Opening my heart has proven a difficult task over the years. I’ve had the past relationships like so many others that have left me somewhat jaded; left me feeling a little raw. The lessons from those relationships, going right back to my biological father, seemed to have been to keep my heart safe, to close myself off from others at least a little bit, to not really trust another. Over the years I’ve almost always been single, allowing my heart to open only to family really. Even being a little weary of friends. Lately though, I find myself missing out. There are relationships that I need to explore. It might be time to take a chance at opening up a little more, of letting the armor I’ve been wearing for so long go. I’ve been hurt before in love relationships of every kind; but I’ve also had people who have come into my life and refused to give up on getting to know me – the real me. It seems like I’ve been training for this really. Training my mind to love my fellow man, to have compassion for others regardless of who they are. I’ve developed a self-love now that seems to indicate it may be time for me to trust in my own strength enough to know that I won’t crumble because a relationship fails. It’s become so habitual to avoid this sort of intimacy with another that it feels like I don’t know how. But it’s time to take the lessons of loving-kindness to a smaller scale. I think most people start small and spread to the world with this type of mind-training. For me it is the opposite- develop loving kindness for the world and then bring it closer to home.
In truth I believe we all seek to love and be loved. Detaching from this feeling, while perhaps sounding cold, is an important part of loving. If I detach from my expected outcomes of loving, I can remain present, I can lose my fear and just feel. I can build these more intimate relationships that I think are needed for my continued growth without hope and fear. As Pema Chödrön says, “Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment.” I am enough on my own. Loving another does not change that.