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How I Learned to Let Love in After Trauma


As a young, traumatized and angry teenager, I longed for love but pushed it away at every turn. When I reflect back on the times my parents yelled at me, the long days of being bullied at school and the desperate nights of acting out, I wish deeply I could have found one person who could have given me a great, big, deep, loving hug. I feel if had I found someone to see me and love me as I was, I would have struggled a lot less. I think I may have even felt healed. But that is all in hindsight. As it stood, I did not find that kind of love for a long time.

It took years for me to learn how to let love in. My heart had spikes around it. It was the only way I was able to keep myself safe in a world that had treated me with so much contempt. If someone ever started to try to see past the shield I held up, I ran. Or worse, I hurt them. I ended a lot of relationships and friendships because I was so afraid to be open to love.

How did I finally let love in? Only after there was no other choice. I got honest with myself about who I was and stopped running from my life. I got small. I got grounded in who I was. I gained faith. I started believing, deeply, in a loving, caring and perfect God, who had always been there. I worked with gifted healers who could see past the pain I projected onto the world into my true heart, which was still just as loving and beautiful as the day I was born. I believed in myself. I believed in my capacity to heal. And I believed in my capacity to be loved.

Love was and is the final piece of my healing journey. Love for myself, and love for others. Love that lifts up. Love that mends. The therapy, the daily practice and the support systems were all vital, but they were like the walls of the room. The love is the room.

Letting love into my heart was not my first instinct, or even my second, third or fourth. It was my last resort. In the end, love, the thing I was most afraid of, is what truly healed and continues to heal me.

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Thinkstock photo via AnkDesign.