Closing your heart to pain seems logical
As a child who lost her parents at a young age, stuffing in pain and closing my heart started early. Childhood emotional neglect and sexual abuse only fortified the walls I was building stronger and higher. At some point in my emotional healing, I hit those walls head on. For that reason, my heart was number than your jaw after two shots of novocaine. As a result, no pain was getting in. Sadly, neither was any joy, excitement or other positive emotions. Accordingly, I learned that we can’t pick and choose which feelings we open or close our heart to. If we close our heart to negative emotion, we close our heart to all emotion.
Open your heart to a Bigger Life
Given the fact that I (like most people) want a full, joyful and adventurous life I decided it was time. Time to learn to live with an open heart. And here’s what I learned:
O – Own Your Inner Dialogue
As a consequence of a closed heart, our minds become hypercritical of ourselves and others. Regardless of whether we express that criticism or not, it’s swirling around in our heads. To stop this, we must transition to heart-opening activities like affirmations and kindness.
P – Protect Your Heart
If you’ve ever frequented church, you’ve likely heard the scripture about guarding your heart. However, it’s important that we are guarding our heart against the right things. Like greed, pride, dishonesty and other spiritual disconnects. It’s impossible to protect your heart from pain; it’s part of life. Granted there is a difference between living with an open heart and living a life without boundaries. Healthy boundaries are necessary and will allow you the freedom to live more open-hearted.
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. -Kahlil Gilbran tweet
E – Emotional Honesty
Holding back your negative emotions may stop you from feeling pain temporarily. However, long term it will hold you back from feeling the joy of positive emotions as well. It doesn’t mean sharing your misery with everyone that walks up but seeking healthy outlets for processing like a trusted mentor or counselor.
N – Non-attachment
Non-attachment is essentially a practice of presence and mindfulness. It is not allowing your sense of wellbeing to rely upon anything other than your awareness. It’s living in the present moment. And that’s where we live life!
Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow
Take a few moments and reflect on the level you are open-hearted with others.
- On a scale of one to ten (one closed, ten fully open), how open-hearted are you with family? Friends? Co-workers? Strangers?
- What is keeping you from being fully open with the people in your life? Is there an opportunity, to develop healthy boundaries so that you can be more fully open and available to people in your life?
- Who do you know that is open-hearted? Take an opportunity to thank them for modeling what being open-hearted looks like. Also think of a question or two that you can ask them to better understand how to get there.