Recognize that line? It's from one of my favorite movies. But today, I'm not going to talk about movies, or "spooks" in the traditional sense but the ghosts of our past--and how those ghosts haunt us.
After a bad break-up, we tell ourselves that we'll never make that same mistake again. So we go into our next relationship cautious and unwilling to give the next person the same benefits of doubt that we gave the one who hurt us. That first relationship is now a ghost that continually haunts us until we shake it loose.
But shaking it loose isn't easy, is it? It requires faith--a huge leap of faith. It requires letting down walls and wincing and feeling the fear and doing it anyway. And sometimes we don't want to let go of those ghosts because they actually give us a sense of comfort because we know them, because we've lived with them for so long. And there's almost a perverse sense of security and maybe even victory that comes with knowing that we're "ready" for the next person to try to hurt us because we're not going to let them in.
I am all for self-preservation, but what if in our attempts to self-preserve we lock out the one person who's just perfect for us? What if our walls have been so fortified that Cupid's arrow can't find our hearts? What if the weight we've gained to stay safe actually hurts our health? What if spending all those nights alone at home hardens our hearts so that we aren't able to even recognize that soul mate who has been looking for us?
At that point, it's not self-preservation any more, folks--it's self-neglect. As humans, we are social animals. Just as the noted 17th century poet/preacher John Donne wrote, "No man is an island" in his Sermon XVII, we aren't meant to be alone.
I know--first hand, mind you--how frightening the entire prospect is...that opening up oneself to the possibility of love means exposing oneself to the possibility of pain. But it also means opening up oneself to the possibility of bliss--and I, for one, am willing to take the risk. How about you? Banish the ghosts to Halloween and take a chance on love.
Have a fantastic Friday, and thank you for reading! I hope that reading this helps someone as much as writing it helps me!
(Oh, and in case you're still trying to place that movie line: It's the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.)