“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
When I would read this Bible verse as a bitter and broken person, I understood it to mean that I should protect myself from people to avoid being heartbroken. Reading it now as a whole and healed woman, I understand it to mean that I should be careful of allowing my heart to grow bitter from uncontrollable life experiences.
I have a lot of reasons to be bitter, but I make the choice not to be. I can make plenty of excuses for avoiding connecting with new people and building new relationships, but I choose not to. I can be a hurt person who passes my hurt along to others, but I’d rather spend my energy transforming my pain into something purposeful. I can’t lie and say that I’ve always thought and felt this way. I have been guilty of allowing disappointing and traumatic life experiences to change my heart. I spent many years succumbing to bitterness until I realized that by doing so, I was giving up my power and standing in the way of my own success. Plus, I got tired of being miserable and missing out on good opportunities because I was too afraid of getting hurt again.
I learned that walls don’t just keep people out, they block you in. They keep you from creating good memories that will replace the bad ones. They keep you from healing and cause you to lose hope in humanity. They imprison you in your pain and cause you to miss out on opportunities to give and receive love. By trying to avoid getting hurt, I was actually causing myself more pain. I reached a point where I had to make the choice to stay stuck in the past or make the most of the present. I chose the latter and it’s changed my life for the better.
Naturally, I am a giving, loving, and compassionate person. Most of my life, it’s been a challenge to determine who is deserving of the wealth of goodness I bring to the table. After being betrayed, hurt, and disappointed several times, I decided it would be best to reserve my love for those who had already proven their loyalty. “No new friends” was my motto. Although it sounded like the best solution at the time, I started losing in life due to lack of love. My tough exterior made people not want to be around me. My lack of trust made it difficult for me to genuinely connect with others. My opportunities decreased because my connections decreased. My blessings seemed to stop flowing consistently. All of this negatively impacted my confidence and self-esteem. I wasn’t only changing how I loved others, I was inadvertently changing how I loved myself also.
Although loving others has, at times, caused me pain, love is and has always been my superpower. Love is the link between me and my next level. Love opens doors. Love connects. Love heals. Love attracts blessings. Love makes a difference. No matter what happens in your life, don’t let negative experiences change your heart forever. Once you give up on love and humanity, the enemy wins. Don’t miss out on love because you’re hiding from hurt. Grow from what you go through. Learn the hard lessons without letting them make you hard. Choose to get better instead of staying bitter. Trust me, you will be much better off for it. Just ask yourself, “Is that person or pain worth sacrificing my happiness, success, and future for?”. If your answer is “no”, dig deep and start making steps towards getting back to the loving woman you know you are and were created to be.
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