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I have not been one for wearing my heart on my sleeve. However, when listening to the song Ever, Ever After from the Enchanted Soundtrack, one phrase caught my attention.
“Start a new fashion, wear your heart on your sleeve.”
I heard within those words an invitation that ultimately, I could not ignore. Ever, Ever After became my song for this year, and for good reason. I have much to learn from it.
What does it mean, wearing my heart on my sleeve?
Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve means openly showing feelings and emotions, rather than keeping them hidden away. Because being open about feelings brings with it vulnerability and exposure, there is much debate on whether this is a good practice or not!
Those who have been hurt in love tend to hide away their hearts, to protect them from further pain. Exposing the heart again, after heartbreak, feels too risky.
Dwelling on those particular lyrics from the song, curiosity led me to Google, to see how the phrase came to be.
The words were first expressed in Shakespeare’s play, Othello, spoken by Iago. He says showing his feelings would be like wearing his heart on his sleeve, where birds could peck at it. In other words, to be open with his feelings could cause him to come under painful attack. Most of us understand his concern.
Why are we afraid to wear our hearts on our sleeves?
Simply expressed, we are afraid of getting hurt, especially where love is concerned. A person loves another. That other person loves someone else. That hurts. A person gathers the courage to tell someone “I love you”. The other person says “It’s just a game to me”. More hurt. People fall in love. They change over time and their love changes too. Suddenly those people no longer know each other.
We protect that which has been hurt. A broken heart is easier to tend to, we think, than staying open with our feelings and risking further pain.
It’s the second oldest pain in the world…unreciprocated love…right behind experiencing loss. A major reoccurring theme in stories and songs, from the beginning of time, is being hurt in pursuit of love or by those we love.
Consider wearing my heart on my sleeve? No, I protected my heart. Like many people, the path of love hasn’t been easy for me to navigate. And in addition, I learned to hide my emotions while still a child. For years my heart stayed barricaded behind a thick wall of protection.
Opening my Heart
And yet…. I’ve learned that keeping my heart shut away keeps other vital parts of myself locked away as well. Reading Michael A. Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, helped me to understand how a closed heart has energy that circles around and around without being able to pass through the body in a healthy way.
A closed heart can’t feel fully, due to fear. A closed off heart reacts to fresh experiences that trigger old pain. I chose, six years ago, to open up my heart, let emotions flow, and feel again. This has not been an overnight transformation. It is a journey that continues. Which is why the song Ever, Ever After came to me.
True Love’s Kiss
In my song for 2019, there are lyrics that are sung in the background, that I initially reacted to. In fact, when I shared the song in the blog post linked up above, I purposefully avoided mentioning them. Why? I didn’t like them.
“I’ve been dreaming of a true love’s kiss.”
I left the words out of my blog post and I didn’t like them because they don’t apply to me. I’m not dreaming of a true love’s kiss. Far from it.
However, thinking about wearing my heart on my sleeve, thinking about this song, brought realizations.
Often, in fairy tales and enchanted stories, a true love’s kiss awakens one who is sleeping. Ah. On some level, all of us long to be awakened by such a kiss.
I spent years “sleeping” and dreaming. And I have kissed myself awake, with the truest and deepest of love. My dreaming drew me toward living a bigger life and finally I woke myself up, with the help of authors and speakers and individuals whose words, action and lives inspired me. A dozen tiny kisses helped me to rise from my slumber. Yet the truest of kisses came from my own growing awareness.
Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve
I’m taking this song seriously. Wearing my heart on my sleeve means keeping my heart open and expressing my feelings and my emotions freely. It means being vulnerable. I refuse to hide. And I will not allow my heart to close, for any reason.
Imagine the heavy burden that the world carries, at an energetic level, from thousands of years of pain birthed from the messiness of love…and from loss. Imagine the burden the human heart bears. Tucked away within each heart, pain strengthens the wall erected to keep hurt away. The problem is, that wall keeps out joy as well. That pain is restless and stirs when something triggers old hurts. It’s time for the barricades to come down.
And imagine if more and more people released old painful energy and freed their hearts to love more fully. What would that do for their lives? What would that do for the world?
Wearing my heart on my sleeve is an act of courage for me. It is a risk I am willing to take. Will I get hurt? Possibly. Will my heart expand and fill with incredible joy and light? Definitely.
A Visual Reminder
My daughter-in-law designs and sells shirts. What a great visual reminder of the truth I am living out. I’ll have MiliLou Styles create a shirt, with a heart on the left sleeve and these words across the front…
I am wearing my heart on my sleeve.
Are you dreaming of a true love’s kiss? Are you ready to wake up? Or perhaps you are already wearing your heart on your sleeve.
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