On some level, we all fear being hurt emotionally. This can sometimes cause us to avoid situations that have any potential for leading to a painful outcome. But this is an example of playing things too safe.
It’s difficult to experience all of life’s pleasures if we’re afraid to risk trying them out. This is why it is so important to remain open to new experiences, be brave, and let our guard down.
Why We Are Afraid to Let Love In
We may put up a wall at first place because we have worries or fears about love and closeness, or ultimately getting hurt or abandoned. One of the biggest factors that get in our way of experiencing love fully and euphorically is our fear of vulnerability. We perceive vulnerability to be a “weakness” or flaw in our character, but it is quite the contrary.
A vulnerable person is a strong and generally happy person who allows themselves to be open so that they can love fully and most importantly, accept love fully. Yes, you have a risk of getting hurt, but you have a risk of getting hurt either way it goes.
Why not hurt while having loved happily and deeply rather than being hurt while having not had much of any of it? Also, it is those people who are brave enough to be vulnerable and open themselves to love that when they do get hurt, heal much quicker.
While there are certainly people out there who will be hurtful and insensitive, there are just as many who will actually be caring and considerate, and improve our lives. It’s not fair to us or to them that they are kept out because of the actions of others.
If we make a plan and plant our feet, we can let the right people in and have the fulfilling relationships we yearn for naturally.
Here are a few ways to open yourself up and let love in.
#1) List Your Fears
Knowing exactly what we don’t want can be a great way to get what we do want by being able to recognize when we shouldn’t settle. The key here is not to write out your fears so that you can keep them at the forefront of your mind, but to recognize them in ways to challenge the validity while finding ways to let them go.
Fear is a powerful emotion in that it creates far quicker than any other human emotion out there. If we stay focused on our fears, we attract more of the things that we fear into our lives. A great way to combat the level to which your mind keeps something you are afraid of at its forefront would be to list the fears, cross them out one by one, and then replace them with someone that you want and desire in your life.
#2) List Your Goals
Once you have crossed out your fears, begin to keep your mind’s focus on what you do want in your life. Therefore, a list of things that we do want will help us narrow down the people we think might be right for us. It can also help us decide where we might find the right person or what friendships are healthy to maintain in our lives. If one goal is “spend quiet time with someone” we might hang around a library instead of a popular bar. Obviously no one is going to fit all of our needs or every goal on the list, but even fulfilling a few desires can make for a great match.
#3) Know Your Emotions
Feelings can be extremely confusing as they don’t always have rational thoughts attached to them. This is OK. We don’t need to have an explicit reason for everything we feel, but we have to allow ourselves to experience that feeling without judgment. We can’t withhold our anger and sadness because we “shouldn’t feel them.” They are natural, and the more we recognize our emotions, the more we can respond to them appropriately.
However, it is important to engage in self-dialogue in order to determine when some feelings are a result of an irrational thought or fear, and find ways to let them go. The sooner we let go of irrational thoughts and fears that result in unwanted emotions or moods, the quicker we will have room for more love, positive emotions, and happier moods.
#4) Trust Your Intuition
We’ve all made poor romantic decisions in the past, and have received all kinds of advice about what we “should” do. But everyone has different opinions and needs. Friends and family mean well and want to see us happy, but ultimately the decision is ours who we will let into our lives. We can listen to the advice of loved ones, but employ the actions that seem appropriate to us – we know ourselves better than anyone else. Self dialogue is also important in that it encourages us to listen to ourselves, to follow our intuition and our “gut” feelings.
A thousand random thoughts enter our minds at any given moment, the ones that affect us are the ones we attach meaning to. We have to be picky with the ones we attach a meaning to. We have to be choosey with what actually carries weight so that we can make healthier and more rational choices in our lives. If we take the time to challenge our thoughts and explore them, we are more likely to have a clearer and more keen sense of intuition and make decisions that are more conducive to our own happiness.
#5) Focus on the Present
It’s impossible to move forward successfully while looking backward the whole time. It’s good to learn from the past, but we have to believe the future holds new and different experiences. Talk about plans and goals, not regrets or even nostalgia about the past. It can be difficult to be optimistic when we’re feeling uncertain, but even if we don’t feel full of hope, we can keep our eyes up and prepare for the next unknown chapter.
Although focusing on the future can give us hope, motivation, and some courage, it is important to even do this in small doses. Most importantly, and above all, it is important that we remain in the present. The current moment and day is what deserves our attention. Sometimes we get so caught up in the past and even the future that we forget to focus on the love or attention our loved ones need in a given moment.
Everything should be within in balance and reason, spend just enough time remembering the past in order to plan your future just a bit, we need those moments because they shape us. However, spend the most time remaining present, enjoying your present moment. If for any reason the present is unbearable or makes you unhappy, that is a big sign for something needs to change!
Find ways to make your present happier in its moment and a one way ticket to that is gratitude. To find gratitude in the worst of the worst, because everything in our lives is hear to teach us, to help us grow, and to help bring us closer to unconditional, fulfilling, and sensational love.
#6) Let People In
Trusting a stranger sounds crazy, but that’s not the goal. The first few steps of weeding out what is and isn’t wanted, and focusing on potential new experiences will ensure only a few desirable individuals are being allowed past our wall. Steadily we can give these people more of our trust and test the waters. Without this crucial step, a relationship can’t go anywhere. This requires a level of vulnerability that may feel uncomfortable, but in the end pays off, even if it just turns out to be a learning experience, which again brings us full circle to gratitude. Life at it’s best.
The same cycles will continue to occur, we will go from love to vulnerability to love to sadness to hurt to love and back around again. In the end, its a right of passage as a human to experience pain and love over and over again. You will go through these inevitable experiences either way. However you have two choices, you can go through them with the eyes of gratitude in a pleasant way, or you can go through them kicking in screaming making them far more painful and hurtful than they need to be. When you choose to experience your lessons in the best way possible, you are more likely to not go through them again, because the lesson has been complete, you have then learned.
#7) Don’t Fear Failure
Things don’t always work out – this is why some of us have put up walls in the first place. But heartbreak is not the end of the world. And if we plant our feet and plan accordingly, we don’t even have to be destroyed when a romantic interest doesn’t stick around. Muscles grow by tearing and being rebuilt, and the heart is the most important muscle in the human body.
As humans we are naturally social creatures. Most of us prefer not to be alone (though there is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone) and should not feel we have no other choice. Often if relationships haven’t worked out before it is because we haven’t found the right person, and locking all potential partners out of our lives isn’t going to help that.
Start Letting More Love In
Love — whether it is romantic, platonic, or family love — is a huge part of the human experience. Use these tips to see how you can make small changes to invite more love of all kinds into your life.
If you still feel blocked when it comes to opening yourself, Loving Life Today is here to help. Contact our office to learn about our in-office and virtual therapy and counseling services. Our team is here to help you find ways to break down your walls and welcome more love into your life.
And for more tips on how to cultivate better habits, download our free ebook. It includes 75 tips for making small changes that can help you live a happier, healthier life. Download it for free today.
You deserve love in your life, and we’re here to help you find it.