Staying open… I always thought that meant taking the high road, acceptance, caring, non-judgement. Perhaps keeping your heart open DOES look like all those things, the only hitch in my formula was that I though it only applied to how I was in relationship to OTHERS. Giving all those things to others, and rarely giving it to myself. Turns out the old line “you can’t give what you don’t have” is even truer that I ever realized.
My mission right now is to keep my heart open. This sounds like an easy assignment, yet for most humans, we have experienced having our heart broken and the more often your heart has been broken, the more challenging it is to keep that sucker open.
I’m finishing up the 30 Day Love Yourself Inner Bonding course by Dr. Margret Paul. Day 26 insights are all about how to “lovingly disengage” from conflict. Timely! Keeping your heart open and continuing to love someone close to you, even when you disagree with them. I don’t know about you, but my reaction in those situations usually looks more like anger, blame, attack-back, judgement, all kinds of things that don’t feel good (other than that initial rush of expression! That sorta feels good for a second!)
Dr. Paul says there are two choices you can make in those moments that will enable you to lovingly disengage and keep your heart open…
Why am I so quick to judge others as not doing it “right”? Because I do the exact same thing to myself. Over and over and over again. Aimed at myself, the thoughts sound more like this…
Same is true with sorting out our relationships. It’s not about getting it done or checking the box because it’s always going to be evolving, changing, growing or not growing, becoming or not becoming. I seem to want to apply some sort of business model on being in relationships! You do this, then you do this, then you get it done! It’s clear… relationships don’t work like that!
So, if someone else moves through their relationship at a different pace or in a different way than I do, letting them do that without judging will set ME free. Keeping my heart open in the face of someone else not moving at MY speed though,has proven to be a very big hurdle for me.
My husband and I have been going through some pretty gnarly, difficult stuff the past couple of years. It's heavy duty and so many times I judged him for not being up to speed with who I wanted to be, how I wanted to show up in the world. It seemed that we just kept going over the same scenarios, challenges, awkwardness with one another time and time again. And I would complain (to myself mostly) about how he's just not getting it, why couldn’t he hurry up and figure this out. Hmmm!! Wait!!… didn’t I just hear myself saying that to ME in my head a minute ago? (or three paragraphs above) So I’m mad at HIM for doing what I’M doing to myself. Can you say crazy eight! Cycling round and round on itself, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Defining a Bottom Line
Something shifted when I was pushed to the point of breaking and set a boundary. Setting a boundary is something I didn’t think “evolved” people did! They took the high road. Wouldn’t that would be closing my heart to set a boundary? A line in the sand??
When I decided what I needed FOR me and didn’t focus on what I was doing TO the other person, some clarity started to happen. I started being able to keep my heart open! It’s a miracle! I guess when you don’t have much experience at setting your own bottom line of what is acceptable from others in your life, you might have to get super-duper mad in order to be able to do it at first. That was true for me. Now I am dabbling at being able to set a boundary and do it in a loving way. Even when there is push-back from the other person, I can keep my heart open longer at least, before I get bent!
To be able to define a bottom line, we must first know what we want. Sometimes we can only find that answer by knowing what we DON’T want. The trick is to not get stuck noticing what we don’t want.
Once you see the contrast, it’s important to shift your focus to what you DO want.
What I DO want is to open. Present in the moment.
To be open and have presence, I will need to be willing to love myself. That means not fighting myself, but BEING myself – connecting with who I am.
Presence comes from real love. Amy Cuddy says “When you find true presence it’s the strength to BE there because you’re not protecting yourself. It’s you in your true state.”
To be in your true state, you may have to also tell others what is true for you and that can mean drawing some boundaries. It can be scary if you’re new at it!!! You may be hooked up on people pleasing and wanting to be liked. Lord knows most of us are to some extent.
When you understand that you really can’t control whether or not others will like you or even what they think or feel about you, then you can be in your true state without so much fear of being who you are and stating what it is you need, expect or want in your relationships.
My old primary question was always “What’s wrong with me?”. Thanks to Tony Robbins and a whole bunch of willingness to wake the hell up in my life, my new primary question is “How can I open my heart even more in this moment?”
What’s your primary question? You’ll have to be awake and conscious to notice your current question and decide what you want it to be to get a better quality answer.
P.S... Tony Robbins... major hottie... just sayin'!
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Sandy Edie Hansen
I use this space to "Chat" about things I am working through and learning in my life currently. Join me!