"Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and invite your spirit, your true essence, into your body."
I closed my eyes, with doubt... for I'd done a number of visualizations in the past that really didn't amount to much more than making me sleepy. Maybe visualizations just aren't my thing, I thought. But I listened to her soothing voice, closed my eyes, and tuned in. I visualized opening my crown chakra and inviting my higher self in.
My mind stilled, my breath deepened, and I felt something beautiful descend into my body. Suddenly, my heart opened wider than I'd ever felt it open, and my body started to shake from the intensity of the love that was flowing through me.
It literally overwhelmed me.
I almost broke down crying from the vast amount of love I suddenly felt for everyone in my life. For my family and friends, all the people I'd chosen to have in my life... to the colleagues and clients... to the people I barely knew in my new networking group. I saw them all, and I just wanted to love the hell out of them. I was already loving the hell out of them.
I realized in that moment, that I had been blocking my truth, and one of my greatest gifts: the vast capacity to love people, fully and completely, for who they are. For simply being. For appearing in my sphere.
Because it made boyfriends uncomfortable.
Because it confused some people on my intentions.
Because I didn't know how to set boundaries around it.
Because I was afraid of how overwhelming it felt to open.
Because I judged myself for the way it wanted to flow.
So I shut it down. Closed my heart. Acted in different ways so that I wouldn't offend, confuse, or make people uncomfortable. And in shutting down that natural flow, I stagnated my own energy. And that, my friends, that is what was so exhausting about interacting with others.
I spent years believing I was so introverted that I could only "handle" small doses of people, even the people I loved most. I would get exhausted if I spent time with people two or three times a week. And by exhausted, I mean totally and completely shut down, staring at the ceiling in my bedroom, because I needed to "recharge" in order to deal with humans again.
Since that visualization, I haven't gotten exhausted. I have spent more time with people in the last two months than possibly the last year. I've been to networking and business meetings, play dates, events, had my best friend in town for a weekend, traveled, talked on the phone with multiple people every day (and even one night for seven hours), and have barely been home.
And I'm not the least bit worn out or tired.
I believe it has everything to do with allowing myself to just open and love the hell out of whoever is in front of me. To just show up, hold space for them, connect deeply, and just love and appreciate them.
I hug, I touch, I kiss, I hold, I smile wide, I peer deep into their souls... I love them. Freely. Openly. Without worry. All of them. The colleague at a networking event. My best and closest friends. People I barely know.
I show up, open my heart, and give my greatest gift.
And I'm so much happier, healthier, and more alive for it. I'm so much more energized by every interaction. I don't get exhausted. I look forward to my time with people... even my networking group, something I used to dread since networking generally lacks genuine connection. But I bring it everywhere I go. I radiate love, openness, depth, and connection. I invite it out of others by flowing it out to them.
I love. Hard. Deep. Fully. Completely.
I don't worry about it anymore. If someone is meant to walk alongside me as a partner in this life, they'll have to appreciate this about me, not be threatened. I'm learning how to love openly, and with clear boundaries all at once. It still overwhelms me sometimes, but I just breathe into it and allow it to energize that love even more.
Does spending time with people exhaust you?
I invite you to see where you may be blocking connection, depth, and the open flow of love. We all have this gift of vast, limitless love, we just don't tap into it.
1) See where you're blocking the flow.
Interactions are draining when we're not really connecting, or we feel like we're not able to show up fully. What would happen if you just opened, loved, connected, and showed up? How might that change your interactions? Your energy? Your joy and fulfillment?
2) Practice opening your heart.
Hold your hand over your heart and think of an experience or person that makes you feel tons of love. Really just sit and feel that love in your heart. Then practice turning it up like the volume on your radio. Expand, increase, and allow it to really amplify inside of you.
Another great exercise is to imagine opening the door of your heart, just a little bit at a time. Wide open is intense, so just crack it open a little bit at a time. Feel the openness, vulnerability, and love. Crack it open a little more. Then pay attention to how open it feels with others, and practice continuing to crack it wider each time you're with another person.
3) Just love people where they're at.
Love isn't reserved for family, friends, and our partners. It's for everyone, all the time. Love is the point of life, and the energy that bonds us all together in this world. Love should always be present. The next time you're with someone, just focus on loving them, opening your heart, clearing the blocks, and just sending love and appreciation their way.
You don't even have to like them, want them in your life, or really know them. You can love and appreciate the checkout girl at the store, the rude delivery driver that drops your pizza off, and your most pain in the butt client. It will transform the energy of the situation, leave you feeling more alive and open, and help you further tap into that love you have inside.
Play with it this week and let me know how it feels!
Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique and author of Awesome Life Tips book. Through her Mastery program, she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help men and women build passion-based lives and businesses they love. Click here to access her free Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ video training series and learn the unexpected trick to transforming your life with one single question!
For more by Stephenie Zamora, click here.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more