Keeping yourself intact

“I care too much about myself to allow you to treat me that way.” This is the phrase that I have domestic violence victims internalize. Many self-development books and philosophies encourage you to open your heart. Find intimacy, take emotional risks, allow yourself to be vulnerable, let your defenses down, etc.  But few talk about keeping yourself intact while you do this.

Keeping yourself intact allows you to take intelligent emotional risks. Opening your self up to someone that does not value the beauty of your heart is setting yourself up to be hurt.  If someone does not honor the preciousness of your heart, they do not deserve your open heart.

Discernment allows you to evaluate if it is wise to open your heart to a person or experience. It is still a risk to open your heart to someone who will likely be gentle with it. You will still feel vulnerable. Discernment merely increases your odds that your open heart will be treated well. Can they handle emotional intensity? Are they critical? Do they gossip?

Or... are they strong enough to be gentle?

Until you find the strength to stop someone from mistreating your heart, it may not be wise to open it. The number one thing to do if someone is mistreating your heart ( a.k.a. emotionally abusing you) is to stop the abuse. You can stop it directly by saying, "Don't go there", or indirectly by leaving. But make sure it stops. Shame on them the first time they abuse you- that is the risk you take when you share yourself. But shame on you for allowing it to continue.

It all gets down to how much you value the beauty of your heart.

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