This Is What Happens When Your Heart Is Closed
Our heart closes down in situations of perceived danger. This is when we have gone into fear ➡︎ the famous “fight or flight” mode. As a person, this doesn’t mean that our heart is always closed; someone with a usually very open heart (i.e. generous and loving) may suddenly close their heart if a particular person or situation triggers old memories of trauma. Most often, it is an unconscious process that goes unnoticed as it unfolds, and it does not, in any way, reflect that person’s worth or value system.
SEE ALSO: What Does It Mean To ‘Awaken’?
How do I know When My Heart is Closed?
Over time, I have learned to recognize the signs that my heart has closed:
- My THOUGHTS (the Mind) – My image or opinion of the person in front of me changes. It could be a friend or a lover, I start judging. I suddenly can’t stop but notice that person’s list of ‘flaws’: his traits of character, his small actions or daily habits that I normally love but now suddenly judge as negative, annoying or incompatible with me. In the example of a situation: the things that I viewed before as positive, possible, or inspiring suddenly come across as negative, complicated and undesirable (e.g. starting a new relationship or moving in with my partner suddenly becomes a bad idea, I start noticing all the reasons why it won’t work instead of all the reasons why it will). Usually, in these situations too, I start saying ‘NO’ to everything.
- MY EMOTIONS (the Heart) – I feel disconnected from that person or situation, an emotional distance installs where I feel that we’re too different or incompatible. It could be a perceived incompatibility of character with someone but also a lack of skills in a situation (e.g. “I’m not good enough to do it”); my emotional connection to them or to the situation has suddenly disappeared.. or at least so I feel. I’m unable to feel real love, joy, or happiness. I most often feel uneasy, a sense of lack or even a heaviness in my energy. Some people may also feel anxiety, fear, sometimes even panic.
- MY SENSATIONS (the Body) – I notice a ‘taste of’ rejection in my body. It feels closed, ‘hard’ and protective. A sensation of heat or, on the opposite, cold appears. Tensions and pains also show up in the areas associated with that person or situation (e.g. shoulders & neck, belly, feet,…).
- MY ACTIONS (the Integrated Response) – My posture and behaviour change. I start creating distance between the person and me by either physically taking a step back, hiding myself behind an object (e.g. a piece of furniture), or turning myself to face a different direction. Very often, I tend to avoid sustained contact or, on the contrary confront the person and engage in conflict, and ultimately, I will look to isolate myself. Or, in the case of a dreamed goal, I start diverging my attention into distractions or making decisions that will actually push me away from it.
In summary, every part of me pushes me to cut my relationship with the perceived threat.
What Threat Does Our Subconscious Perceive?
Threats can take various forms and shapes but they all activate a certain degree of fear in us. It could be, for instance, a fear of the unknown (e.g. in the case of a new project or a change in career) or a fear of making a mistake (e.g. delivering a job or a paper to your boss). Generally, such threats send you back, even unconsciously, to a past event (possibly traumatic) when you have suffered either mentally, emotionally or physically. It is rare to perceive something as a threat if we haven’t experienced a negative shock (big or small) in relation to it before. E.g. Last time that I moved in with a boyfriend, I had a very traumatic experience; as a result, the thought of moving in with my current boyfriend (although he’s not the one who’s hurt me in the past) will reactivate the memories of traumas of all the times when I have lived with someone and it didn’t go well.
A friend told me yesterday that he couldn’t understand why some of his fears were so intense as we no longer live in an world where we run the risk of being killed by a wild animal when stepping out of our house. But you’d be surprised as to how many fears trace back to a fear of death! We tend to wrongly underestimate the power of our subconscious mind and survival instincts. For instance, I used to fear making mistakes at work because I would think that people would stop loving me, and that if people stopped loving me, I would lose all love in my life and therefore die.
Why Should We Pay Attention to Our Heart?
Our heart area holds our deep inspiration and sense of direction in life. The expression of our deepest dreams & desires, and the expression of our true essence comes from our heart. When this area is open and balanced, we intuitively know what to do, where to go next, and how to be the biggest and most unlimited version of ourselves. In our relationships, it is also from where the love & care that we share with others is expressed. When that area is closed, it becomes very difficult for us to connect to others and have harmonious relationships. We may also feel lost and incapable of making choices in life.
What Can You Do if Your Heart is Closed?
- Notice and acknowledge what’s happening in you, meaning be conscious and recognise YOUR signs (we’re all different). It can be the most difficult but also the most important step. You may or may not want to resolve it, the choice ultimately is yours, but it is self-awareness that will make that choice possible.
- Accept it. Our instinctive reaction in the light of an undesirable state or event is to reject, judge, label, and condemn what we perceive as ‘negative’. Instead, when we learn to be OK with it, to just see all things as neutral (not good, nor bad), we can remove the power of these things to affect us further. This is when we may slowly stop perpetuating our loop of patterns and start reversing them until we can finally resolve them. This may take time, but it will eventually happen. So when you notice your signs, don’t wish they would go away. Refrain from judging yourself. Instead, breathe into it and tell it: “I know that you’re here, I know that you’re happening, and it’s OK, you have the right to be”. And notice how you feel as you introduce this conscious internal dialogue into your response habit.
- Be gentle with yourself and surround it with Love. Your nervous system is overwhelmed and so there’s no need to traumatise it further. Tell the person how you feel; tell them you don’t wish to continue that conversation now and need to step out for a moment to center yourself. Then, imagine your heart as your little baby and wrap it with unconditional Love. Hold it with your compassionate attention, comfort it and, no matter what it’s going through, don’t ask anything from it, just be present with it. Give yourself mental, physical and time space to calm your system down until it returns to a feeling of safety and clarity. Finally, know that there is no pressure for you to resolve anything now, you have all the time in the world. Really.
- Express it in a healthy way. At a later time, it may help to talk about it with a friend or a professional that will first listen, then possibly help you look into it. It is important not to burry your emotions down as they will just crystallise into a deeper wound and eventually become harder and harder to deal with.
- Heal it. Know that eventually you’ll have to go into your pain if you want to heal the wound. However, this can only happen when you’re ready and when YOU decide it. Until then, just remember one thing: YOU’RE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. There’s nothing you need to fix.
How To Help Someone Whose Heart Is Closed?
First, recognize, acknowledge, and accept this person’s reaction for what it is: don’t take it personally, it’s NOT an attack on your person, it’s NOT against you. It simply is the honest expression of their fears, and it’s not good or bad, it simply IS.
Second, refrain from exacerbating their emotions further. You will most probably be triggered… Catch yourself before adding onto the situation. Reacting negatively will not solve the problem and may just worsen it by either deepening the person’s trauma or by affecting the relationship permanently. When the situation is less emotionally charged you will have an opportunity to discuss it calmly together. But for now, know your priorities. If your priority is the relationship, then be present (i.e. be calm, observe, and listen without judging), be patient, be kind. The best thing you can do is show that person that it’s OK to be scared, that it doesn’t put more distance between you two or question your mutual bond (i.e. love, friendship, respect). And here, the word ‘show’ is key. Saying is great but following up with actions is what will reinforce the feeling of a safe space that they need in order to get out of their fight or flight mode and return to the relationship, in their own time, with more calm and trust. In other words, give them time and support, give them Love.
Because Love is the only thing that can free us from our suffering.
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