You’ve probably had people who hurt you before.
It seems like life is full of hurts and pains. Sometimes bad things happen to us at the hands of people we thought were our friends or people we thought we could trust. Life is built from a collection of hurts that we’ve experienced over time.
I know this is true for me.
One of the ongoing turmoils I deal with is emotional pain. Things from my past, both self-inflicted wounds and wounds created by those I trusted, come back to haunt me. If I’m not careful, these thoughts will bind up my life and my potential. The same applies to you.
Dealing with hurt is something that you battle with, and you must overcome. The things you go through will begin to build emotional walls around your heart. These emotional walls serve to protect you and keep you safe from further hurt and pain from those you trust.
Frankly, I think it’s probably natural for these sorts of emotional walls to grow in your life. Who intends to be hurt over and over again by those you trust? Who intends to lose another friendship or be criticized or belittled by someone you love? I don’t know anyone who signs up for leadership hoping to be hurt.
So your life, like mine, is most likely constructed from emotional walls that serve to guard your heart against emotional pain, harsh, critical words, and demeaning actions that may come from a trusted friend, co-worker, or family member. You’d be crazy not to guard your emotions.
[clickToTweet tweet=”You can’t #lead people effectively from behind a protective emotional wall.” quote=”You can’t #lead people effectively from behind a protective emotional wall.” theme=”style2″]
But the thing is, you can’t lead people effectively from behind a protective emotional wall. They can’t hear you or see you clearly when you hide behind a wall to protect yourself. The fact is, leadership is made up of painful experiences. If you are going to lead people and be kind to them, you have to get ready and prepare your heart to feel hurt.
They can’t hear you or see you clearly when you hide behind an emotional wall to protect yourself. The fact is, leadership is made up of painful experiences. If you are going to lead people and be kind to them, you have to get ready and prepare your heart to feel hurt.
I think a good leader is regularly hurt by those they lead. Usually, people don’t hurt you on purpose. They don’t mean to say things that sting or undermine your efforts to serve them. People are fundamentally good; sometimes they just act before they think. Haven’t you been guilty of doing that before? I’m sure you have, I know I have.
How can a leader serve the injured with kindness and compassion, with empathy and love if to do so requires that they operate from behind a wall?
You cannot touch people that you cannot reach.
[clickToTweet tweet=”You cannot touch people that you cannot reach.” quote=”You cannot touch people that you cannot reach.” theme=”style2″]
So what is a leader to do? You have to break down your emotional walls and let people into the places of your life that seem most vulnerable. Honestly, this one thing is what stops most people from becoming the great leader they have the potential to be.
Jesus is a prime example of a man who was touchable. Everywhere he went, he put himself out there for people to access. Jesus held nothing back. When he encountered someone who was considered an outcast by society, Jesus wasn’t afraid to get close to them.
In fact, nearly all the miracles recorded about Jesus have physical touch or at least proximity associated with them. Jesus wasn’t afraid to get close to people. He knew that his mission in life and leadership would require personal sacrifice. If you are going to be a leader and touch people with love and kindness, proximity is the requirement.
People follow leaders that they can see up close. They want to know that the leader is real and that he or she understands them personally. You can’t be that kind of leader while you hide behind emotional walls.
The walls around your heart are not protecting you. They are keeping you from learning about people and coming close to those who you long to serve. The emotional walls you won’t deal with will eventually grow in every relationship you have. They will cut you off from those you care for and love. Leader or not, you don’t want to be a person who ends up separated from those you care for and those who care about you.
So how do you break down your emotional walls?
First of all, I believe you have to put yourself in positions that have the potential to hurt you.
This means that you have to start interacting with people. You have to open yourself up to them and let them see what you feel. Open up about who you really are.
I’ll be honest, writing this post isn’t very easy for me. There has been so much wall construction happening in my heart over the years. I’ve spent so much time trying to deconstruct what took years to build, but it is because I’ve realized that I’ll never be who I was created to be unless I deal with the walls in my heart.
You cannot be a leader inside a vacuum. It just doesn’t work that way.
Secondly, you need to allow God to have complete access to your heart.
Don’t try to hold anything back from him. For me, this has meant that I had to be real with God.
Most people aren’t real with God because they think there is a formula for what they should say to him. It’s like they think God only responds to people who know how to say the right words all the time. Let me assure you; God isn’t like that.
God is looking for the hurting, the needy, the discouraged, and his number one goal is to lift you up. He already knows about the stuff in your heart, so go ahead and be real with God. Pray for real. Tell him when you’re angry or upset. Allow God to get into the places that you’d normally keep people out of because doing so is the only way he can be close enough to fix what is wrong.
You can absolutely become the leader you desire to be and influence people. You’ll do it by tearing down your emotional walls. If this scares you, good, because you will never become the person you are meant to be, while living behind the walls surrounding your heart.
I’d love to connect with you more.
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