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"I Want To Open But I'm Scared of Getting Hurt."

By Dr. Margaret Paul
July 15, 2013

Are you afraid to open your heart to love, for fear of getting hurt? Learn how to lovingly manage the hurt.

Woman on a farm looking at the sunset. Is it possible to fully love without getting hurt? The answer is unequivocally NO!

Is this because love hurts? Again, the answer is NO!

It is not love that hurts. It's loss of love that hurts. Love can be lost when a loved one dies, when a loved one rejects you and leaves, or when a loved one becomes mean, angry, abusive, distant or disconnected.

Janie asked the following question:

"I understand that in order to have a loving relationship with another person, I have to be willing to open up and let myself be seen, even when I feel vulnerable, and at the same time take care of myself. How can I open up to receive from the other if I am scared to be hurt?"

Good question Janie. The answer lies in learning how to manage hurt so that you are not so scared of it.

The reason most people are scared of being hurt is because they don't know how to manage the pain of loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness over others and outcomes.

The truth is that it is not possible to love without risking experiencing these very painful feelings. If you are afraid of them because you don't know how to lovingly manage them, then you will likely protect yourself from fully loving.

No one wants to be hurt. But living a life without love hurts more than managing the hurt that comes with loving.

The fear of being hurt is deeply rooted in our growing-up years. I've never met anyone who was not hurt by parents, siblings, friends, schoolmates, teachers or religious leaders. For most people, childhood was filled with many hurts. As little children, we were too small to manage these hurts, so we learned to close our heart and stay in our head to avoid the pain. It's all we knew to do.

However, as an adult, you can learn to manage the hurt, and managing it allows you to keep your heart open to loving. Since love and the pain of heartbreak exist in the same place in the heart, we cannot shut one down without shutting down the other.

Go inside and see which is more important to you – protecting against the pain of getting hurt, or being loving with yourself and others. You cannot do both at the same time.

Lovingly Managing Hurt

I have discovered a very simple, yet powerful way of managing hurt – the deep hurt of loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness over others. 

1. Name the feelings. One of the most important aspects of lovingly managing hurt is to name the hurt. There is something magical about saying to the hurting part of you – your feeling self, which is your inner child – "I know that right now you are feeling so heartbroken by what is happening with your partner (or your friend, your child, your parent), and that you are feeling very helpless over them. I understand how hard it is to feel this."

We all want acknowledgment for our feelings, and acknowledging these deeply painful feelings is vital for being able to release them. Naming them is a powerful way to acknowledge them.

2. Be kind and compassionate toward your painful feelings. When you feel hurt, you need understanding, kindness and compassion. Put your hands on your heart and be kind and compassionate with yourself - it is very healing to give this to yourself. Allow yourself to cry if you feel like crying, as tears are a healthy way of releasing these feelings out of your body.

3. Release the feelings to Spirit. When you feel ready, say, "I release these feelings to Spirit and ask for them to be replaced by peace and acceptance." You can feel your feelings moving out and being released.

4. Learn from them. Open to learning with your higher self about anything these feelings are teaching you about a person or situation. What truth are they telling you about this person or situation? Is there any loving action you need to take for yourself in this situation?

5. Take the loving action. Accept whatever truth you learn about, and take whatever loving action you need to take.

6. Notice how you feel now. Notice that you likely feel clear and released, and that this didn't take long at all. Notice that you CAN manage your painful feelings and that you no longer need to be afraid of the pain of loving.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."

Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.



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