In the Sacred Circle, we just finished our month of learning to receive, but some of us found it wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be to open up to receiving, especially when it comes to receiving love. The act of receiving love can lead to all sorts of blocks when you have a guarded heart. I think this question summed it up best:
“How can you possibly let love in if all you do is surround yourself with walls to keep it out?”
That’s a great question.
We’ve all been hurt; we’ve all had bad relationships. Yet, some people find it relatively easy to forgive and forget after experiencing a hurt or, if the relationship can’t be saved, dust themselves off and optimistically begin searching for the next friend/romantic partner/etc. Others have been hurt deeply enough (usually in early childhood) or by enough people that they have learned through their experiences to guard their heart.
What’s the difference between these people: the ones who can dust themselves off and the ones who build a fortress around their heart? It all boils down to trust. Those who have experienced or observed healthy relationships often find it easy to get close to others and are comfortable trusting and depending on them. However, those who have been hurt repeatedly or experienced abuse or neglect in childhood may find it uncomfortable getting close to others. They are leery of trusting, much less depending on, someone else to meet their needs. Those are the ones who have a guarded heart.
I think Brendan Burchard unknowingly described it best in one of his talks about creating the life you want:
When we're around people, we're not being ourselves because we're being protective. But sometimes in our self-protection, we block out the very thing that we want so much, which is connection with people. – Brendan Burchard
Yes, that’s it exactly. I believed for over 40 years that those walls I had meticulously and carefully built around my heart were my protection. It was disconcerting when I finally understood that those walls did not protect me at all – I still got hurt; I still grieved love lost. The only thing my walls seemed to do was to make it almost impossible for me to truly receive love – not from others, and not from myself. The day I realized I was the most common cause of my own pain when it came to love was the day I knew I had to make a change.
How can you open yourself up to love when you don’t really trust yourself?
You must allow for the process of love, and self-trust, to unfold for you, but it must be an active unfolding. First, I had to learn to love myself again and accept myself for exactly who I was. (I explain exactly how I did that in my free gift: Self-Love: The Path to Inner Happiness audio and workbook. You can grab yours here). Next, you must make a commitment to yourself to work on self-trust, for it will always be difficult to trust others when you do not trust yourself. While relearning to love myself required a lot of inner work and healing for me, self-trust required that I take action. Every. Single. Day.
I had to prove to myself that I was trustworthy. How did I do that? Every day I created a little challenge for myself that stretched me beyond my comfort zone. The more I stretched myself, the more my comfort zone expanded. The more my comfort zone expanded, the more I began to trust myself. Day by day, little by little, I learned to trust, to ask for what I needed and allowed myself to open to receive it.
She set out one day on her journey. She didn’t look back and she didn’t rush. She just kept taking one step at a time. And opening her heart to the possibilities. – Shiloh Sophia McCloud
If you’d like support on your journey of opening your heart, I invite you to join us in the Sacred Circle, where this month, we are working on cultivating our self-trust.