The Cost of a Hardened Heart

An Important Conversation 

These days, there’s a lot of conversation in the workplace around the idea of hard skills vs. soft skills. Various camps adamantly defend the virtues of technical excellence or emotional intelligence, but the truth is, both are incredibly important.

In this article, however, we’re going to dive into a topic that, while impactful for the working world, it holds even greater influence over our lives as a whole. Let’s begin with a simple question to frame the conversation:

What if one of your goals for the year was to keep your heart from becoming hard?

Hard Hearts vs. Soft Hearts

Some people grow softer with age, enjoying the changes of seasons and rolling with the punches that inevitably appear in the everyday circumstances of life. They grow, adapt, and face the unknown with an intentional humility.

Other people grow more bitter and cynical. The pain of the last let down casts a shadow on the potential hope of the new. The heart becomes hard. The pain becomes seared in the memory so deeply that any potential new opportunity is mitigated.

To keep your heart softened is to believe the best in others – to fight for their highest possible good, no matter the outcome.

To keep your heart hardened is to do nothing intentional, but rather to just keep taking the hits and talking circles in your head about why this person should have done this, or why that opportunity should have played out differently, but didn’t.

The Cost of a Hardened Heart

The hardened heart becomes a protective shell that keeps the light out of the right areas and eventually suffocates the life that was once there. The hardening might protect for the short term, but it kills the soul in the long term.

To soften your heart means that you learn to become secure, confident, and humble so that you can actually learn to live again. The best way to do that is to deal with forgiveness, focus on others with consistency, and prioritize connecting with your values in a real way.

The Choice is Yours

When we refuse to extend forgiveness, we tend to not receive it from others, not to mention the fact that we often struggle to find an ability to forgive ourselves. When we focus on ourselves more than others, we eventually find that life is lonelier with our own interests at the center, rather than investing in relationships and the good of others. And when we skim over the things that make us who we are and give life it’s meaning, we lose our compass and become a rudderless ship tossed about by the whims of life.

But a person with a softened heart garners greater influence.

A person with a hardened heart drives everyone away.

The choice is yours.