How to open your heart to others (even if you’ve been badly hurt in the past)

Don't be afraid to open your heart

We all too often think that we should protect ourselves from the possibility of getting hurt. Most of us have been hurt in the past and a common reaction to the pain of being hurt by someone else is to close off our hearts.

We mistakenly think that closing our hearts and guarding our feelings protect us from further pain. We mistakenly think it strengthens us and gives us control over what happens to us.

The problem is the opposite happens.

A closed heart = a closed life

When you close your heart, you close yourself off not only from the world, but also from yourself. A closed heart can leave life devoid of joy, love and compassion, and possibilities. It becomes a fearful heart. It actually attracts negative situations and people, it does not avert them.

There are, of course, certain people (and situations) you should protect yourself from, but not everyone you meet. A closed heart takes a lot of (negative) energy to maintain. It’s draining. You’re constantly on guard waiting trouble, waiting for someone to try to step on your toes. Your life becomes dictated by painful past events to the detriment of your present moments.

Plus a closed heart means you treat yourself with less love, trust and compassion too. You end up being incredibly hard on yourself.

A closed heart = negative energy

A closed heart has also soaked up the bad energy from the memories you replay over and over about the betrayal or rejection or pain inflicted upon you. You literally lock that pain inside your heart, thinking you are protecting yourself when really you are hurting yourself.

The only way to solve that problem – and let go of your pain – is to open your heart.

How to open your heart

Read more

Celebrating love and commitment on an island

Last weekend Jan and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We took a trip to the beautiful Danish island of Bornholm.

It was my first time there and I wasn’t disappointed. Beautiful scenery, tons of history, great food and the time to relax and re-connect, and forget about our busy work lives.

I feel very blessed and thankful to have met Jan. Let’s just say that prior to meeting him, I’d had a chequered love life. I’d had my fair share of draining and dysfunctional relationships and got to the point where I knew enough was enough.

I couldn’t keep getting involved with men who were emotionally unavailable, or domineering bullies or psychologically abusive, or just plain confused, insecure and needy. Like a true people pleaser I had tried to help them all, to the detriment of my wellbeing and self-esteem.

Starting to love myself more opened up space in my life for healthy connections. I stopped dating and began to think about what I really wanted in a relationship and what sort of partner I wanted. I wrote a Wish List. And when I least expected it, Jan walked into a Dublin pub and into my life.

Read more

Get yourself out of a rut in 3 simple steps

We all find ourselves stuck in a rut from time to time. Perhaps you feel life is passing you by and nothing is exciting or new anymore. You feel bored and lifeless and lack motivation.

You start to think negatively about a lot of things, including yourself and your relationships. There doesn’t seem to be anything to look forward to. Life is just blah.

Feeling stuck in a rut is certainly no fun but luckily there are three simple ways in which to get out of that rut fast and start feeling happier again.

Step One

Read more

How to stop feeling like a victim in your life

victim mentality

Do you sometimes or often feel like a victim in your life? Well, you if you do, you are certainly not alone.

Feeling like a victim is all to do with our state of mind – our mentality. We think of ourselves as victims, and our thoughts become our feelings and our actions.

When you have a victim mentality you feel as though you cannot succeed no matter how hard you try and that everything and everyone is against you. Feeling like this can be very frustrating as it keeps you stuck.

You feel trapped and helpless and believe you have no control over your life. Your thinking patterns are likely to be negative and very pessimistic. There is also a strong chance that self-pity and sadness are familiar features of your life.

The “benefits” of having a victim mindset

Believe it or not, having a victim mindset is attractive to some people because they believe it holds several benefits, such as:

Read more

How a gratitude list improves your happiness and relationships

A gratitude list increases happiness

You’ve probably heard about expressing gratitude as a part of the law of attraction. And it is certainly true that gratitude is an important part of helping us achieve what we want in life as well as gaining more happiness.

After all, how can you possibly attract success and happiness if you do not appreciate what you already have?

Too many people ignore gratitude and instead focus on what they believe they lack, labelling themselves as hard done by or unfortunate. The truth is that all of us have plenty to be grateful for, although this can be hard to think about in difficult circumstances.

An everyday reminder of gifts

Making a gratitude list is a great way to remind yourself of your many blessings. Seeing everything you are grateful for written down in a list is a very effective way to increase your levels of happiness.

Accumulating your blessings makes you realize you are lucky and the good thing about a list is that it’s portable – you can slip it into your pocket and read it whenever you need to.

Expressing gratitude is uplifting, it literally lifts our spirits and opens our hearts. You start to realize that your life contains many gifts and many wonderful people.

It is in our darkest and most difficult times that we need to think about what we are grateful for. At such times, the prospect of writing a gratitude list may seem ridiculous but this one action will be far more productive than self-pity.

How to start your gratitude list

Read more