In the animal kingdom fear is a good thing – fear of death and even physical pain. Fight or flight when an enemy closes in – that’s survival.
If you look closely though, before an animal fights or runs it does something else.
It freezes. Like a deer in headlights.
Most animals recover in less than a second. But a deer stays frozen.
Is that you?
Human fear often stems from emotional pain.
The instincts are the same though. We freeze. We can’t move forward.
If you’ve experienced intense emotional pain in your life, you might be paralyzed by fear of opening your heart – fear of being hurt again or rejected.
You might not even realize it. You may have stuffed the fear down where you can’t even feel it.
Three months after my divorce, I thought I was ready to move forward. After all, we’d been separated for four years and spent the final year just working out the details.
I honestly had gotten to the point where I felt happy about getting away from a such bad situation.
But that’s not all it takes.
Over a year later I found myself still alone and realized that I’d been pushing men away the whole time.
There’d be excuses – there wasn’t anyone I found attractive, he wasn’t educated enough, we didn’t have much in common, he was boring.
I did’t give anyone a chance. I was closed off.
The men I DID find attractive were always men who were married, lived too far away or were emotionally immature or shut down with their own issues.
There was no need to open my heart because they were either unavailable or unable to be in relationship.
If anyone tried to get close, I would run – sorry, I just don’t feel we’re a match…….
I was literally terrified of opening my heart and being vulnerable again.
With a closed heart, I felt safe. I could avoid the pain.
But I also felt sad and alone. I didn’t know how to move forward.
Being paralyzed by fear means you don’t act. You don’t take that chance to be happy. You don’t even let that chance in.
You can’t have love without opening your heart to receive it, and that means making yourself vulnerable.
Nor can you just open and close your heart like a door. It has to stay open all the time.
How do you overcome your fear of opening your heart?
Practice. Try doing this three times a day:
- When you encounter a man – a clerk in the grocery store, a male colleague at work, a barista at a coffee shop – lean your body back, drop your shoulders down, breathe, and imagine yourself opening a giant zipper over your heart.
- Smile. If he says something to you – anything – then answer him by telling him how you feel. If he says, “Did you find everything ok?” say something like, “It feels really healthy seeing all of that fresh fruit.” If he says, “What can I get for you?” then say, “It would feel really cozy to have a chocolate mocha.” Make sure it’s something authentic about how you feel. I know it sounds kooky, just try it.
- Hold yourself accountable. Keep a notebook and write down where you were, what he said, and what you answered.
- Try to have fun with it. You have nothing to lose. You have no investment in these guys.
You’ll start to see that when you speak from the heart, men will take notice.
They’ll be intrigued because they’re actually seeing who you are – not the posturing they usually see from the average woman.
As you continue to practice, you’ll be able to keep your heart open more and more. You’ll build your emotional muscle.
You’ll also learn that keeping your heart open is your greatest strength.
When you open your heart, you become aware of what doesn’t feel good and you move away from it before you get all caught up in it.
I know you can do this if you just start small, one encounter at a time. Trust yourself. You have more strength than you know.
If you need more help building your emotional muscle, then contact me and together we can help you have more love in your life.