I Used To Be Open With My Feelings, But Not Anymore

I used to be a woman who always told guys exactly how I felt. I was never afraid to be vulnerable and I always opened myself up fully to love. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve, but those days are long gone. Here’s why I’ve changed:

  1. I didn’t live happily ever after. In fact, I think wearing my heart on my sleeve is the exact reason my heart ended up broken repeatedly. I thought that if I was open, honest and vulnerable, that’s exactly how a man would fall for me. I thought that’s how all fairytales started, but I was wrong. That’s how tragedies start, apparently.
  2. Holding my cards close to my chest is the only way to play it safe. If I’m going to stay in the game, I have to play smarter. I can’t keep opening up to men before they’ve gained my trust. Instead of laying it all on the line from day one, I’m going to reveal myself slowly, piece-by-piece and card-by-card. I can’t hand a man all the ammunition to break my heart. From now on, I’m going to be more in control of my love life.
  3. I can’t live for love anymore. At some point, I need to start living for myself, and that point is now. I used to think my life’s mission was to find love, but along the way I realized that I want so much more than just a guy in my life. I can do something more in my life than just be the girl on some guy’s arm. I used to think that romantic love was the only thing that made the world go round, but I’m capable of so much more than that. I wore my heart on my sleeve because love was my life goal, but I have bigger dreams than that now.
  4. I won’t let a man hold too much power over me. Wearing my heart on my sleeve meant I let any man I loved into my heart too far too fast. I let him hold my heart in his bare hands and that gave him the ability to crush it. From now on, I’m going to be the one in control of my heart. I’m not bitter, I’m just learning how to be strong because no matter how hard I fall, I still need to have power over my own life.
  5. I have to learn from my past mistakes. All I’ve ever done is wear my heart on my sleeve and that hasn’t gotten me very far. It’s time to try something new. If being too open to love is what got me hurt, then maybe I need to be more closed off in the future. I’m not saying I won’t ever let love in, I’m just saying I need to reign it in. I still believe in love, I’m just going to act much more slowly and keep my feelings more internal.
  6. From now on, I’m going to protect my heart. I can’t put my heart out in the open where anyone could break it — not anymore. Now that I know what heartbreak feels like, I’ve realized that wearing my heart on my sleeve was foolish, to begin with. To others, it might sound as if I’m bitter and closed off, but in reality, I’m just doing what any smart girl would do —protecting myself.
  7. I won’t say how I feel until I’m truly ready. Wearing my heart on my sleeve made me rush into serious relationships far too quickly. From now on, I’m going to take things slow. I want to find love, but the next time I do, I want it to actually last. Instead of jumping and risking it all, I’m going to wait until I’m sure about how I feel before I say the words out loud.
  8. I won’t be honest with someone who can’t be honest with me. I need to know that I can trust a guy before I open myself up to one again, so until he’s ready to share his true feelings with me, I won’t be ready to share mine. I’ve been the one to say, “I love you” first too many times. The next time around I’m going to wait for him to say it first because that’s how I’ll know we’re on the same page, and that our love is actually real.
  9. Making myself too vulnerable is the easiest way to get hurt. That’s why I’m learning how to put my guard up and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I can’t just tell every man I meet my life story. I need to be more cautious than that. Just because I feel a spark, doesn’t mean he’s “The One” or even that he’s a good guy. I’ll work my way up to vulnerable eventually, but I think from now on, it’s a good idea to start each relationship with my guard on full alert.
  10. I’m still looking for love. I’m just not as naïve as I was before. I started out bright-eyed because I’d never been hurt before, but getting my heart broken changed everything. I know now that things don’t magically fall into place just because I want them to. Some people might think I’m turning my back on love, but I’m not. I’m still the same girl who wants to find her happily ever after I’m just doing it in a different way.
  11. I realized that sometimes love isn’t enough. No matter how much I love someone or how much I put my whole heart into a relationship, it doesn’t mean that love and effort will be returned. I realized that throwing myself passionately into every relationship doesn’t mean it’s going to last. Sometimes love isn’t enough and that’s why I need to keep my heart protected until I know I’ve found something that will truly last.
Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and been writing professionally since graduating in 2013. In addition to writing about love and relationships for Bolde and lifestyle topics for Love to Know, she also writes about payment security and small business solutions for PaymentCloud.

Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. Kelsey enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.

You can find more about Kelsey on her LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @dykstrakelsey.