Originally posted at Hello, Darling. (Thanks!)

I was ranting again. I can’t even say about what, because it was so slight and unmemorable. However, I can positively say I was rabid with indignation. In the middle of my verbal tirade, my friend paused and said, “You really hold some vicious grudges.”

I was completely taken aback. Long after the conversation ended, those words echoed in my mind.  I began to think about all the people who are no longer a part of my life. The ones I have sworn off, or closed doors of friendship in their faces. The ones I burnt the bridges between us so they could never reach me again. The number of discarded people I hoped I would never see again dumbfounded me.

Why are countless names scratched off my heart? Why are things always definitively over? Why is there never room for reconciliation and redemption? The answer kept floating around me in two bitter words: vicious grudges. Those words were a battering ram, slamming against my hard heart. As it weakened, I realized my friend had nailed it. I do hold vicious grudges. No, I don’t just hold them. I cling to them for dear life, because I feel like that is what is at stake – my life.

From the most insignificant slight, to the brutal life changing lacerations, I turn each and every one into a brick, which comprise the walls of my fortress. I tuck my heart away in there, and not really so it can’t be broken again, but so you can’t break it in the first place. I hide myself away.

Hiding is the opposite of bravery. Withholding is the opposite of authenticity.

Courage is required to let people in. Courage is required to let things go. Courage is required to put yourself out there and trust someone will cherish you even if only for a moment. Human nature dictates we will always have disappointments; however, instead of holding on to my grudges (or making new ones), I have to firmly trust and believe it isn’t because of bad people that hate me and don’t want to be my friend. It is simply because they are human, just like me.

Disappointment and let down is going to happen, but I don’t have to hide myself away because of it. Instead of cowardly turning my upsets into barriers, I want the courage to authentically express my hurt, so hearts can be mended and relationships can be restored.

I want to be brave.