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What comes to mind when you hear, “She’s cold as ice”? What image do you envision when someone says, “He’s deaf to my pleas.” When it comes to survival, I think we all have our way of handling disappointment and pain. Hardening ourselves for the next impending sucker punch becomes our stance. It’s like, I didn’t see the first one coming. “It knocked the wind out of me, but I’ll be ready next time” becomes our mantra. We begin living in expectation of the incoming disappointment, sorrow, or pain. In all honesty, it’s wise to mentally prepare for curve balls that life may hurl at us. Yet, it’s just as important to keep a certain optimistic resolve too. How to balance these two realities becomes our lifelong dilemma. How to prepare for disappointments without morphing into an Ice Princess or Stone Cold Man becomes our plight.

 

Even though none of us want to experience discomfort or pain or rejection, we must safeguard against becoming too callous to enjoy the gift of life and real connections with others. Pain has a way of robbing us of fruitful living. Unforgiveness seeps into our hearts and ebbs away at hope. Unforgiveness causes us to believe that we can’t trust people or only a very few. It’s true that some people are not trustworthy with our affections, but we must resist the urge to deliver this fate upon everyone. Closing ourselves off from others becomes our go-to survival skill. However, this skill has a downside: life becomes lonely or artificial. It may seem that we have loving relationships, but in reality, we engage within those relationships with suspicion.  Living life in this way causes others to feel the freeze emanating from us. 

 

We want love, but we don’t wish to hurt, so we keep others at a distance. We only allow them into our hearts but so far. Who wants to put up with only a fraction of a loved one’s devotion? You don’t, and I know I don’t. Why would we choose to live this half-hearted existence? Yet, so many of us do–All for the sake of protecting our hearts from pain and disappointment. We forge through icy paths that we’ve hewn out for ourselves. How can we use precaution and still live and love freely? Consider growing with those we let into our circle. By that, I mean, extend an olive reed of trust with low-risk truths about our lives. It’s not a test. It’s not wise to test people’s loyalty. Share your heart in progression. Whatever you choose to express, make sure to give it your warmth and authentic self.

 

Remember that we are flawed creatures. Leave room for shortcomings–ours and theirs. In warming up to the idea of inviting those we love into our hearts, we realize that some disappointment accompanies these encounters. In these moments, we resist the tendency to revert to our go-to survival mindset. Let’s push away the notion of becoming cold and hardened.  Let’s accept and embrace forgiveness. Holding the people, we say we love captive using unforgiveness creates disconnection. After time and time of a person making attempts to reconcile and strengthen the relationship, numb indifference freezes any interest in building and protecting what remains. What happens? We may find ourselves alone, but not alone. We may live physically connected to these individuals, but it’s become an empty icy shell or a barren cold stone of situations. 

 

Sometimes the lights come on, and we get the ‘aha.’ We suddenly recognize that we’ve become cold and distant. We see that those we love exhibit those same behaviors, so we start grasping at any remnants of hope. All too often, sadly, we come face to face with deafening disinterest. We weep. We desire such closeness that we’ve lost, but our loved one can’t hear our sincere repentance. We reach for them. We show them our unthawed and warming hearts. We pursue reconnection. And if we’re not careful, we succumb to defeat and pick up that dreadful self-preserving survival skill of ‘shelter-in-place.’ Return to our familiar cold seclusion, and the cycle repeats itself.

 

 I pose this question to you:

How can we free ourselves from this barren, icy, and hardened existence that keeps us from enjoying love and genuine reconciliation?

 

I look forward to your responses.

 

Live long and prosper.

 

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