There was a point in my life when I realized that I needed to feel myself more to open my heart.
I started to notice a change, I became more loving (towards myself and those around me), and a more compassionate individual.
I also realized that this greatly increased my overall sense of self-love and how I related and cared for myself.
I would like to share with you the ten realizations that played an important role for me to love and feel more in life.
1. Stop judging your feelings
On my way to more self-love, I realized that I can no longer categorize my feelings.
I just wanted to feel the good feelings.
I avoided feelings like fear, sadness, loneliness, jealousy, and being hurt, looked away, or suppressed these feelings.
However, when I began to allow these “darker” feelings to be, I realized that they’re not very different from joy or happiness.
They are just different kinds of feelings, every feeling feels different.
It’s true that sadness feels different from happiness. However, neither is better or worse. Both are just emotions on different sides of the spectrum.
Both are impermanent and always changing.
I always thought sadness and other supposedly, bad and unhealthy feelings were not good.
My suffering came about simply because I would assess and evaluate these feelings with my thinking, analytical mind.
To me, self-love means accepting every part of who I am, feeling every feeling fully, and letting it all be there as it is without judging, resisting or suppressing it.
All feelings can dwell inside. That saves the heartache and suffering.
Because, If I do start to suffer, I just have to look at my thoughts and find the one that is buried and hidden in my subconscious and is responsible for the suffering.
2. Keep going inward
If you want to love yourself more, create the following habit; keep shifting your attention inward. This helps to open your own heart.
Feel what is happening at the moment.
For me, I feel pretty much everything. I know that only because I’m mainly in my body and felt state by nature, I realized this more by working with the personal enneagram.
As soon as I shift my attention inward, I begin to perceive body sensations in my stomach and heart, a kind of warming, tingling energetic type sensation.
The next stage is to perceive what I’m actually feeling, in response to the sensations in the body. I usually ask myself the following questions:
- What am I perceiving inside my body?
- What is my mental state right now?
- What type of feelings are in me right now?
It’s easy to become impatient because something doesn’t happen immediately.
The mind is impatient and has anxious tendencies, while love is kind, nurturing, and patient.
It is not always easy to do, and nothing may happen at first, and you may become impatient.
However, trying to open yourself up to these feelings and states of awareness is critical if you really want to open up your heart center.
The more you practice listening and going inward over and over again, the more you will feel what is, within, and the easier it will be for you.
Because what could be more beautiful than feeling the true essence of who you are?
Turn your attention inward, go inside over and over again.
Try to focus on your heart, in the middle of your chest.
Relax feel your heartbeat. Breathe into it. Try to feel it expand a little. In time you may start to feel it open easier.
3. Prioritize your feelings
If I want to feel more fully and experience more love on the inside and out in the world, then it’s vital to give yourself and how you feel in the moment more time and space to be, and just exist. Make more space to be.
When I feel uncomfortable, I take the time to do whatever it is that I feel like doing at that moment. My default is to be completely alone and I go into nature and be with myself.
Or, I just find time to sit down wherever I’m at, focus my attention fully on the feeling, and try to perceive it without getting to lost in thought.
So, start to make your feelings the center focus of your life, Pay attention to them and respond to them. Give them space they really need.
You don’t have to do anything with your feelings, it’s just about allowing them to be as they are. They are neither good nor bad, they just are.
They are simple and are allowed to be there. Nothing needs to be suppressed, removed, condemned, or criticized.
4. Share your feelings
An important point for me was sharing how I feeling and what’s going on inside with other people.
I realized that I was pretty much bypassing, not communicating clearly with myself and what I needed. I was avoiding feelings of fear and uncertainty, I being clear about my feelings, needs, and wants.
Today, however, I find it incredibly important to share how I feel in order to have a clear, open, and authentic connection with other people.
Everyone can feel when the connection is not clear, and when something is unspoken or held back in a room full of people, the energy can become dens and tense.
Many times we do not have the courage to address it, or transmit how we feel, or ask what’s really going (especially beyond the small talk).
By communicating exactly how you feel, you’re more able to understand feelings better and clear up and avoid misunderstandings, and unnecessary pain and suffering.
It’s easy to assume and make up a story about someone else, which may not always right. Or, just misinterpret someone else’s response.
It’s always better to ask than assume.
Even a simple question such as “How does it make you feel when I (fill in the blank)? Or, how can I help you? What do you need at this moment?
But, many times just holding space for someone and allowing them to be heard is all they really need. Just hold space and lend a shoulder.
5. Don’t lose yourself in thought and doing
A typical way many of us ignore our feelings is to distract ourselves with thinking and doing. It’s the urge to constantly stay busy and occupying ourselves, including excessive work, binge-watching TV and browsing the internet for hours on end.
We avoid feeling ourselves.
The mind is nothing more than a tool. We can use it in a constructive way to help us in and create real change in the world.
For myself, I try to attract information that is important and relevant for my life, and then put it into motion and practice, and create positive change and impact.
The mind is not the primary thing that controls my life.
Because, it’s easy to get lost thinking back and forth about whether this or that is the right decision, at the right time.
Focus more on more on the “feeling sense” in the gut,when the mind is too active and wild.
It always seems to circle back to the feelings inside, which are much stronger, more meaningful, and more reliable once they’ve been connected to my heart.
Many thoughts that try figure out and analytically explain something with to much logic and reason, or that say it is this way or that way, are just an attempt by the mind not to feel something on the inside, and rather control the situation.
In these moments try to pivot your feelings and just perceive them without thinking anything.
6. Allow anger and hate to be
These are the feelings that I didn’t want to have because I thought they weren’t good, so I pushed them aside.
So, I lived in the clouds, above the rainbows and butterflies, but I didn’t understand why I running back into myself, again and again.
I would suppress feelings of discomfort, pain and even hate. As a result, I found it hard to experience joy, lightness, love and acceptance.
So I realized that I should leave every feeling, really every feeling if I wanted to have a living life.
Because just wanting to be happy without feeling fear and anger is a grand illusion.
Living life means that all feelings can be there, really all!
It’s not always about letting out feelings like anger, hatred, and anger. This is only important if it is really important to you, communicate your needs to yourself and to other, so you can be heard.
Allow the anger to be there. Allow yourself to feel it and perceive it. Then see what is hidden under the anger, get to the root of that feeling, because feelings are like layers piled on top of each other, and are interweaved together.
What is underneath comes up automatically when you’ve felt the anger long enough and let yourself fall into the seed of that feeling.
There may be pain, hurt, sadness or some other wound.
So it’s essential to deal with all the different feelings and sink deeper and deeper into yourself.
7. Engage Your Body
To be in love, means to open your heart is to feel all that is.
Feeling happens through the body, which is why it is important to use your own body, to keep it alive and physically fit, learn to engage and open the five senses.
Sports, massage, bodywork, walking barefoot in the forest, listening to the birds and the wind blow through the trees, indulging and eating with great pleasure, and simply exploring the world blindfolded are just examples of how you can increase the sensitivity of your body.
8. Stop numbing yourself
When I look back on my life, I would distract and numb myself from eating too much and then lay full of food on the couch.
I was mainly doing this so that I wouldn’t have to deal with life, I was trying to check out, numb and self medicate myself with food.
When I was much younger, I would party and get drunk with friends. I would also spent a lot of time in front of the computer playing video games.
These were all ways to mindlessely numb myself so that I didn’t have to feel my feelings.
Some of these patterns are still active today in small pinches and then I feel carefully and make myself aware of this: How am I doing in this moment? What is or isn’t okay with me now, do I want to face these feelings or would I rather distract and push them away?
No matter how I decide, both are okay and both can exist.
Sometimes it can just be too umbearable to face the feelings. It’s important that you are aware of this and choose to.
Make it clear to yourself what is important to you in the long term, take this into account in all of your decisions whenever you can.
However, do not force or put yourself under pressure, which will just create more stress and dis-ease in your life.
The tendency to “feel more” is really important to me. That’s why I choose to feel and sit with my feelings whenever I can.
However, if it feels better to watch a movie or just veg out with something sweet, then that’s what you should do, if it feels right in the moment.
If I force myself to do something too much and instead feeling more resistant, then this decision only makes me feel worse because I am not doing what feels natural at that time.
9. Be grateful
Gratitude is a powerful way to deepen the connection with your heart.
From the big things to the small ones, I am grateful for everything that life gives me: amazing people, the ability to feeling and express myself, mindful moments, all the material things, and the deliciouse food that nourishes my body and mind that allows me to do my work in the world.
10. Be mindful
Sometimes I find myself in a rush and think I have to hurry and rush along and get to the next destination.
I forget to pause and take in the beauty and wonder around me.
I pause and make myself aware, I say “Wait a minute”. Since my mind is rushing from one thing to the next, and has to much control again, I remind myself to be more mindful and present, which helps to set a more comfortable pace, and slow down.
Mindfulness starts with simple things like pouring yourself a glass of water.
You can do it casually and dump the water into your glass. But that’s not peaceful.
Instead consciously grab the water and watch how you slowly, considerately pour water into you cup.
It’s good for the vibration of the water too. Water is a miraculous substance that’s full of mystery, treat it with love and respect, and it will also be good to you.
Strive to be fully present in whatever you are doing, even if you only pour yourself a glass of water.
Love can only speak through mindfulness and presence.
It is nothing more than a form of meditation.
Give yourself over to each moment and live fully, right now with your full undivided attention.
This will also change the quality and proufoundness when come into contact with human beings, that is, if you treat them with care and respect.
Love comes to us when we have created space for it.
As soon as we want to force something or are impatient, we block our ability to feel our feelings – including love.
Opening the heart is something that requires the highest level of awareness and heart centered mindfulness, because many of our hearts are extremely sensitive and vulnerable.
True love, which is constant and pure, comes from your heart. People, animals and the natural world that touch your heart are just a mirror of the love that you already carry within you.