We all desire to feel sublimely connected to another person. It's how we're wired.
We want love. We want intimacy. We want the sense of wholeness and completion that comes from bonding with another human being. So why do so many of us have trouble either finding love, or keeping it once we have it?
Well, there's one big mistake that we're all guilty of making.
We close ourselves off from deep connection, often without knowing it, and this becomes the biggest saboteur of love.
In this article, I'm going to talk about why it's so common for us to unconsciously wall our hearts off, why this keeps love out of our lives, and how to turn the process around.
Let's start with this: We've all been hurt in relationships. All of us. No exceptions.
Whether the pain occurred early in life, whether your heart got broken by your first love, or whether you're currently in the midst of heartache, we've all experienced the pain that comes from a relationship breakdown.
Naturally, when we get hurt so badly, we're going to move into protection mode. Of course! We want to block ourselves off; we don't want to feel that kind of pain again!
But guess what? Blocking yourself off from connection to other people creates another kind of pain — a dull, lonely, longing pain. A pain that cannot be met or soothed as long as you remain at a distance from others.
Many of us are doing just this — blocking our hearts away from love — and we don't even realize it! Here's how we do it:
We don't fully commit. We don't get close. We don't act authentically. We try to to be someone we aren't.
We become too hard. We become too soft. We become too nice. We push. We manipulate. We control. We force.
And, as a result, we feel very distanced from love. (Not to mention exhausted.)
Basically any behavior that is fear-driven, inauthentic, and trying to protect yourself is, essentially, blocking you from love.
So this creates quite a predicament for us, doesn't it? What do we do?
We have to start by understanding this: None of us want to get hurt again, but unfortunately, it's going to happen.
I know you don't want it to; I don't either. But there's no other option. If you choose to live your life with an open heart, you're signing up to experience it all.
You essentially have two choices: You can live your life in protection mode, blocking your heart off, yet not fully connecting in a way that deeply satisfies you. Or you can live with an open heart and feel the fullness of life — all the bliss, all the connection, all the challenges, all the suffering.
It's your choice.
Living with an open heart is a practice. Like anything else, it's not like you arrive at "the land of open hearts" and remain there forever. You have to continue to choose to open yourself back up again and again.
You, like rest of us, are trained to close yourself down through the pain. Those on the path of the open heart recognize when they're closing, collapsing, running, distancing, or being fake, and they consciously make a decision to do it differently. Time and time again.
You close. You reopen. You close again. Open again. Back and forth. Like all practices, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
I believe there's an innate desire within us to be closely connected to others. It's what we really want. And the only thing holding us back is our fear of getting hurt.
Move past the fear. Open again. Choose connection. The fullness of your life will expand greatly as a result.
Please leave a comment below, telling us your experience with opening and closing to love. I look forward to hearing from you.