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  • Writer's pictureLena Jennings

It hurts to have a big heart

In any capacity you love others you have the potential to get hurt. When you have a big heart you care a lot for others: you give of your time and energy, you want to make others happy and you easily bend over backwards to accommodate others, you are optimistic and see so much good in others, you love and you love hard. A big heart is a blessing and a burden at the exact same time. Our big heart requires a certain level of vulnerability, which is scary. Brene Brown describes vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. When we use our big heart to love others we expose our hearts to someone and don’t know the outcome. The other person can receive what it is we have to say or can flat out reject it. The real risk we run is getting hurt. It’s the feeling of being rejected and the feeling of not feeling loved.

I think about my heart and how many times I’ve been disappointed by people. I get disappointed because I know better and my parents raised me to treat others with respect and decency so I expected that to be the norm for everyone. My therapist told me one day after I was disappointed by a friend that I can’t expect me from other people. I immediately thought *I can’t???* But as I went home and pondered on it more I realized it's true. I can’t expect others to be considerate of my feelings and emotions, I can’t expect others to be selfless, I can’t expect others to put me at the center of their world. I can't manage their behavior, but what I can do is manage my expectations.

The expectations we have often do not correspond with reality and when this happens we are disappointed every time. We become disappointed when we expect to be treated as we treat others. We have expectations on how people should respond, live, and react — just like we would. But we have to understand that we can’t expect ourselves from other people. It’s through us releasing expectations and just loving to love. My mom has always told me “it’s nice to be nice.” For no other reason should we love and care than to just be nice and Christ like. We have to learn how to give and not expect anything in return. We have to learn how to be okay with loving and recognizing that people aren’t required to love us back — that doesn’t change our decision to love but that should want us to spread more love. Because it’s better to have loved and gotten hurt than to have never loved at all. The depth of my despair makes my heart so much bigger. It gives me the wisdom to love harder and more passionately because the risk is real but the potential experience is invaluable.

When we start to realize that everyone is living at a different stage, thinking differently, and making their own choices, then you start to accept the fact that people do not share the same mind and heart. When you want to be happy you have to let go of that and start with yourself, be the person you can be proud of , be an example, show resect and understanding. Others may not change, but it's not up to you for them to change, just be proud of how you show up. So care for someone, tell someone how you feel, smile at a stranger, ask to hangout with someone, give your time to a cause you care about, and more importantly give of yourself. Have the courage to show up and be seen by others. Have the confidence to dare greatly and brave connection. You may be disappointed or you may just have an experience that makes you think "wow that was all worth it."

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