At an average rate of 80 times a minute, the (complex and complicated) heart beats about 115,000 times in one day or 42 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 3 billion times — pumping an amount of blood that equals about 1 million barrels. Amazing, right?
Regardless of our feelings of joy or sadness, experiences with grief or accomplishment – our hearts miraculously do what they’re designed to do. Every intricate part of it, masterfully created by God, that it should be one of the seven wonders of the world – next to the brain, right?
In the midst of sadness, our emotions are all over the place, and our hearts are feeling all kinds of messy and…complicated. Is it any wonder that relationships can become complex and complicated, too?
The Two Sides of – It’s Complicated
There are times we will be on the receiving end of it’s complicated and times we’ll be on the giving end of it, too. I’ve experienced both and neither feel good. You likely have as well because you’re human.
This experience doesn’t feel good because we invest ourselves, don’t we? In a promise, in words – that etch into our hearts and take hold. We invest our complex, feeling hearts in someone else and, in doing so, we place our vulnerable, complicated hearts on the line. And such as life, we may retreat ourselves, or that investment is taken from us. And, when we’re on the giving end of it’s complicated (as I’ve also been), it’s fear that rears its head.
We are so afraid to let people in – to get close and cozy; afraid to see where things might lead. We’re fearful of sharing parts of ourselves never before seen and of expectations (of others and our own) and meeting them. We protect ourselves from vulnerability. And isn’t that somewhat written in our DNA – to defend ourselves?
The Hardened Heart
Our adult human hearts have some mighty walls to break. But they didn’t get that way overnight, and we weren’t born with hardened hearts either. A young child doesn’t discriminate in their love for others. They merely share their heart as God intended. Beautiful, isn’t it? How ruined and hardened by life we can become, right?
So, the next time you are on the cusp of being on the giving end of it’s complicated – remember, there’s a complex heart on the other end, and honesty is the best policy. Honesty isn’t easy because it’s filled with vulnerability and takes courage. But I’d take an ounce of honesty over an ounce of gold any day.
Likewise, the next time you’re on the receiving end (truth – there will always be a next time), know there are millions of others sitting in the same boat. Reflect on a time when you’ve been on the giving end of it’s complicated, and empathize. Accept that we’re all just doing the best we can and don’t take it to heart. It hurts, but it doesn’t have to harden your heart.
Making Peace & Welcoming Growth
Make peace with it’s complicated. It’s a part of adulting we’re rarely taught coping skills to handle as children. And maybe the takeaway is, as a parent, teaching honesty is teaching coping skills. Because when two complicated hearts are honest (which is vulnerable and courageous), barriers are broken, a sense of appreciation grows, and forgiveness can find it’s way.
There is one caveat to honesty, however. When you give honesty and expect it in return, you must be open to receiving it. And truth be told, there are golden nuggets of growth to be found when honesty can flow through your complex and complicated heart.
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