There’s great joy when someone creates the space for us to be seen, heard, and understood. And we often feel lonely even when surrounded by others when this space is not created. But inasmuch as we desire this space for ourselves, we must be willing to create this space for others as well.
To be sure, there’s a certain vulnerability that comes with sharing our hearts. We don’t know if the other will care for the things important to us. And we’re naturally reluctant to keep opening up when this hasn’t been handled well in the past.
As such, it’s not unusual for those we’re in relationship with to have many self-defensive walls around their heart. And it’s not always the case that we’ve done something in particular to cause them harm. But they perceive the natural risk and uncertainty in sharing their vulnerable self all the same.
It’s tempting to take this personally and to shut down ourselves or to blow up at them when we feel they’re holding back on us. But however justified we are in our feelings, blaming them for protecting themselves generally doesn’t get them to open up any more.
They’re protecting themselves for a reason. And even when this reason is not primarily about us, we can still play our part in creating a safer space for them to open up and to share.
A safer space is not eliminating all risks. But it is communicating we will respect and care for their heart and whatever they choose to share with us. While this includes taking the time to truly listen and understand as best we can, it’s also clear we will honor their inherent dignity and worth while they’re in relationship with us.
To love well includes creating this space for others to feel greater peace in opening up and sharing their hearts.
The world is full of many who are lonely and afraid and desperately longing for someone to create the space for them to be seen and deeply loved. Play your part in creating this space for others.