Stef Sifandos
Relational Alchemist, Community Builder & Changemaker

The Contracted Heart4-7 min read

We spend so much of our lives protecting ourselves from hurt, pain and fear. We retract ourselves and in dong so also retract and hide our gifts from the world and from ourselves.

Whenever we are unable to express, communicate and be fully ourselves, we become confused about who we are and where we belong. I feared judgement and ridicule for so much of my life and hid so much of myself from the world.

Masks were the norm and I would sense that in others too. It was like an exclusive club, we would walk by each other and feel the hidden pain, the self-judgment, the embarrassment or the anguish in the mind – we would nod, knowing something was being covered, but nothing was said. Covering up all our pain was like wearing a badge of honour.

But we couldn’t escape it because openness was too scary – the potential for ridicule, judgment, to be ostracised or to be excluded was too much. The alternative to pretend to be someone we are not to ‘fit in’.

To control ourselves in such rigidity that we also hide the best parts of who we are. We protect our hearts with armour so that we don’t feel the pain that we (the mind) anticipates. When the heart is not leading in life, the monkey mind runs rampant. We need to feel fully in order to be full and whole. This includes the entire spectrum of emotion.

The stories, the fallacy, the facade, the lies. The mind carries on and on and on. Limiting us from exposure. But it is this very exposure that liberates us, provides us with a sense of freedom and a feeling of openness. How much better do you feel when you are able to express repressed thoughts, ideas or feelings. You feel free, yes?

In restriction fear festers. Our fears lead our actions and behaviours. They permeate our relationships and our hearts instead of thriving, we wilt away and dry up. Our relationships become stagnant breeding grounds for resentment and suffering. We become distant and isolated.

This is not natural and when we experience this, we suffer immensely. Our emotional facilities carry no outlet for communication and expression, therefore never really knowing ourselves we act in facade. Giving to the world substandard and fractured versions of ourselves.

We are seen as untrustworthy, as we are unpredictable and not authentic. We are hiding, therefore how can we be trusted? We lose that which we value because we contract our heart in fear of ‘being hurt’. What hurts more? Resentment and a life not fully explored or being hurt, learning, growing and then expanding in to a greater version of self? 

I have learned through suffering and conscious contraction. I do not regret my decisions of past, as the insight has been tremendous. However, we needn’t all learn from pain. We can grow from indirect experience and rely on each other’s experiences to grow.

A contracted heart is a dismal heart. The heart symbolically represents our ability to be whole, integrated and free in mind, body and spirit. The heart is not a weakness, it is our greatest strength and when opened from a place of discernment and verticality becomes your most powerful ally.

One is always glad to be of service.

Stef Sifandos
Relational Alchemist, Community Builder & Changemaker
Stef Sifandos
Relational Alchemist, Community Builder & Changemaker

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