When you've had your heart broken in a relationship, it can be difficult to open up to love again and entrust your heart to another person.
Similarly, when your partner hurts you, it can difficult to open up and bring trust back into your relationship. It's hard to give your heart back to someone who has proven hurtful.
Yet, you want to love, you want to trust, you want to open up. And so you do. Throwing caution to the wind you open up your heart again, hoping you will not get hurt.
Still you find yourself getting hurt again and again and again.
This is a dilemma many of us face, whether we are single or in a relationship. How do we open up to love and trust another person while staying safe and protected from hurt? I have created the following steps for you to do just that.
10 Steps To Opening Up While Staying Safe
~~~ 1. Assume that any person close to you will eventually hurt you, and continue to hurt you periodically.
Have you ever hurt the people you love? Was it intentional, malicious? Were you sorry afterwards? Did you have trouble admitting your remorse?
When others hurt you, realize they are just like you. They have likely hurt you unintentionally, and are remorseful and sorry afterwards.
~~~ 2. Do not assume that knowing someone well or being in love is going to prevent hurt. Regardless of circumstances, time or promises, step #1 still holds true.
Getting to know someone well may prevent you from ending up with a partner who will be nothing but hurt and heartache. But, it still won't prevent you from getting hurt eventually.
~~~ 3. When he or she does hurt you, assume it is not personal, is not directed at you and is not about you.
When your partner or potential partner does something that makes your heart ache, think back to a time you inflicted hurt on another.
You did not do it intentionally, maliciously. It's just that you were reminded of something in your past. You were afraid. You could not help yourself, etc.
The same is likely true of your partner, who was reminded of something in his/her past, was afraid, could not help him/her self, etc.
~~~ 4. Learn to set boundaries.
To find out what your boundaries are, ask yourself the following questions: *What don't I want in my life, in my relationships? *What type of behavior hurts me? *How would people need to behave around me in order for me to thrive?
Make a list of your answers. Make your boundaries big enough so that you feel very safe. Start to educate people about them.
~~~ 5. When you've been hurt, learn how to immediately take care of yourself by removing yourself from the situation and soothing your emotions.
For example, if your partner raises his or her voice when upset and this hurts, learn how to say "stop" and "I will not talk about this when you raise your voice at me". Then, do something that makes you feel good. It may be taking a long bath, or a walk, or watching a movie.
Let's take another example. Let's say you are single and waiting for a call from a potential partner. Let's say you have been waiting for a call for days. Remove yourself from the situation by ending the wait--stop waiting for the call. In fact, ignore the phone and let the answering machine pick it up. Now do something that makes you feel better. Treat yourself, nurture, entertain, etc.
~~~ 6. Realize that the key to saying safe is not in trusting the other person but in trusting yourself.
You can never guarantee that another person will not hurt you. In fact, you can be assured that most people--especially those close to you--will hurt you occasionally. But this does not mean you can never open your heart for fear of being hurt.
You can learn to trust yourself to take care of you in a hurtful situation by removing yourself from the situation and soothing your emotions.
~~~ 7. Become the kind of person who can be trusted to take care of her/him self first and always.
As soon as you can trust yourself to always take care of you first, your heart will become safe and you will feel free to form or rekindle a relationship. It's that important.
Taking care of you can be anything from ending a fight the minute it begins to immediately voicing a concern to making a request to get what you want and need. It means you always think of yourself and your needs first.
~~~ 8. Learn to communicate effectively and powerfully, yet gently.
You want to try and stop the hurtful behavior, but do so in such a way that the person does not resent you.
For example, let's say again that your partner raises his or her voice at you in anger, which you do not like.
You may want to stop the behavior by calmly saying something like, "Please do not speak to me with a raised voice. I cannot hear you when you raise your voice and I want to hear you. Can we speak calmly now or should we have this conversation later?"
Our second example may be more appropriate for singles. Let's say you are still waiting for that phone call. The person finally calls several days later. If you choose to communicate about this, you might say, "I am glad you called. It has been a while since we last spoke and I was starting to loose interest."
There is no attack, no accusation, yet everything that needs to be said to make an impact is said with grace and heart.
~~~ 9. Learn to trust your opinions about yourself, your actions and your attributes as more important than the opinions of others.
Sometimes in relationships, hurtful things can be said in the heat of the moment. Sometimes these things don't need to be said--it is obvious when your partner thinks badly of you.
Believe in yourself and appreciate yourself enough to be able to dismiss the hurtful words and the vague feeling of being judged as irrelevant.
~~~ 10. Learn when it's appropriate to forgive and when it's best to end the relationship.
Any partner will hurt you occasionally. The question is how much and how often. An occasional hurt or annoyance can be forgiven or dealt with for the benefit of the relationship. Working through the hurt can make you grow together.
On the other hand, if you find yourself being hurt from the onset of the relationship and it never stops, you may want to reconsider your choice of partners.
The best news is that when you can take care of you -- first and always -- you will attract partners who will tend to do less hurting and much more loving.
Your Relationship Coach,
About The Author
This article was originally published by Coach Rinatta Paries in "The Relationship Coach Newsletter," a weekly e-zine for people who want fulfilling relationships. For singles, the newsletter will help you attract your Mr. or Ms. Right. If you're in a relationship, you will learn to create more closeness and intimacy with your mate. To subscribe, go to www.WhatItTakes.com