If we are not careful, the older we get the more excuses we can have for why we cannot love.
We all get hurt, we all lose love, we all let go of someone we wanted to draw near, and yet some of us can keep our hearts open while others build great walls around theirs. It is a natural response to move away from pain and seek protection from it. We may need to withdrawal for a bit and put some walls up to separate ourselves from the person associated with our hurting. This may be essential in the early stages of healing, but it is not a long-term strategy. If we stay in this space too long we can block ourselves from our own healing and prevent others from connecting deeply.
We can even alter our posture by rounding the shoulders in to protect our gentle hearts. When we do this, we create great strain in the body and block the normal flow of energy. It is far better protection to have the energy of our hearts open and flowing than to cut off that flow. We can do this with breath work or heart opening yoga and meditation practices and the intention of opening our heart when we feel ourselves closing down. It can be an ongoing process to keep our hearts open! It takes a lot of trust to open our heart after we have been hurt. The thing is we most likely will get hurt again so there is no promise that once we heal we will not be injured again. We didn’t come here to planet Earth with a promise that we wouldn’t hurt—in fact, it is almost the opposite! We came here to learn, and just like learning how to walk there are bumps and falls involved. When we adopt an attitude of learning from our experiences and thanking the past lovers who have come into our lives (either mentally or energetically) we can release a lot of hurt. Yes, our past lovers didn’t meet all of our needs. Yes, some of them hurt us. Yes, we didn’t speak our needs for them to be met in the first place. And yes, we hurt some loves, too.
When we can begin exploring the fullness and depth in each intimate encounter we can find some additional wisdom that was unavailable when our heart was closed to acknowledging past love. Ho'oponopono is a powerful practice to explore with all of our exes or anyone we have a particular challenge with. If we have been abused there are even more layers to heal. The first one is our love for ourselves. Our self-worth can be greatly diminished when we find ourselves living within an abusive situation or as a survivor of childhood abuse. Finding all the ways to fall in love with ourselves is essential before we can open our hearts to others. We may find ourselves falling into abusive relationships again if we don’t break the pattern within ourselves.
Falling in love with ourselves is easier said than done at first, so be gentle and patient with your self-loving.
First, we can take a look at our thoughts about ourselves. We may find that what we think about ourselves is actually the thoughts of others that we have taken for truths about ourselves. Maybe we had a parent who was negative and critical, a teacher who was domineering and overly demanding, a bully who called us names, a lover who manipulated us by belittling us into thinking we were worthless. Maybe all of these voices are playing through our heads in each moment and we have been accepting them or trying to ignore them for years. Either method takes a lot of energy! This is where meditation is so useful. We can sit with these voices, let them have their turn to speak, and then tell them they no longer serve us, and let them go. In Kundalini Yoga we use a mantra like Sat Nam which means “I am truth” each time a useless thought comes up. Even saying your own name to yourself changing a thought like “I am so stupid” to “I am [Your Name]” can be a powerful practice. We may have to catch each voice in action a hundred times, but what we will find is that with time the thoughts become quieter and more infrequent. Bringing a meditation practice into our daily routine is huge for stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. Then, we can explore how to cultivate physical self-love.
Take a break from magazine and photoshopped images and look up ancient god/goddess figurines or museum art work to see the beauty of natural or mythic bodies. Find that same beauty as you gaze at your own form. Explore how your body works—each system in the body is an intricate dance that can offer us wonder if we take the time to think about all that our bodies do in each moment. We are truly miraculous so let yourself feel it. If there is anywhere in the body that needs particular healing, touch yourself gently and lovingly there, directing the breath to this place and filling it with love. With each focused breath, send appreciation for each part of your body and then feel into your own wholeness, owning your entire body and filling into it. To take this further, turn your awareness into the space around you. You could call it your aura or your electromagnetic field, but the space around you holds many layers of our being that need our healing attention too. Especially if we have been violated by another, it is essential to breathe energy into this field and expand this bubble of energy around us. The smaller our aura, the more of a target we become. When our energy field is expanded we find ourselves feeling more energized, more attractive, and more at ease. There are simple practices like aura charge that can boost your aura. Breathing deeply and imagining your energy field growing and glowing is a simple way to feel better and more in love with yourself.
Honoring who we are and our gifts, talents, and passions can help us remember our brilliance and let that shine in the world. This helps us open our hearts and trust that we will be met with the same love and brilliance that we are offering. Know we can shift our awareness to appreciation for others in our lives. Appreciating the lessons we receive from others, their positive attributes, and their beauty can help us heal and can open us to having genuine compassion and love towards others. This adds to our radiance and makes us even more attractive to those who would really appreciate our gifts and beauty. This creates a beautiful cycle of heart opening. Even when it hurts, having an open heart is far less painful then closing down. Brick by brick dismantle the walls around your heart and let your love flow like it was meant to. No excuses!