How to Open Your Heart More

“How to open your heart more” was searched for 4 times yesterday morning, so I thought I’d address that. I apologize for no post yesterday… I started this and the day got away from me before I could develop the blog. So, here we are today, in this moment, and let me write about how to open your heart.

The first thing needed to open your heart is willingness to do so, willingness to go there. Once you are willing, the whole world opens up, and you are able to see the things around you that you couldn’t see before. You see your physical world more intently; you see others with eyes and heart of gentleness and kindness.

Once you are willing to open your heart, the next stage involves identifying the wounds you have endured during your lifetime, and the feelings that accompany these wounds. Look closely at your fear and how it holds you back in life. Look closely at grief you may be experiencing, a feeling associated with loss of any type.  Allow yourself the time to look at these feelings and try to be straight while you do so. Try to just “be” with them, without numbing them out with substances or activity.

Now, feel compassion for yourself for the wounds you have received and endured. See yourself with gentleness, kindness. Do not slide into self-pity… this is not a pity party I am suggesting. More, it is an objective assessment and acknowledgment of the damage you have received. Now it’s time to start seeing the world around you with gratitude. Be grateful for the simplest things and soon that gratitude will expend to larger things in your life.

Now you are equipped to begin a self-appraisal, looking first at your positive traits, behaviors, and actions. Really praise yourself for these things. Then, look at your negative behavior, the things you do for which you are mad at others for doing, when you do the very same things yourself. For your bad behavior that was hurtful to others, take ownership of that behavior. Be responsible and accountable for it by letting go of any resentments, and apologizing, if indicated.

This tool is invaluable as one to use on an on-going basis, throughout each day. It becomes second-nature to see yourself honestly, objectively. Rather than allowing this appraisal to be a jumping-off place from which to beat yourself up, use it instead as a method of keeping yourself right-sized… not bragging or boastful, nor insecure and self-reproachful. Use a self-appraisal to locate where you are in your world, both outer and inner.

Once you learn to follow this process, you will have opened your heart so very much. There is one more tool to use to get to deep peace and freedom, and that is forgiveness. Forgiveness allows you, without condoning what was done, to put to rest your heart-burning resentment, the thing that keeps you simmering with anger just below the surface. Once you come to forgiveness, you will begin to be really free, able to open your heart even wider.

So, this is the process to go through to open your heart. How does it work for you? Do you have a different method? What works for you? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Getting Past Sorrow and Despair

Good morning. Today I will deal with getting past sorrow and despair. In the book, they are separate topics, yet, today I am combining them as they often go hand-in-hand.

Face of Despair

Sorrow is defined by Webster as a mental suffering or anguish caused by loss, disappointment, or regret. It can include grief, which is a more intense anguish related to a specific misfortune or disaster.

When experiencing sorrow and/or grief, one’s thoughts can get to those of despair, defined as being without hope, being hopeless. All of these emotions are quite debilitating and, in my case, were accompanied by depression.

Sorrow and despair left me with no will to live and, in fact, I was praying to God to let me die, as I felt there was no purpose to the pain I had endured during my life-time, that my experiences were just a torment to me.

When one feels these emotions, it is a common tendency to want to numb the feelings by drinking, eating, shopping, or various other activities that we do obsessively. This only enhances the sorrow and despair.

In my case, I felt the sorrow and despair into my sobriety, up until I was about five years sober. At that point, I had an experience that dispelled both of these emotions. I had the opportunity to discover my purpose in life, and I felt needed, valued, and  that my experiences were valuable to others.

Quite by accident, I realized I could help others by relaying my story. Suddenly, my life had meaning and purpose. I no longer felt that deep hopelessness that is characteristic of despair. I no longer felt sorrow and grief over my life.

I was not able to do this alone. I sought counseling, took medication for my depression, and joined a support group to deal with my drinking issues. Then I set about the arduous and scary task of looking at my emotions and dealing with them. I started to take responsibility for my healing.

If you are feeling sorrow and grief from a loss of something or someone in your life, know that there are stages you will go through before you gain peace. Allow those stages occur; don’t fight them. Know that you are working your way to eventual peace.

It may be frightening for you to face your emotions; be gentle with yourself as you look. Most importantly, get help. Talk to someone – a trusted friend, clergy, a therapist.

As you deal with your sorrow and it lessens, despair will also diminish. Most of all, stick with it through the tough times, for your life has value to others in your world. We each have value in one way or another. It is up to you to discover what your value is. This will happen naturally as a result of dealing with these difficult emotions.

I wish you well as you deal with getting past sorrow and despair. Remember that your life has value. Know that eventually you will get to the bottom of your emotions and life will begin to turn around. Commit to yourself to stick with it, and ask for help from others and the divine forces of the Universe. Remember, you are working toward finding inner peace. 

 

 

 

 

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Sorrow

Agony of Sorrow

Searing pain is how I describe sorrow in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing.” Webster defines sorrow as the deep, often long-continued mental anguish over loss, disappointment, sadness, grief, or regret. My sorrow was over the loss of a deep love I thought was a mutual feeling. It was not.

At the same time I was mourning the loss of a deep relationship with this man, and my extreme sense of loss and disappointment, I was dealing with the loss of a decent and happy childhood, for I, like many of us, did not have one. The pain I felt was all-consuming, raw. I was in agony with sorrow.

Then, over time, and with changes to my heart and mind, it released its grips. I cannot even point to the one incident that led it to disperse. I do know that through it all, I kept sober. Even though there were many times I didn’t think continued sobriety was worth it, I stayed sober anyway and found on the other side of sorrow that sobriety was and is absolutely worth it. It was my continued sobriety which allowed me to reach inner peace from the chaos and pain I felt.

Now, I look at the experiences with the man, or my childhood stuff – and I become grateful for them. How in the world can I be grateful for that which caused me such pain, you may ask? Well, without those experiences, I would not be who I am today.

And I like the caring and compassionate qualities which I feel and which I allow others to see. I like the life lessons I learned from the experiences, the ability to look into myself  that I gained during the healing process, the grieving process. The journey to this place is what my book is all about.

The biggest thing for me was to allow myself to feel those feelings of sorrow for as long as they existed. I took responsibility to move forward in my growth, while still allowing myself to feel that sorrow when it arose.  It took me five years to get past the unrequited love and the feelings of sorrow associated with that. If you’re dealing with sorrow, are you allowing yourself the time and space to feel it? There is a saying… “The only way past it is to go through it.” My best to you if you’re going through it right now.

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