Remember when you got your first combination lock? I wrote that combination everywhere. Yet, I still had to get a couple locks cut off. Why? Because I couldn’t find the slips of paper. As you can imagine, it was a joy to tell my mother I needed another lock. As an adult, I played it safe and opted for gym locks with a key rather than trust my memory.
One of the funny consequences of having used combination locks is going through old shoeboxes of mementos and coming across an old lock. Though I had no clue of the combination, I’d generally still try once or twice before putting the lock back in the box. Why not throw It away? Some things — and people — I just grew accustomed to hanging onto, even though they’re locked and I don’t know the combination.
Ever done that with an old memento, or relationship? You’re clueless about what makes them happy or sad, or what sets them off. But, you keep reaching out. Sending an email or text, ‘just to say hello.’ As if you think one day you’ll come across a slip of paper with the combination to their heart and you want to be ready.
Or, maybe you’re the one who’s “locked” away and people who love you or want to get to know you better keep trying different combinations to get through. I know I locked away certain facets of my personality and heart after being emotionally bruised. Before that time, it seemed impossible for me to forget the combination to my heart, so I didn’t consider how and where to preserve the information. Once I was hurt, I fortified the lock by saying things like, “I’m good,”and “I’ve moved on.”
Sound familiar? No, the lies weren’t intentional. And neither were the consequences of pushing the combination further away, harder to find.
I can recall saying, “I’ll never get married again,” and meaning it with my whole heart. (Did you hear that lock?) In the moment, I wasn’t concerned with the emotional consequences of my statement. I simply wanted everyone to know their concerns were unwarranted. In years that followed, there was a period where men described me as unapproachable. Upon getting to know me, they shared their impression from afar: mean. It seems impossible to make that mistake now, but back then, I had forgotten the combination to my lock.
Are you being categorized in an unfamiliar or incorrect manner? Maybe you are like me and need to be reacquainted with how to open the lock that’s “protecting” your heart. Whether your situation was anywhere from unfair, to unwarranted, to jacked up, it’s never worth sentencing your heart to prison.
Replace the lock around your heart with one that has a key. Get a couple made for you and a friend. And save one for the day you encounter someone who can handle you. Hand over that key, and let them do the rest!