THE BLOG
01/03/2014 06:39 pm ET Updated Mar 05, 2014

Listen to Your Heart

I always thought the best way to protect your heart was to keep it hidden behind walls -- layers of beliefs, masks you show the world. I figured that was the easiest way to ensure you didn't get hurt.

But it occurred to me a few weeks ago that by walling off my heart, I was closing myself off to the possibility of love -- love for myself, for my friends, family and significant other. And that is a shame, and a cross I no longer wish to bear.

So a few weeks ago I made a conscious decision to release those walls, open to the vulnerability that is life -- knowing my heart might get broken in the process but at the same time knowing that is exactly what needed to happen for me to heal.

And break open it did. As the layers of walls came tumbling down so too did the years of emotions I had locked away.

And it hurt. Oh, how it hurt. There have been days when all I wanted to do was erect those walls again because it hurt too much. Slam the door to my heart shut and throw away the key because I was tired of being blinded by my tears.

But I knew if I took the easy way out -- if I walled off part of myself again -- I might never get it back. I might never have the courage to break down those walls again. So I left it alone, let myself feel the pain. And as I suffered, I healed, emerging a different woman than I was before.

But I like this woman, despite her vulnerability. She's real. She's genuine. She's me.

So I face 2014 with love in my heart, and have decided to make that my focus this year. Choosing love instead of fear. Love instead of resentment. Love instead of anger. That doesn't mean I will never feel those negative emotions again, but if when I do face negative thinking or feelings, I can remember to love first, then I might just find the negativity and drama have no appeal. That negative emotions are really issues -- mine or someone else's -- that need to be brought out into the open and dealt with.

When you find yourself trapped in negative thinking, ask yourself with love:

1) What's the real issue here? I am upset at myself? At whomever I am dealing with? Or is this an old hurt or resentment rearing its ugly head?
2) If I act from a place of fear or resentment, how will this pan out? What if I act from a place of love instead?
3) Is there a lesson that I need to learn from this situation/thought pattern? Anything I'm still holding onto that needs to be dealt with?

And while you're at it, it might be a good time to take stock of your heart:

1) What wounds do you still carry?
2) What grievances or grudges do you still hold?
3) How are these serving you?
4) Are you ready to forgive, let go, and move on?
5) What do you want to let go of? Who do you need to forgive? (Don't forget to include yourself!)

Once you have your answers, release them out into the Universe, knowing that you don't need them anymore. They are no longer serving you.

When I did this, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. What a relief it was to get that off my chest!

Once you clear space, then you're ready to attract what you really do want in your life. You're ready to open your heart and let love in. And that is a beautiful thing.

Happy New Year from my heart to yours!