At our deep core, all human beings want to love and be loved. It is a natural instinct coded into our very DNA that calls to us not just from an emotional and spiritual level but from a biological level as well.
Our bodies long for loving human touch. If we do not receive touch as babies, our minds and muscles atrophy. We literally wither and fail to grow, known in the medical field as “failure to thrive”. In some cases, infants can die from it. As adults, lack of touch and human connection can lead to depression, stress, anxiety, illness and feelings of loneliness, deep isolation and shame. Renowned family therapy pioneer Virginia Satir deducted over the course of her career that we require eight hugs a day just for base level maintenance and twelve hugs a day for growth. Decades of research on the health benefits of oxytocin continues to reinforce that loving touch is a basic human necessity for our overall health, happiness, self-confidence and sense of personal well-being. Along with all our standard daily requirements such as eating food, drinking water and breathing air, we also need to get our daily doses of love in order to survive and thrive.
So then why do we fight against love so often? Why do we avoid love altogether or get into self-sabotaging patterns of behaving that always seem to keep the love we so deeply crave just out of reach? As we go through life, we collect beliefs based on our experiences and store them in our hearts. Every past hurt, disappointment and heartache gets locked up in there as a cautionary tale of what roads we should never allow ourselves to walk down again. Our ideas about love, other people, ourselves and our own worth are memorised and packed away for safe keeping based on what we learned inside our family structure and from our romantic relationships. Surprisingly, many of my meditation counselling clients discover that the old, forgotten narratives from their very first relationship as a teenager have been running silently in the background through most of their relationships up to this day. That actually makes sense when we think about it. The first time we do anything, we make lifelong decisions based on that initial outcome since we are genetically wired to seek comfort and avoid pain. We instantly decide what we will or will never allow ourselves to experience again. Unless we consciously take the time to recognise and address our old stories, they remain alive and well inside of us. By the time we are adults, our hearts are usually so shut down from all of the emotional weight we have collected over the years that we often end up blocking the very thing we want most without even realising it.
Luckily, it is completely possible to shift our unconscious patterns and begin to live with an open heart. But it requires bringing awareness to whatever needs to be cleared first. In the same way that we cannot force a bunch of brand new socks into a drawer already overflowing with the worn out, crumpled and mismatched pairs we’ve had forever, we have to get rid of all the old stuff first in order to make space for the new. It’s the same concept with our hearts.
If you are ready to clear some space and open your heart to all that you truly desire, take a moment to guide yourself through the following meditation to help remove the blocks to love and welcome all the goodness you deserve.
“Remove Your Blocks To Love” Meditation
Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Take a few deep, slow breaths until you feel your energy begin to settle. Place all your focus and attention in the center of your chest. This is your Energetic Heart (a.k.a. your own personal inner GPS). Gently ask yourself the following questions internally and then silently wait to hear the answers come back to you before moving on to the next one:
1) What old outdated stories or beliefs am I holding onto here? About myself, other people and love in general? Am I ready to let them go?
2) Are there any old hurts or grievances I have been keeping alive that I am ready to release now?
3) Are there any old vows or promises lodged in here that no longer serve me? (These usually include the words “I will always…” or “I will never…” and could be words or thoughts that we either expressed privately to ourselves or out loud to another person.)
4) What barriers, shrouding or layers of protection have I put in place around my heart that block my access to love and true intimacy? Can I give these up now?
5) Are there any people I have been holding onto in here that no longer belong? Can I see the gift and the growth that was necessary for me from these experiences? Can I thank them and let them go now? (Understand that clearing someone from taking up space in your heart does not mean you have to cut them out of your life. It just means you are reclaiming the energy in your heart for yourself and for new possibilities.)
6) Finally, set an intention for your healing. Ask yourself: what do I most need right now to open my heart to the love I desire?
Now continue to breathe quietly and allow all these old beliefs, hurts, vows, barriers and people to gently melt away from your heart. Begin to visualise soft pink-white light filling up your heart with each new breath that you take. See it pouring into any shadowy parts, fractures or thorny places. Let your entire heart soften, relax, let go and expand with this soft pink-white light. Ask that the all-healing energy of Love rush in to fill any dark places. Once your heart is full, allow that soft pink-white light of unconditional love to spill out into your entire body from head to toe. Just breathe here for a few moments, feeling this energy fill your whole body now. Whenever you are ready, you can open your eyes. Make note of any answers that came to you during your meditation. You can also feel free to use these questions as journal prompts.
Three Action Steps For The Week
1) Throughout the next few days, practice being more open in general when you are out in the world. Keep your phone tucked away in public. Make eye contact with people, offer a smile, engage in small talk. Practicing openness in low stakes everyday situations grows our overall capacity to be open when it really counts.
2) When someone asks how you are, answer them honestly, even if it feels strange at first. Vulnerability is an essential muscle for building intimacy. Deep connection occurs only when we speak our truth, allow ourselves to be seen and share our imperfections and humanity with another person.
3) Lastly, practice self-compassion every day. We have all made mistakes, we have all hurt and been hurt. Be gentle and forgive yourself for whatever came before. You needed the wisdom of those lessons in order to move beyond them as a better person. Remind yourself each day of the person you are becoming and what kind of love you want to bring into your life. Then make sure that you are giving yourself that same level of love in return.