being open to love

Being Open to Love: 11 Compassionate Ways to Keep Your Heart Open

Being open to love is one of the most important and deeply courageous things we’ll ever do as human beings. Yet, easy as it might sound, we unfortunately don’t simply open our hearts once and remain forever open. Being open to love requires that we practice the ways to keep our heart open over and over again, every day. Sometimes every minute.  

The reality of being human means that we will regularly face seemingly good, even truly justifiable, reasons to close our hearts. Yet, when we forget the power and grace of being open to love, we will absolutely know the deep pain that always arises when we close to love. 

Although not always easy, being open to love invites us into both a loving of self and an acceptance for the moment. In order to keep our hearts open to love, we must first offer compassion and kindness to ourselves in every circumstance. 

If we want to be open to the flow of love around us, we must be open to the flow of love within us. In other words, if we want to be open to receiving love, we must first offer love. But, we are not, in this case, offering love to another person, we are offering compassion, a form of love, to ourselves. When we hurt, when we feel confused, when we want to push another person away, the only way to get back to being open to love, is to first be compassionate with how we feel internally and with how we see the world around us. 

Let’s explore… 

The most compassionate ways to ensure you’re being open to love in dating and relationship 

While it might seem like the chicken and the egg scenario, as we said above, in order to be open to love, we must start with compassion. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re dating or in a decades long marriage, our minds will find reasons to want our heart to close. Every time you face an opportunity to close, you have a choice. You’ll get to choose between love and fear. When those moments to choose arise, as they do on a daily basis, each of the following 11 practices offers you a way to return to love. They offer a kind, compassionate, way to hold yourself and your life that allows you to be open to love, in the moment and over the years. 

  1. Accept you. When you’re hurting, while a part of you may desire to return to love, you might, in full reality, feel the exact opposite of loving. You may feel resistant. You may feel closed. You may feel mad or even judgmental. The path back to love starts with making it ok to be how you are and to feel what you feel. Before you can open, you must just be. You must embrace you. 
  1. Feel what you feel, but drop the stories. Our mind voraciously attempts to understand and make meaning of the circumstances that surround us. Unfortunately the stories our minds make up rarely reflect the truth of the situation we face. If someone shows up late or doesn’t do what they said they were going to do, our mind can easily interrupt that as “I don’t matter” or “They don’t care.” Yet, rarely are these the reasons for their missteps. Compassion embraces us as we feel what we feel, while, simultaneously, being open to love requires us to stop making things up and discover the real truth.
  1. Embrace the fragility of life. Most of us want to ignore and deny the true vulnerability and genuine fragility of life itself. We all know, sometimes all too well, that life can change in a heartbeat. We can lose something precious. We can find something priceless. All in a moment. When we allow ourselves to feel the true fragileness of life it automatically opens us into a profound sense of love that lies just beyond our fear, and hence beyond our resistance – our resistance to loss and therefore to love. Being open to love means being open to loss. It’s the only way. 
  1. Breathe. When we close we hold our breath. When we are open we breathe deeply. When we’re scared, we find courage through a deep breath. If you want to find your way back to being open to love, the most instantaneous way to open is to take a deep breath, or three. 
  1. See the good. In every situation in our lives, if we look, we will find the good and the not-so-good, the negative and the positive. The positive good is always there, but the mind’s fear, in an attempt to protect us, will look for all the negative and potential painful possibilities. With our focus on the potential worst case scenarios, we force our bodies and hearts to close. Try it yourself. Focus on what’s good in your life and try to close your heart. Then turn your attention to the “negative” and try to stay open. Being open to love requires giving our attention to the good that also, always, exists. 
  1. Be willing not to know. Those on the path of soul love know that ecstasy – the joy of life fully lived – arises in unexpected ways. We cannot plan for breathtaking moments. We cannot make tears of awe overflow from our eyes. These exquisite moments of life come upon us only when we open. Yet the attempt to know, often rooted in an attempt to control and therefore protect, always closes possibilities. It takes courage to give up striving to know, to understand, yet if you find that courage, your heart will reap profound rewards.  
  1. Release attachments. While attachments are a truly important necessity in human relationships, some attachments, specifically those rooted in fear, force us to close. Unhealthy attachments turn into grasping and seeking behaviors. Anytime we grasp we close. Being open to love means we hold those we love with an open palm trusting the love, not the attachment, will keep us together.  
  1. Remember it’s not personal. Keeping our hearts open becomes easier when we remember the four agreements from Don Miguel Ruiz. In particular, we must remember that people always act in a way that soothes their own heart and their fear. If they do something unkind or unconscious, it’s about them and not about you. It’s not personal. If you remember that the pain in another is always what causes them to act in hurtful ways, you will quickly find your way out of your own pain, opening back into a love for them.
  1. Stop blaming. When you blame you close. When you make something wrong you close. We cannot be open to love and blaming at the same time. It’s impossible. Love sees your part as much as their part in creating any situation, even when it’s a painful one. Being open to love means seeing both sides of any situation. It means taking responsibility for your part in any, every, challenge. 
  1. Find trust. Trust is a prerequisite for being open to love. As much as we might want to, we cannot open in the absence of trust. Yet the trust that allows us to open our hearts does not start with our ability to trust another person and their behaviors. It starts with self trust and its 5 essential elements. So, if you want to be open to loving and being loved, you must trust – yourself
  1. Commit to forgive. Forgiveness by definition opens us. It is the power of forgiveness in a relationship that makes sustained love possible. Invariably, in an intimate relationship, feelings will get hurt. We will do unconscious and even unkind things at times. Being open to love means that we find it in our hearts to see the human imperfection in the one we love, and love them anyway

How to open up and love again after being hurt

While we’ve just explored the 11 compassionate ways to return to love, it’s also worth looking specifically at the answer so many seek, “how to open up and love again after being hurt”. Specifically, in this case, we want to consider how your ability to process a conscious breakup determines your capacity and ability to truly be open to a new relationship. 

During and after a conscious breakup, you will absolutely want to follow the practices outlined above. You may also want to consider a “conscious endings” ritual that incorporates a clearing out of all stuck energy and emotions, a release of resentments, as well as true and complete forgiveness, and future blessings.  

Any breakup, if we’ve actually cared for and loved the other person, will bring up hurt. Our minds will want to say things like, “I’ll never let that happen again.” Yet that kind of internal vow – that shockingly powerful and long-lasting statement – will, if you are not conscious, shut down any possibility of future love and intimacy.

So there could be no more important time to consider whether you are being open to love, or not, than after the pain of a breakup. Truly being open to a new relationship requires a willingness to return once again to an available heart. The state of your heart after a breakup, or more accurately when you start dating again, determines the fate of your future love life. Yes, what you do during and after a breakup matters that much. 

Being open to love invites love. Being open to love requires love, or specifically compassion, for the part of you that doesn’t want to be open to love. 

Every single time you hurt, love and console the part of you that hurts, the part of you that wants to close. When you do this consistently, when you listen to what your heart needs – without buying into the negative stories it wants to tell – then once again you will naturally find yourself truly open and available for both loving and being loved. 

Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all. 

You too, are invited…

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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  1. Alina Nastase on March 22, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    I have enjoyed reading this post. I have found myself to be on this path already and wanted to read some more about it. Thank you for the post, love and blessings

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