Sometimes it’s really hard having an open heart, especially in the recovery realm where many are still sick and suffering from an addict mentality, even if they are sober.
I say this because I’ve run into it quite often like I did a few weeks ago when I received an extremely negative Facebook message from someone I once helped early on in their recovery work just after they got sober from alcohol and drugs.
I had been trying for a number of months to reach out to this person through phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages because I truly cared about them and was concerned whether they were ok or not. Up until the beginning of the summer this year we had spoken over the phone at least once a month or so for almost four years, and as far as I could tell, they had always been great conversations that ended with us giving each other friendly “love you’s. But then one day they stopped initiating any contact with me and also weren’t returning any of my own attempts to reach out to them, which definitely wasn’t like them at all. In the recovery realm, when something like this happens, it’s often a sign that the person might have relapsed, as I’ve seen the pattern happen way too often. Yet, I still had some hope that maybe it was due to something else going on in this individual’s life.
Eventually, after several months went by like this, I noticed they had unfriended me on Facebook and that’s when I came to acceptance that they didn’t want to maintain contact with me anymore. I opted to send them a final message that simply said that although I was sad they didn’t want to connect with me anymore, I still wanted to wish them and their family a Happy Holiday and blessings for all their years ahead. Ironically, they responded to that and not at all pleasantly. In fact, some of their words stung pretty hard and came out of left field, which I’m sure if my heart had been closed like it used to be more than not, I wouldn’t have cared.
But, my heart is very much open these days, and I do care about people, especially those I’ve helped in the recovery realm. I enjoy being able to share in those deeper emotions with another, yet it is extremely hard to accept when anger and negativity come my way like it did from this individual.
Nevertheless, while I may never know the true reason why this person I once helped in sobriety threw so much anger my way, I still plan on keeping an open heart towards them and everyone else. Because I find it’s far easier to practice forgiveness having an open heart, rather than when having a closed one.
I know there are plenty who are way more guarded with their hearts than I am, but I look at many of the famous spiritual teachers who too had open hearts and constantly kept themselves in the line of fire, like Mother Theresa or Gandhi or Jesus, to name a few. And it’s those people I aspire to be more like in this life.
So, whether it’s better to have an open heart or not, is really not something I’m considering. Instead, it’s learning how to accept that when one has an open heart like I’m trying to maintain, that there’s always going to be those who lash out against me and when they do, I just need to seek my Higher Power for support. And that alone is what I find helps to keep having an open heart no matter what negativity may ever come my way…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson