How do you open your heart to love again after you've been hurt? It’s a question that has plagued me since my own marriage ended a few years ago. I realized that the barrier to love wasn’t external. Most of the resistance was coming from within myself.
These are all things that can hold you back from finding and embracing a new relationship. Let go of them to find real love.
1. Outdated patterns
We all form beliefs based on the relationship experiences we've had. Our minds love to find patterns and then use those patterns to interpret new stimulus. The thing is, the patterns that made sense in your previous relationship are irrelevant now. They'll keep you from understanding reality rather than help you.
You have to remind yourself that the past won’t repeat itself, that you’ve grown and learned more about yourself, and that things can be different now.
2. Past relationships
Even if your past relationship has ended, you might not have let go of it. You might be holding onto past memories, hoping that you will rekindle your former relationship. Or you might believe that your next relationship will be like your last one. You expect failure.
If you hold onto your past relationships after they are over, you won’t be giving your new partner a chance. You can open your heart to someone new only if you let go of the past.
3. Unhealthy behaviors
We've all recognized behavior or attitudes that hurt our relationships. What changes can you make in your life? What kind of person can you become?
You don’t have to remain arrogant, egoistical, or demeaning. If you have qualities that are detrimental to the kind of relationship you want, be willing to work on them.
4. Doomsday thinking
You’re not doing yourself any favors by constantly imagining the worst-case scenario. You’re not going to be single, alone, and childless for the rest of your life. It doesn’t help to hold onto this thought. Your thoughts have vibrations and tend to affect your behavior.
Cut out the end of the world/no one loves me/I’m going to die single, alone, and poor thinking.
Your thoughts are your reality. Change your thoughts, and you’ll see a change in your circumstances.
You can’t love someone else until you love yourself. No one else can complete you but you. Do the work to cultivate love within. Speak to yourself like you would to a love one. Watch for thoughts of self-rejection or resentment and root them out.
6. Defense mechanisms
If you’ve built a wall around your heart so that no one will hurt you, you’re not ready for love or a relationship. Relationships require you to come out of your comfort zone, to take risks, and to be vulnerable. If your heart is closed, you either won’t attract love or will be doomed to relationships that don't last.
If you have a list of 20 items you’re looking for in a partner, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, or you may miss out on a great relationship entirely.
Likely, no such person exists and you probably wouldn't actually want the person who ticks all those boxes anyway. The lists we have are usually superficial qualities that don't take into account compatibility or shared values.
The more you’re set on a list of qualities in a partner, the more likely you are to skip over someone who is right for you.
Along the lines of mythical lists, do you have unrealistic expectations about your partner? The more expectations you have about their career, their personality, and how you’d like your partner to be, the more likely you won’t keep that relationship.
You can’t expect someone to be a certain way or act a certain way. You can only do your part and be the most authentic and truthful person you can be.
9. Bitterness and anger
You can’t hold onto bitterness and anger from the past if you want to move forward. Forgive yourself, forgive those who have hurt you. If you can’t forgive today, set the intention to forgive. Forgiveness will help you lower the walls around your heart and soften the edges of your soul.
If you’re ready to fall in love tomorrow, be willing to forgive the people who hurt you today.