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

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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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:

Read moreWhy loneliness is sometimes good for us

10 things you should NEVER say to someone who’s recently been bereaved

10 things you should NEVER say to someone who’s recently been bereaved by K.J. Hutchings

At the time of writing this, I’m recently bereaved. In the past 18 months three of my close family members have died, including my father. Anyone who knows what it’s like to lose a loved one understands the amount of upset and emotional turmoil involved in bereavement. This is definitely a difficult time when kindness always counts

Death is a fact of life, but it is still something we shy away from discussing, and sometimes we also shy away from those who are recently bereaved, not knowing what to say or how to act, and as a result we sometimes say things that are inappropriate and downright insensitive, which only adds to their pain.

I’ll give you an example – this actually happened to me recently.

A few days after my uncle died I met up with a client. I’ve known this person for about five years. We get on well. They’ve lost family members too, like most of us have. But when I told them my uncle had died, the first thing they said to me was:

‘Does that mean we need to cancel next week’s meeting?’

It’s likely they were considering the fact I’d need to go to the UK in the near future for the funeral, which was true. But surely it wasn’t so difficult to withhold that comment a little longer and instead say:

‘I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.’

My client’s lack of sensitivity and compassion shocked me, and their thoughtless comment followed me around for the rest of the day and several days after. The comment – a few words – had made my upset worse.

What you should NEVER say to a person who’s recently bereaved

It prompted me think about what you should NEVER ever say to someone who’s recently bereaved. Here’s my 10-point list:

Read more10 things you should NEVER say to someone who’s recently been bereaved

Kindness always counts

Kindness always counts by K.J. Hutchings

Kindness always counts, although it can often seem like kindness is in short supply. In our busy lives we might not think to spare a moment to show small acts of kindness to those we love, let alone a stranger in the street.

Yet acts of kindness, large and small, make life for everyone so much better. Kindness always makes a difference. Kindness always counts. Kindness reminds us of our humanity, our innate need for other people and to help other people, and our sense of connection to everything around us.

Even the smallest acts of kindness mean a lot

Acts of kindness do not have to be grand gestures, but they always involve thoughtfulness and care, which is why they mean so much to the recipients of kind acts. Simple things like opening a door for someone carrying lots of bags of shopping, or offering your seat on a bus to an elderly person, or taking time to give directions to someone who is lost can mean the world to the person you help. Collectively, these acts strengthen our faith in human nature and our faith in each other.

Read moreKindness always counts