In Buddhism there is a phrase I love~hungry ghosts. This is the term for those with big empty bellies and small narrow throats who are starving for nourishment but can’t take in enough to satisfy their raging hunger. They are incapable of taking in all that is there for them until they can open enough to receive.
This is a common problem today for most of us. Wanting love, respect, affection. Having the desire to be truly seen by another, truly heard. But being incapable of receiving all that is there for us because we are hard of heart, and narrow of mind. We feel we must protect ourselves from hurt, disrespect, or injury so we close off and shut down. Our hearts become narrow and hard due to our cynicism and all we want is locked away from us, by our own behaviors and choices.
It is so easy to keep ourselves “safe”, and so damned sad that we feel we have to. We train ourselves to become cowards, unwilling to take any risks, or give any opening to softness. We have become our own prisoners of war, with no one to wear bracelets in our memory until we release ourselves.
The amazing thing is this: when we open our hearts and step out, those we feared would hurt us in some way are cowering there in their own prison of safety, looking at us in hope and wonder that they too might be able to unlock their hearts and step into life. We can be, by example, the saviors of the souls we protected ourselves from so unnecessarily. And if they still fear, and throw rocks through the bars, we can give them our compassion and understanding until they are ready to breathe the fresh air of possibility.
And then, with a heart wide open, we can take in all the love that is here for us, and thrive.