Have you ever shared something that came back to haunt you?

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I was having this conversation not long ago with a friend about obstacles and blocks, things just not working out in our lives, and the walls many of us have built around our hearts so no one can get in and no one has the power to hurt us again. The scary thing is that we eventually realize our fears are the only things holding us back. Maybe some of you, like me, have decided that playing it safe isn’t working anymore. You want authenticity for yourself, to step out of the fear that has limited you. Let’s face it, though: Haven’t we all shared our heart with someone only for what we’ve shared to come back to haunt us? Do you remember a time that haunts you still?

It’s happened to me, and I can remember sitting there, speechless, my heart in my throat, when someone I cared for very much used the fears I’d shared against me. Of course, instead of speaking up, I shut down. My throat closed, and my voice was gone. I can remember a friend saying to me after that, “Why would you be so foolish as to ever share your heart?” Why indeed? Except sharing our hearts is what makes us human.

But what happens to us each time someone hurts us? We add another layer to the armor we inadvertently put on to protect ourselves. For me, I struggle with my weight, and many are in the same situation. I can tell you no matter the hours I run, train, and work out, if I take a break, it seems as if I’ve added pounds instead of shedding them. But aside from my insecurities, the problem is the layer of protection I’m not ready to let go of, because then I would be exposed. Of course, it’s different for every one of us, for each of us is unique in her own way.

However, when people take something so personal that you’ve shared and trusted them with and turn it on you and hurt you with it, of course it cuts so deeply. How many of you have walked away saying, “I will never share what I feel again”? What happens is we start to bottle up how we feel and close ourselves off, adding more layers to our protective armor, but the only people we’re hurting are ourselves.

I was reminded of this and the need many of us feel to protect ourselves, but wouldn’t it be better if we created a safe space with those we care about by agreeing, “What is said here stays here. Nothing I say or you say will have any repercussions. What we say to each other stays between us”? Make sure everyone agrees, and you agree as well, that if either of you brings the conversation up later, it will be only to lift each other up, and you will never hold those words against each other. Do this with your family, spouse, friends, children. Create that safe environment.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But just by saying this and creating a safe space, can you imagine how you could raise the bar in communication?


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When Joe Wilde surprises his new bride, Margaret, with a honeymoon, she is speechless—but not from surprise! The honeymoon is nothing like what she expected, not a sandy beach some place hot, not even a romantic cruise. Instead, Joe wants to take her camping in the middle of nowhere.

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