Our heart closes down in situations when our subconscious perceives danger. This is when we have gone into fear ➡︎ flight or fight mode. This doesn’t mean that we, as a person, always have a closed heart; someone with a very open heart, generally generous and loving, may suddenly close down their heart in a particular situation or with a particular person that triggers old memories of trauma. It usually is an unconscious process that goes unnoticed as it’s happening and it does NOT reflect, in any way, reflect that person’s worth or value system.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY HEART IS CLOSED?
Overtime, I have learned to recognise the signs that my heart has closed down:
- MY THOUGHTS (Mind) – My image or opinion of the person in front of me changes. It could be a friend or a romantic partner, I start judging. I suddenly can’t stop but notice the list of ‘flaws’ of that person: his traits of character, the small actions or the daily habits that they have that I would normally love but now suddenly see as negative, annoying or incompatible with me. In the case of a situation, the exact same things that I viewed as positive, or possible, easy and inspiring before suddenly turn out to be negative, impossible, difficult, unaccessible, complicated, and undesirable (e.g. starting a new relationship or moving in with your partner suddenly becomes a bad idea, you 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 (Heart) – I start feeling disconnected from that person or situation, an emotional distance installs where I feel i’m too different or incompatible with them. It could be an incompatibility of character with a person or a lack of skills/mismatch of energy with the situation (‘I’m not good enough to do it’), my connection to them or to the situation has suddenly disappeared (or at least so I feel). I’m unable to feel love, joy, or happiness. I most often feel a heaviness in my energy or a vacuum or sense of lack, an uneasiness. Some people may also feel anxiety, fear, sometimes even panic.
- MY SENSATIONS (Body) – I notice a taste of ‘rejection’ in my body. Tensions and pains also wake up in the area associated with that person or situation (shoulders & neck, belly, feet).
- MY ACTIONS (Integrated response) – My posture and my behaviour change. I start creating distance between the person and I by either physically taking a step back, putting an object between them and I (e.g. a piece of furniture), or turning myself to face a different direction. Very often, I would also want to escape or isolate myself. In the case of a situation, I diverge my attention into distractions or start making the decisions that will push me away from it, to either exit the current situation, or avoid stepping into it.
In summary, every part of me pushes me to cut my relationship with the perceived threat.
WHAT THREAT AM I PERCEIVING?
Threats can take various forms and shapes and may affect us to various degrees. It could be a fear of the unknown (e.g. new project, change in career, etc.) or a fear of being wrong or making a mistake (e.g. being contradicted at work, deliver a job, etc.). Generally, such threats bring you back – even unconsciously – to an event (possibly traumatic) that happened in our past when your have suffered, either mentally, emotionally or physically. It is rare to perceive someone or 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 trauma that were stored in my cells every time that I have had a bad experience of living with someone.
Someone 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 could be killed by a wild animal every time we step out of the house. But you’d be surprised how many fears of ours trace back to a fear of death / not existing. 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 if people stopped loving me, I would lose all the love in my life and therefore die.
WHAT ROLE DOES OUR HEART PLAY IN OUR LIVES?
Our heart area holds our inspiration and 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 we should go next, and how to best be the biggest and 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 in us 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 WHEN YOU FEEL THAT YOUR HEART HAS CLOSED?
- Noticing and acknowledging what’s happening in you, meaning being conscious and recognising YOUR signs (we are all different) can be the most difficult but also the most important step. You may or may not want to resolve it, the choice ultimately belongs to you, but knowing what’s happening in you will at least make that choice possible.
- Accept it. Our most 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), then we can remove the power of these things to affect us ‘further’. This is when we may slowly stop perpetuating the loop of patterns that we have 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 you’re here, I know you’re happening, and it’s OK, you have the right to be. Notice how you feel as you introduce this conscious internal dialogue into your response habit.
- Be gentle with yourself. There’s no need to traumatise yourself further. You may tell the person that you don’t wish to continue that conversation now, or that you need to step out for a few minutes (or as long as you need) and go center yourself. Give yourself mental, physical or time space to calm your system down until you feel safe again. Remember, there is not pressure for you to resolve anything now, you have all the time in the world.
- Express it in a healthy way. It may help to talk about it with a friend or a professional that will listen first, and maybe help you look into it.
- Heal it. Know that eventually you’ll have to look at your pains if you want to heal the wounds. Nonetheless, know that this can only happen when you’re ready and when YOU decide it, and that until then, YOU ARE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, that there’s nothing you NEED to fix.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN SOMEONE AROUND YOU HAS CLOSED HIS HEART DOWN?
First, recognise, acknowledge and accept this person’s reaction for what it is: don’t take it personal, it’s not an attack of YOUR person, it’s not against YOU, it’s simply the expression of his/her fears. It’s not good or bad, it simple IS.
Then, refrain from reacting exacerbating their emotions. Catch yourself before adding onto the situation. Reacting negatively will not solve anything and may just make it worse – either by deepening the person’s trauma, or by affecting the relationship permanently. Instead, be present (i.e. be calm, observe, and listen without judgment), be patient, be kind. The best thing you can do is ‘show’ that person that it’s OK, that it doesn’t put more distance between you or question your bond with that person, and that you won’t stop appreciating or loving them because they’re suffering. The word ‘show’ here is key: saying it is great and positive, but following up with actions will create and reinforce that sensation of a safe space that the person needs to get out of her fight or flight mode and return to the relationship or situation with more calm and trust, in their own time.
As always, feel free to comment, ask, or add and share from your own experience!
▲ 𝔸gustiana 𝔖tream ⨀f 𝕷ight ▲
▲ 𝔸gustiana 𝔖tream ⨀f 𝕷ight ▲