Safety With an Open HeartBy Dr. Margaret Paul
January 25, 2010
While you might believe that keeping your heart closed is the only way to feel safe, there is a far better way of feeling safe.
Do you live your life with your heart mostly open or mostly closed? Do you spend most of your time protecting against rejection or being taken advantage of, or most of your time open to sharing love with others?
As children, many people had very heartbreaking experiences that caused them to close their heart. What experiences led to you closing your heart?
- Various forms of physical and/or sexual abuse
- Various forms of emotional abuse, such as criticism, judgment, blame, ridicule, or sarcasm
- Being neglected, ignored, discounted, unseen
- Being engulfed and smothered by a parent - pulled on and used to fill up their emptiness
- Rejection by parents, siblings, and/or peers
- Loss of a parent through divorce or death
- Loss of a beloved sibling, friend, or relative
- Physical defects that created limitation
As children, when you experienced any of these and other very challenging situations, and there was no one there to lovingly help you through the pain, the heartbreak may have been too intense for you to manage and you might have closed your heart to survive. You may have learned to be in your head rather than your heart.
However, now, as adults, keeping your heart closed has many negative consequences. While it was necessary for your survival as a child, now it is causing you a lot of pain. As adults, we all need to learn to lovingly manage our heartbreak without closing down.
What Happens Now When You Keep Your Heart Closed?
- I feel alone and empty inside
- I can't feel connected with others
- I turn to various addictions - food, drugs, alcohol, TV, sex, talking, anger, blame, and so on, to fill my emptiness and take away my aloneness
- My relationships are unsatisfying
- Life is not fun
- I feel anxious and/or depressed
- I get sick a lot
These are just a few of the many negative consequences of keeping your heart closed.
Are you afraid to open your heart? Are you afraid of being hurt and rejected, controlled and used? Are you afraid that if you open your heart you will not be able to manage the heartache, heartbreak, loneliness, sadness, and sorrow of life?
How Can You Keep Your Heart Open And Still Feel Safe?
You will start to feel safe when you learn to take emotional responsibility - responsibility for your own feelings. As a child, your body was too small to handle the big feelings of heartbreak and loneliness without the help of a loving adult. Today, your body is big enough to handle these feelings, but you still need the help of a loving adult. The difference is that now the loving adult needs to be you. You need to learn to be the loving adult capable of managing the painful feelings of life so that you don't need to close your heart and turn to addictions.
The loving adult is who we are when we are connected with a powerful source of spiritual guidance. When we are not connected with our Source, we are operating from our programmed mind - our wounded self. Our wounded self, coming from many fears and false beliefs, is not capable of handling the painful feelings of life. This is the part of you that closes your heart to protect against pain, yet is now causing much of your pain.
When you move out of the intent to protect against pain and into the intent to learn about loving yourself and others, then you move out of your programmed mind and into your connection with a spiritual source of love and wisdom. When you choose the intent to learn rather than the intent to protect, your heart naturally opens. It is your intent to protect against pain with various forms of controlling behavior that keeps your heart closed.
Today, choose the intent to learn about loving yourself and others and notice how you feel.
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Today, think about what you do that makes you feel invisible to others. Do you give in to others rather than stand in your truth? Do you avoid asking for what you want to avoid rejection? Do you act like everything is okay when it isn't? Do you agree with others to avoid conflict? Do you ignore your own feelings but attend to others' feelings? If you sometimes feel invisible, notice what you may be doing to create this.
By Dr. Margaret Paul