On the yellow brick road to love-connection happiness, different obstacles are encountered: ambiguous advice about sex, confusing dating semantics, prevalent dating myths, and varied relationships with self. While I have tried to shed light on these topics, the following one is probably the most difficult one; dealing with past hurt.
Yep, I will argue you need to remove that permanent Fort Knox-styled brick wall around your heart, though its razing will undoubtedly hurt and cause temporary bleeding. Once removed, however, you will be able to enjoy the present and your future…hopefully with a new love interest. Once again, I am not an expert, and with this subject I struggle mightily. Remember I am single and am learning about relationships and myself on a daily basis, so please be patient with me. To help in this endeavor, I will incorporate a few choice lyrics from Musiq Soulchild’s “Previous Cats”
“Cause I’m not Steven, Antony even/Leroy or Ivan”
We all have past relationships. We all have been hurt from these past relationships. Unfortunately, many of us have been hurt repeatedly. After a relationship ended, the negative experience would only add more bricks and mortar to the already impressive shield around my heart. I would utter comments like, “Oh, you’re Jamaican…I don’t date y’all any more” or “Short girls with big booties can miss me.” While past relationships are important to inform your likes and dislikes, I try not to displace my past hurt feelings onto my new partner. It is much easier to say than to do…especially if you have similar qualities to the previous cat.
“See not, I’m not to blame/For the pain/That was caused by/Previous Cats”
It was not me that cheated on you with your homegirl. It was not me that lead you on for two years, constantly avoiding any titles so I could maintain my single-hood. It was not me that made you cry. The wise love-doctor, Shaggy, once sang, “It wasn’t me!” Too often, I have seen people enter relationships with heavy hearts and heavy thoughts caused by the previous cat. Unfortunately, folk do not take the necessary personal inventory of their feelings; they have not let go of the hurt and pain. More unfortunately, is that the new cat often does not know what mess they are walking into because as stated in previous blogs, we do not communicate well. Therefore, when folk start to react to their flashbacks of their previous Vietnam-like relationship, the new cat, who thinks it is peace time, is unprepared and unready for the “friendly” fire.
“I don’t know/What those young boys did/To make you insecure”
In my experience, most women have a difficult time accepting compliments without either downplaying the compliment (I’m not that pretty) or questioning the intentions behind said comment (Really? What you want? *side-eye* ). Oddly, all women are taught, trained, and expected to want Prince Charming. *sorry for my moment of heterosexism* Yet, Prince Charming cannot say anything charming with receiving suspicious ire from his potential Princess. And the truth is that there are men out there who prey on those insecurities and when they are done feasting have only compounded those hurt feelings and suspicions. Consequently, those bricks and mortar continue to be quickly piled on top of others until the heart is protected and shielded from assumed future hurt.
“But I think you need to let it go/Don’t let your past/Get all in the way”
So now what? I have rationalized why and how many of us have come to have fortresses around our hearts. So what now? You have to risk it! The popular adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” feels like a painful truism. The other night, while at dinner with my friends, I proclaimed, “Love is f’in crazy.” Yet, in my twenty-eight years alive, I have never felt anything as amazing as love. And there’s a risk involved in receiving that ultimate reward. You have to put yourself out there.
Do it when you are ready.
Talk with yourself and make sure that you are ready to embrace the anxiety and fear that accompanies becoming vulnerable for someone else.
And if the relationship does not work, leave it in the past and prepare yourself for your present.
Ball your hand into a fist. No, really do it. Squeeze tight. Can you receive anything? Nope!
Now, relax your hand, and imagine you are giving something to someone else. Do you notice it? Your hand is in the same position as if you are about to receive.
Share your thoughts and comments below.