When you've had your heart broken in a relationship, it can be difficult to
open up to love again and entrust your heart to another person.
Similarly, when your partner hurts you, it can difficult to open up and bring
trust back into your relationship. It's hard to give your heart back to
someone who has proven hurtful.
Yet, you want to love, you want to trust, you want to
open up. And so you do. Throwing caution to the wind you open up your
heart again, hoping you will not get hurt.
Still you find yourself getting hurt again and again and again.
This is a dilemma many of us face, whether we are single or in a
relationship. How do we open up to love and trust another person while
staying safe and protected from hurt? I have created the following steps
for you to do just that.
10 Steps to Opening Up While Staying Safe
Assume that any person close to you will eventually hurt you, and
continue to hurt you periodically.
Have you ever hurt the people you love? Was it intentional, malicious?
Were you sorry afterwards? Did you have trouble admitting your remorse?
When others hurt you, realize they are just like you. They have likely
hurt you unintentionally, and are remorseful and sorry afterwards.
Do not assume that knowing someone well or being in love is going to
prevent hurt. Regardless of circumstances, time or promises, step #1
still holds true.
Getting to know someone well may prevent you from ending up with a
partner who will be nothing but hurt and heartache. But, it still won't
prevent you from getting hurt eventually.
When he or she does hurt you, assume it is not personal, is not directed
at you and is not about you.
When your partner or potential partner does something that makes your
heart ache, think back to a time you inflicted hurt on another.
You did not do it intentionally, maliciously. It's just that you were
reminded of something in your past. You were afraid. You could not help
The same is likely true of your partner, who was reminded of something
in his/her past, was afraid, could not help himself/herself, etc.
Learn to set boundaries.
To find out what your boundaries are, ask yourself the following
What don't I want in my life, in my relationships?
What type of behavior hurts me?
How would people need to behave around me in order for me to thrive?
Make a list of your answers. Make your boundaries big enough so that you
feel very safe. Start to educate people about them.
When you've been hurt, learn how to immediately take care of yourself by
removing yourself from the situation and soothing your emotions.
For example, if your partner raises his or her voice when upset and this
hurts, learn how to say "stop" and "I will not talk about this when you
raise your voice at me". Then, do something that makes you feel good. It
may be taking a long bath, or a walk, or watching a movie.
Let's take another example. Let's say you are single and waiting for a
call from a potential partner. Let's say you have been waiting for a
call for days. Remove yourself from the situation by ending the
wait--stop waiting for the call. In fact, ignore the phone and let the
answering machine pick it up. Now do something that makes you feel
better. Treat yourself, nurture, entertain, etc.