Oh, love. The longing for it can often drive you insane or make you completely irrational. But other times, even though you might crave it to the moon and back, you just don’t know how to open up your heart and let it in.
Love is part of human nature and it shouldn’t be a complicated thing. However, because of a picture-perfect perspective on love or disappointing past experiences, it may come as a struggle to surrender your emotional walls and give it another chance.
For this reason, Mindvalley teamed up with relationship expert Katherine Woodward Thomas, who’s also the trainer of the Calling In The One Quest. With her expertise and gentle guidance, you can explore:
- What Does It Mean to Open Up Your Heart?
- What’s Stopping You From Opening Up Your Heart
- How to Open Your Heart to Receive Love: 5 Tips From Katherine Woodward Thomas
Maybe The Beatles were right: all you need is love. But to fully enjoy its magic, you should open up your soul and know you deserve it all. And here is your breakthrough moment where you can take the first step.
What Does It Mean to Open Up Your Heart?
Opening up your heart means letting love in. This may sometimes start with a partner, but most often, it starts with you.
According to Katherine, the very first act of your journey begins with a decision that you must make — a decision to learn the ways of true love and to be available to love and be loved. This is how to open up your heart. And it looks a bit like this:
- Connecting with others. Even if you don’t have a partner yet, make an effort to create as much connection as possible with the people you’re already surrounded by.
- Striving to become a great lover. To attract the love you want, work on nurturing the great lover that you want to be.
- Growing yourself. To prepare for the love that you’re calling into your life, you must be willing to grow beyond the person you know yourself to be. Think about all aspects of your life. Where would you like to improve? What would be the first step to take?
Finding the true love of your life and learning how to open up your heart means realizing you’re the love of your life. And from there on, your journey might take an unexpectedly beautiful turn and attract everything you’ve ever wanted.
What can’t come through you can’t come to you. We will prepare ourselves for love by opening our hearts to those in our lives at a whole new level.— Katherine Woodward Thomas, trainer of Mindvalley’s Calling In The One Quest
What’s Stopping You From Opening Up Your Heart
You get it already. Love wins, love is life, love is all you need, and so on and so forth. But if it was all rainbows and butterflies, then why is it so difficult to open up your heart?
Here are the most common reasons:
- Past disappointment or trauma. Studies have shown that there’s a link between traumatic experiences and the ability to nurture trust in future social relationships. Maybe because you’ve been disappointed, you built up walls and now refuse to open up your heart again.
- Not feeling good enough. People run their lives according to the beliefs that control their minds. And oftentimes, when you believe you’re not enough, fear stops you from opening up your heart. Maybe you feel like you aren’t worthy of love or capable enough to offer it.
- An avoidant attachment style. According to the attachment theory by John Bowlby, an individual with an avoidant attachment style will run away from intimacy and closeness despite longing for them intensely.
- Fear of intimacy. Opening up your heart is one of the most intimate acts one could take. This includes being vulnerable, taking risks, owning your insecurities, and getting in touch with your sexual energy.
There could be a million reasons why someone wouldn’t want to give love another chance, afraid that it’s going to be a huge mistake. However, as Katherine says, “Don’t let your fear of making a mistake dictate your chances for love. Remind yourself that at least one good thing came out of every mistake you’ve ever made.”
How to Open Up Your Heart to Receive Love: 3 Tips From Katherine Woodward Thomas
Learning how to open up your heart is a practice that needs time. But it definitely makes everything easier when you have a little guidance.
Here are three tips from Katherine that will support your journey of letting love into your life.
1. Release resentments
Katherine encourages you to take 110% responsibility for how you showed up in past relationships. And then let go of your shame and guilt because it may hinder your possibility for growth.
In letting go of being a victim, you actually access the power to cause a miracle for yourself.— Katherine Woodward Thomas, trainer of Mindvalley’s Calling In The One Quest
That, of course, doesn’t mean that other people haven’t behaved badly towards you. But when you’re willing to let go of resentment, you take your power back and make space for something greater to come into your life.
The whole point behind knowing the role you played in how things went wrong will make you more aware. It will bring the awareness that you can act differently when the next person comes in. And it will also give you the space to trust yourself again and promise that you’ll never let yourself go through that kind of experience ever again.
Katherine suggests reflecting on the following questions:
- Who do I still resent and for what?
- Where do I feel the anger and hurt towards this person in my body?
- What specifically did I do or not do that contributed to what happened?
You can journal your answers and let yourself feel whatever it’s coming up.
2. Trust the breakdowns
Rumi, the famous Persian poet, shared a beautiful piece of wisdom that touched many souls across the world, “The wound is where the light enters.” And that also applies to breakdowns and heartbreaks.
What you’re essentially doing is initiating the breakdown and the loss of life as you currently know it.— Katherine Woodward Thomas, trainer of Mindvalley’s Calling In The One Quest
Destruction of the old is the first step in creating the new, fulfilling life as you desire it. So trust the breakdowns and let them happen
Think about the following questions:
- What is the breakdown I am experiencing?
- How is this breakdown an opportunity to grow in the direction of my intention to manifest happy, healthy love?
- What are the new ways of relating to myself and others I can now take on as a result of this growth?
And let yourself feel the emotions that are coming up. Once the energy behind them dissipates, you’ll have more clarity on how you want to create your love life from now on.
3. Reclaim your disowned self
Learning how to open up your heart to a great love means diving deeper into the dark corners of your psyche that maybe you’ve been afraid to look at.
Why? Because most of the time, says Katherine, people expect to be with someone that will love and accept the wholeness of who they are. But what happens when they aren’t willing to do the same for themselves?
And here comes the time when confronting your shadows might be the most loving thing you can do for yourself.
You can try out the following exercise:
1. Draw a very simple picture of yourself and add the qualities of your:
- Big love
2. Then answer the questions:
- What have I been turning away from in myself, reluctant to fully own?
- What parts of me have I been unwilling to express freely to others?
- What has it been costing me and others to hide these parts of myself?
- How might I be projecting these disowned parts of myself onto others?
- What parts of myself do I want to turn towards and express more fully?
- What would I need to give up in order to do this?
- What might the rewards be for myself and others to express these parts of me more fully?
Sit with whatever comes up when you access that vulnerable parts of yourself. Show yourself the kindness, love, and compassion you want your partner to have for you.
Great Love Starts With You
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance,” said Oscar Wilde. The beginning of your romance with your partner and with life as a whole. Because the relationship you have with yourself will reflect in every aspect of your existence.
It may seem like a lot of pressure to get it right. But the rewards of doing so will exceed your expectations. And maybe a little guidance along the way will give you more strength and confidence.
For this reason, Mindvalley is the place for you. You can go through Quests such as Calling In The One, guided by Katherine Woodward Thomas, to find out more wisdom on how to open up your heart and call in the love you’ve always longed for.
By unlocking your free access, you can test sample classes from this program and many others.
Your great love is waiting for you. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.