Stop confusing protection with imprisonment.

Remember that traumatic experience that ripped your heart to shreds 5, 10, 15 years ago? Well I’ve got some bad news — you’re still not over it.

How can I tell? It’s pretty easy. It’s because your heart is hardened, like a prison cell— nothing gets in and nothing gets out. You might smile, help people, and be generally be considered a nice person, but that’s only because those things can be done without making yourself vulnerable to being hurt again.

In order to protect yourself from future heartbreak, you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t need the type of love you deserve. So up went the walls around your heart … tall, thick, and impenetrable. It’s your guarantee that you’ll never feel that kind of pain ever again.

Rather than put all your cards on the table and go after the deepest form of love possible, you’ve avoided circumstances that could validate your deepest fear: that you are unworthy of love.
It is this low level approach to relationships that explains why the relationship section of your life looks like a war zone, scattered with the names of a**holes, jerks, and shallow, pretentious people.

Simply put, a protected heart means you’re unable to share a soul connection with others. The people you interact with can sense this, so any potential relationship is almost doomed from the get-go since there’s no trust, transparency, or vulnerability.

Solitary confinement of the heart.
How long has your heart been in that tiny, dark, cold prison cell? Heck, you’ve probably been in there so long that there’s a good chance you’ve forgotten what you need to make you truly happy and set you free. So instead you chase external pleasures that make you feel significant within your social circles: the university degrees, the positions at Fortune 500 companies, the corner office — all while your heart is living off daily rations of bread and water in solitary confinement. It’s a classic response to life challenges and you’re not alone in thinking it was a wise decision to lock away your heart and throw away the key.

Protection becomes imprisonment when you lose the freedom of choice.
It doesn’t matter if someone takes that freedom away from you, or if you strip it away from yourself. Once you lose the ability to make decisions that serve you to live a healthy, fulfilling life, you’ve shifted from temporary protection to full-time imprisonment.

Fear is your prison guard
The entire reason your heart is trapped is because of fear. Understandably so, since the experience of heartbreak is an unpleasant one. You might feel safe within the prison walls, but the wisest among us know that’s not where we belong.

“Safe” is just another word for “a slow, painful death”.
In the slim chance you’d like to save yourself a 20-year life lesson, then take this advice to heart: The scary thing that is keeping you from freeing your heart and living the life you deserve — it is not real. It’s an illusion in your own mind and no where else. Just like a child who is afraid of the monster under the bed, your fears are not based in reality.

The monsters under your bed aren’t real, and neither are your fears that cause you to imprison your heart.
Don’t worry if you’re unable or unwilling to embody that truth now. Life has no shortage of opportunities that will guide you toward this truth. Give every lesson the chance to gradually seep into your subconscious. Let the seed be planted and then cultivate it when the time is right.

In order to feel the warm sunshine on your skin, you must leave the confines of your comfort zone. You might get rained on from time to time, but that’s all part of the wonderful experience of life. The choice is up to you: do you choose to be bothered by the rain? Or do you simply close your eyes and enjoy it with gratitude?

If you want to feel raw, unfiltered, soul-awakening love, then you must first dissolve the walls around your heart so that you can deeply connect with with the people in your life by making yourself vulnerable in their presence. Do this and chances are your heart will taste true freedom for the very first time.