When I was a part of a religious organization, this was a phrase I heard often, if not daily. There are some things from the time in my life that were not the most positive, but I will say that there is so much that I learned during that time that still applies to my life today.
Often it was used in reference to dating. But really, the heart should be guarded at all costs and in any situation. Do I think it needs to be locked in a cage with cement walls & locks and destroy the key? No, not that extreme. But I do think it’s beneficial to our emotional health to be mindful of who & what we are allowing to pierce our most precious organ.
Sometimes we give so much of ourselves to our friends, our partners, our jobs that we forget to keep a good chunk just for ourselves. When you are giving this much to everything else, you develop expectations. But there comes a moment (or multiple moments) where you realize that your expectations may never be met. You’ve tried to explain a hundred times to your friend who keeps doing that thing that hurts your feelings. You’re looking for professional growth in a field that you have no vested interest in. You’re accepting a half-assed imitation of a gentleman/gentlewoman in your life when all you want is some respect.
The hardest, but the best, thing you can do for yourself is take your heart back & guard it. Because on the other side of all those situations, you won’t find an equally sad, overwhelmed, or burned out person. 99% of the time the offender does not really care ENOUGH how their actions affect you to actually see it in a difference perspective. So you’ve got to figure out how to help yourself out. Because you can’t continue to spend all this energy on expectations that will simply never be met. In some cases, that means the end of a relationship. In other cases it doesn’t have to be as drastic as that, but you will need to reevaluate your side of the relationship/friendship/employment and see where you can release these unattainable expectations in order to gain some peace for yourself.
And going forward, as you develop new relationships, work on old ones, and enter new situations, you will now be much more aware of who & what you are spreading your love to. Only the most deserving should even be considered. And it’s hard to decide who/what the “most deserving” is; this is always different for everyone & won’t always make the most sense. But the more you treat your heart right, the more it’ll let you know what it can or can’t/won’t tolerate.
Find some peace! Don’t let others steal your joy. And remember:
“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”