences that come with it. Even with all the mulling over, I find myself with more questions than answers.
But unfortunately for me, I tend to find myself in a place of “heartbreak” early and often. [Sidenote: Ok, maybe not often. It’s only happened like 3 times, but that’s a lot!] I fall too quickly, get caught up in the idea of “love and happiness” and then it’s back to the drawing board. I land in a place of misery, constantly thinking about all the things I should have and could have done to make things work. I question myself incessantly. How did I end up here? Why can’t I stop feeling sorry for myself? Why can’t I just let go and move on?
The answer is this: I didn’t guard my heart.
I first became acquainted with the idea of “guarding your heart” about a year ago by a good, happily married friend of mine whom I turn to for spiritual advice and mentoring. When I got into my most recent relationship, she and I talked again about some relationships as they relate to Christian dating. One thing she reiterated throughout our conversation was to guard my heart and to remember that during the beginnings of a new relationship, the guy I was dating should be my brother in Christ first–since it was important build a true friendship with each other before taking things any further. And remember, guard your heart, he’s not your husband yet. At the time, I thought I knew what she meant. Don’t let yourself get hurt. He’s just a guy you’re dating and getting to know. Got it. So I went on about my relationship and didn’t give my friend’s words much thought.
Well, here I am, months later and I finally figured out what the heck she was talking about! When you’re so quick to pour yourself into your relationship, giving it everything you have, you’re opening yourself up for disappointment and hurt. When you like some one soooo much and are head over heels in love, you lose yourself in your union and don’t allow yourself to really think with a level head. When you are so wrapped up in being in a relationship, you don’t take the time to sincerely get to know the other person. When you invest all of yourself in your relationship early on, you forget to invest in yourself and what’s important for you. I’ve been through all of this. I carelessly let me heart lead my head. How can I guard my heart when my heart has me on a leash?
Not that I think you can save yourself from the hurt and pain that can come with relationships, but I do think there is a smarter way to deal in relationships. I think the things that get me caught up are having the wrong priorities in my relationships. I don’t focus on the right things at the right times. I want to give me heart away without requiring the person receiving it to do the work to obtain it. I want everything but the kitchen sink up front, without having to go through the necessary steps in between. I want God to bless my relationship without having to put God in the relationship.
I’m not sure I’m making any sense, but this has been weighing heavily on me all week. I think I finally get why I take relationship breaks so hard, even if said relationships are short-lived. I don’t guard my heart–meaning I give too much of myself too soon–and so I quickly and easily get emotionally destroyed by relationships that don’t work out. Relationships are a process that shouldn’t be rushed through, but rather enjoyed and made the most of.
Can anyone else feel me on this? Is it necessary to guard your heart when entering new relationships? Is there a smart way to date that won’t leave you feeling broken when its over?
Learning to guard my heart,