“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi
Opening our hearts to receive more love, involves removing the barriers we’ve constructed around them, and dismantling the emotional protections we’ve put in place. It entails finding and transcending the obstacles that block the flow, that keep us stuck, that create a wall around our hearts through which the love we desire and seek cannot actually penetrate.
Why do build walls around our hearts?
When we have been hurt, we seek to protect ourselves against potential future pain. In some ways, this is a healthy adaptive measure. We learn what is safe, and to avoid what may be dangerous or put us in potentially harmful situations. By avoiding similar hazards in the future, we may save ourselves a lot of pain and/or grief.
However, we can take this to an illogical extreme, overgeneralize, and end up projecting our past pain onto the present moment and into our future potential happiness as a result.
In this way, we constantly relive the traumas and hurts from our past, allow them to color and shape our present situations, and remain unable to break free from their grip. We end up making choices out of fear, which seeds the consciousness of fear into our creations. We become blocked in creating the present moment experience, and the love-filled futures, we truly desire.
How do we begin to remove these barriers?
Depending on the level of barriers you’ve built within yourself, which includes the amount and kind of pain you have experienced and are still carrying around, will play a role in determining how this unfolds for you. We are all unique and this process is going to look different for each of us.
However, regardless of your specifics, the following are some simple universal practices you can use to begin to open your heart to receiving more love.
1. Receiving love includes self love.
Say “I love you” to your heart
Place your hand on your heart and say “I love you”. Repeat this several times and notice what emerges. What arises within you? You can write down any insights you have, any feelings that surface, any blocks you may experience around this process, and any memories that arise to address later.
Say “I love you” in the mirror
Another way to approach this exercise is to look in the mirror and say “I love you” to yourself. As you look into your own eyes, and say “I love you”, notice what arises. Again, take note of any resistance, judgments, or other emotions or thoughts that rise to the surface as you repeat “I love you” to yourself.
Repeat these simple, yet powerful, “I love you” practices several times a day.
If you’ve never practiced self love, this may feel foreign to you or uncomfortable. The more you do this however, the stronger your love muscle will become and the more natural it will feel. The more you actively practice loving yourself, the easier it will become to receive love from both yourself and from others.
2. Express your gratitude.
Say “thank you”
Expressing what we are grateful for is a huge heart opener. Simply repeating the words “thank you”, is a powerful way to access the space of gratitude and open ourselves to the larger field and frequency of love.
3. Create a love anchor.
A love anchor is something that connects you into your heart immediately. This can include anything that gives you a warm and happy feeling, that brings a smile to your face, that awakens a space of inner peace or activates a relaxation response inside of you. The intention is to connect you with the frequency of love through something that resonates with you personally and ignites your inner spark.
For many people this is a feeling they experience when they are in nature — at the ocean, in the mountains, in a beautiful meadow — around a puppy or beloved pet, or around their children or loved ones. Simply thinking of these can evoke a very strong positive emotion that serves to connect you directly with your heart.
For some, the love frequency is awakened through sound — listening to music, singing, playing an instrument, etc. Even saying kind words to yourself, can serve to activate your love anchor and open your heart to receive love.
If you are visual, see the image in your minds eye of what inspires joy and happiness and love inside of you. You can also carry a photo with you of whatever it is that you love deeply and look at it to help bring you into your heart.
Movement, such as dancing, practicing yoga, or taking a walk, can also all be great ways to connect to our hearts and open to receiving more love.
Whatever your specific style, the idea is to find something you personally resonate with and use the visual, the words, the sound, the smell, and/or the movements, to help you connect with, awaken, and activate the vibration of love inside of you. The more you spend time focusing on love, the easier it becomes to access this space when you feel shut down, emotionally protective, or triggered by something that instinctually closes down your heart.
4. Do something kind for someone else.
Often times the biggest heart openers are found through acts of service, as they involve getting out of our own “stuff” long enough to give to another. Notice the way you feel when you are able to be genuinely kind and thoughtful towards another person. This can be something as simple as smiling at a stranger, or opening the door for someone. It’s often the smallest acts of kindness that can have the largest impact on opening someone else’s heart. When one heart opens, it inspires other hearts to open as well.
5. Get support.
While these simple exercises can be done by anyone at anytime, navigating through the barriers you have built around your heart, most likely for very good reasons, is something that we often need help with as we heal and transform. You don’t have to go this all alone. It’s okay to seek support and guidance. Get someone you trust to help you with the heavy emotional lifting. Find a coach, a therapist, or a qualified professional to help support and guide you through the deeper layers that emerge as you face your barriers to receiving love.
The process of discovering and removing the barriers to receiving love is well worth it. This is part of what I call, The Alchemy of Awakening.
Diana is a Writer, Licensed Psychotherapist, and Transformational Coach. She sees coaching clients worldwide, via Skype and phone. You can connect with her on Facebook.