For Diwali we celebrate the “festival of lights” which signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil.
Hope Over Despair
This was the theme this week as I was speaking to a woman named Shelly who had an amazing question for me about moving on after a breakup.
A few months ago, she had started dating this man who she really liked.
He was taking charge, planning things, calling her, taking interest in her and it felt like such a great connection.
It was easy for her to take the back seat and let him lead.
As he opened up, revealing more of himself, she would also get a little more vulnerable.
Shelly was excited to have found someone that was really trying with her.
About 3 months in, as she was packing a bag to go to his place, he grabbed her hand and said, “I don’t think we are connecting on a deep enough level and so I don’t think we should keep seeing each other.”
She was in shock.
It totally blind sided her. She hadn’t seen ANY signs of this coming.
Shelly didn’t know what to say. She asked a couple of quick questions and said, “Okay if that’s how you feel then let me walk you out.”
She was hurt.
She was confused.
She was sad.
She was angry.
Reaching out for clarity.
After she had a couple of days to process what had happened, Shelly asked if he could talk on the phone to get some closure.
She asked him when he decided that it wasn’t going to work out, and he revealed that he had just decided earlier that day.
She then said, “Why did you wait until the end of the day if you had kind of already known?” and he simply replied that he didn’t know.
Shelly left the conversation feeling some closure but still couldn’t understand what happened.
How could it have felt so right and then totally explode in her face?
During our conversation she told me she was over it and was ready to date again.
But I could feel she didn’t actually have the closure she desired.
I asked Shelly if she had a question about what happened with this man and she said, “Yes, can you see anything that I can’t see?”
I said, “YES. It may not be the thing you want to hear but it will be helpful.”
I intuitively felt that when he said he didn’t feel depth in the relationship, he was referring to her holding back and not really letting him in and getting vulnerable.
I explained, “You let him lead all the time and waited for him to get vulnerable before you would reveal anything. That’s what was missing. He wanted more of you. When you look back do you feel like you let him in?”
She said, “I guess I did hold back a lot. I let him lead most things because that felt safe for me.”
That was the key.
He didn’t feel like he KNEW Shelly and he couldn’t tell if she was really into him.
I dove a little deeper, “Especially in that last conversation, you were hurt so I understand that you wanted answers to feel okay and you were protecting your heart. But you never told him how you felt. How you really liked him and you hadn’t connected with someone like that in a long time.”
Shelly was like, “That is so true! I didn’t tell him any of that and this is so helpful because when you talk to friends you just get – he is an A**hole just forget about him!”
I laughed and said, “Yes I know. There is a huge difference in talking to friends and an expert about these kinds of situations.”
But there was still a connection between Shelly and her ex.
I said to her, “I can still feel a connection. I know you don’t know if he is with anyone or not, but what I want you to do is WRITE HIM AN EMAIL telling him how much he meant to you and that you are sorry that you hadn’t told him sooner. Let him know it was hard because you were guarding your heart and that you want him to know how much you really cared.”
I knew it would be a little scary, but it was also a way to get REAL clarity with this man and have the closure she desired. Or maybe even rekindle something (you never know).
Hedging Your Heart.
When I look back at when Hemal broke up with me (before we were married) one of the biggest reasons he did was because I couldn’t let him into my heart.
I was terrified.
I wanted him to be my version of a perfect man before I could truly get vulnerable.
This was my way of protecting myself, which I like to call Hedging Your Heart.
I really am asking you to stop doing this.
Hedging your heart only leads to a break in connection and a feeling of not being seen that will continue to repeat itself.
This has layers, but you can totally do it.
There are many layers to why it was difficult for Shelly to get vulnerable.
One of them was that she felt like if she speaks up and gets vulnerable that she will be “too much” for men to handle, which is something I know a lot of you also feel.
That “too much” feeling came from Sherry’s resistance to her mom’s big personality. Her mom asked for a divorce from her father, so she believed that if she was like her mom then she won’t really have what she wants in love.
I had my own version of this and you may as well.
Know there are LAYERS that NEED to be uncovered to allow yourself to STOP hedging your heart fully.
And you CAN shed them.
Here is your first step:
Can you pinpoint an experience with your mom and dad when you were younger that made you put your guard up or has you protecting yourself?
Share it with us in the comments below so that you can practice getting vulnerable with us!
I am here to support you.