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

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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:

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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

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Love alone does not make a good relationship

love alone is not enough - k.j. hutchings

There’s seems to be an enduring romantic notion that good relationships just happen and you don’t need to work at them.

That love alone should be enough to make things work. That a good relationship should be effortless and any signs of trouble mean the relationship isn’t worth saving because it’s not “right” and so the only option is to end it and search for the truly perfect relationship.

There is no perfect relationship

Most of us know deep down the notion of perfection is wrong, and that all relationships need nurturing. We know there is no perfect relationship because we are not perfect. Even couples who consider themselves ‘soul mates’ need to work at it.

We’re different to our partner in many ways, we have different views. We can’t read their minds (thank goodness), we all carry around a lot of emotional baggage, and have hang ups and faults…

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Why loneliness is sometimes good for us

Loneliness is sometimes good for us - K.J. Hutchings

Loneliness is usually seen in a negative light. If we’re lonely it means something is amiss in our lives. A lack of friends. A lack of meaningful connections. A lack of sociability. Lack in general.

It’s true that chronic, ongoing loneliness, the sort of loneliness that endures day in day out for the long-term, is not a good thing at all. Loneliness can kill – it happens to many elderly, isolated people around the world, which is desperately sad.

But that’s not the sort of loneliness I’m talking about.

The loneliness I mean is fleeting; it comes and goes, despite good friends, loving partners, caring family and a busy, enriching life. It still pops up from time to time, often inexplicably, bringing along with it a myriad of uncomfortable emotions.

I think this fleeing loneliness is good for us. It’s actually beneficial. Don’t believe me? Let me put forward my case with 7 examples:

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