What It Means to Love the Girl With the Guarded Heart

There is nothing simple about loving the girl with the guarded heart.

She is not convinced by flowers and fancy dinners, nor won over by compliments and praise. In the beginning she is a slow dance, one step toward you, another step back, as she learns to trust the ways of your heart and the strength of your arms. The dance may be slow but it cannot be rushed, for she will sense the impatience of your steps and the way they fall out of time with hers. Dance with her. Follow the measure of her steps, and in time, she will soon look to follow yours.

She will not show you her heart all at once; instead offer you a little at a time, unhurried and watchful of the way you hold each fragile piece. She longs for you to understand how much it takes her to show you these pieces, for you to trace your fingers over the scars left behind from others, to feel the whisper of your breath against her neck as you promise to hold her heart with more care than those who came before. There are parts of her heart that remain unreachable, parts she has buried under layers she will never reveal. Love these parts of her, the parts unseen, the shadows of her soul. For even the sky knows without darkness, the stars cannot adorn us with their light.

She will watch you closer than you realize, listen to every word you speak and weigh it against every action, searching for inconsistencies, seeking the truth of your word and the intention of your heart. Not because she can’t trust you but because she is cautious, alert, wary, the stories of her past still etched upon her mind. She isn’t ready to trust her heart with you. Not yet. Not until she knows you are a person of your word, a person of steadfast hands and unchanging ways.

There is a part of her that will always remain a little detached, ready to run if she thinks her heart will get damaged again. She no longer believes in second chances, having used all of them on those undeserving of such grace. To hurt her means to lose her, for she would sooner be alone than risk losing the life she has fought so damn hard to rebuild with her own wearied hands. She isn’t there because she needs you. She doesn’t need anyone. She’s there because she has chosen you, because she wants you, because she believes you are worth the risk. And all she asks is for you not to prove her wrong in the chance she has taken, for it has cost her more than you know.

She will need more reassurance than most, she will need you to stay present, available, mindful of her scars. She will think too much, talk too little, cry too often, ask too many questions, struggle to rest in your love. She is complex. Complicated. Perplexing. Sometimes difficult.

But beyond her guarded heart lies a soul that contains the wonders of the universe. One that longs to live and love with abandon, that desires connection and intimacy and to be in relationship with someone who sees both her beauty and her scars, and knows how to fall in love with both.

She holds within her a fierce spirit: brave, strong, courageous, unrelenting, yet is also the quiet and the calm, a place to take shelter against the fury of the wind on storm-filled days. She is nurture, she is passion. She is a touch of madness against ordinary skies, a vulnerable heart with a fearless soul, a barefoot warrior who follows no trails but sets her own path.

She is grounded in her truth, accepting of her flaws, far from perfect but closer to real than most. She is wildflowers and ocean currents and meadows that dance upon the breath of summer winds, unconfined in earthly beauty and free in spiritual grace. Broken, she knows what it means to suffer. But out of the depths of her suffering, she has come to understand love. And her guarded heart waits for the one who understands it too.

No, there may be nothing simple about loving the girl with the guarded heart.

But every day you choose to love her, she’ll prove to you why she’s worth it.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by heavypred

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Mental Health

Medical professional holding hand of patient

To the Nurses Who Are the Warmth and Light We Need

Dear Nurses, Sometimes I wonder if you know how amazing you are. You work incredibly long hours. Not only do you put up with patients who are rude to you, you still put in the effort to take care of them. You are the heart of the hospital. You are our advocates when necessary. You go [...]
Office of Speaker Ryan

House Republicans Pull Health Care Reform Bill Moments Before Scheduled Vote

On Friday, Republican lawmakers pulled the heath care reform bill proposed to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The decision came just moments before the House was set to vote on the bill, after it appeared to not have enough support to pass. At 3:34 p.m., Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted, [...]
Female sneakers with floral pattern standing on an old wooden floor

Adapting to Life After My Illness Became a Thing of the Past

Getting better can be scary. I know, it might make no sense at all. But let’s face it — being chronically ill and not knowing if or when you’re getting better is pretty terrifying. Chances are, your life has revolved around medical treatments, various supplements, different medications, and a host of doctors caring for you. [...]
Empty Patient Room In Modern Hospital

30 Items I Pack in My Hospital Bag for a More Comfortable Stay

When you struggle with chronic illness, you may require a stay, or several stays, in a hospital. It can be very hard to be away from your family and the comforts of home. I started a small list of items I should pack many years ago, but that list has gotten longer overtime. Below you will [...]