I've chosen to be open.
Sometimes it sucks because when we don't numb our emotion, being open means we take the ups with the downs. It doesn't mean we don't have the power and choice to walk away, say "no" and set boundaries, but it does mean we engage with our truth.
It's important that we walk into the "arena" with tools- faith, good friends who will love us unconditionally, practices that bring us home- but more importantly, we walk in with courage. Deciding to be "all in" takes immense courage. And I can tell you that from my own experience.
There is no greater practice of courage than deciding to engage fully and be present to your truth.
The courage we practice to engage feels vulnerable, but it is also the birthplace of power, creativity, love, connection and belonging. Why? Because when we risk being real, when we can fully embrace where we're at, we also open up to these other parts that bring purpose, meaning and fulfillment to our lives.
Practicing courage may mean we face rejection, failure and hurt, but it's worth it. There will always be the risk, but to live a wholesome and fulfilling life for that risk is well worth it.
In the process of writing this article, I reflect back to a relationship I had in the past that didn't work out and needed to end. It hurt. It was shitty. But you know what? I don't regret one bit of it because I connected to another soul, learned more about myself (what I want and don't want), grew as a human and then walked away with peace in my heart. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Most of us don't have one perfect relationship for life. We live our lives and experience relationships so we can learn more, decide what we want more of, become more honest and loving beings and grow in the process.
Where we have a choice is in whether we grow from the experience or not. Whether we are willing to see the lessons that an experience is there to teach us and then apply these lessons to our lives and the choices we make.
This is what being engaged in the journey (while we carry the tools and supports that bring us home) is all about. It's about paying attention to how an experience makes us feel and then deciding if its aligned with our path or not. Then we get to choose what we do with this information. A question we might ask ourselves in this process is, "Is this _______ (job, relationship, habit..) making me a stronger version of myself?" Then we can choose to stay or walk away.