How to Live with an Open Heart and Not Get Hurt

Heartbreak can be the most valuable experience in your life. I would have never believed this while I was in the throws of crippling emotion over a loss or rejection of a lover. In fact, until recently, heartbreak has done nothing but make me close my heart up tighter. Vulnerability can feel like the worse thing in the world. Living with an open heart can feel perilous when we have not developed self-love. Rumi once said, “Break your heart until it breaks wide open.” Someone told me this quote three years ago when I started on my journey of sobriety and was met with an opportunity to open myself up to a man for the first time. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. Opening myself up had only led me to pain and spiraling addiction. Part of the reason why I used drugs and alcohol was to feel numb and perhaps invincible. I’ve been blessed to love deeply. We’ve all been blessed to love deeply, and with deep love comes deep vulnerability because you cannot love someone with a closed heart. So how do you do it? How do you allow yourself to be vulnerable without the fear of getting hurt?

Self-love.

When you love someone, that feeling of bliss and ecstasy and comfort, is not something that the other has handed to you. The other has inspired you to tap into that feeling. And it is not a feeling, it is a state of being. That feeling, or state of being, is within you. You can generate it all on your own. You do not need someone to hand anything to you, and just as true: no one can take that away from you. You must learn to inspire yourself into love. This is self-love.

What often gets in the way is our concept of worthiness. We hang on to our stories as if they are what make our identity. Our history is not our identity. The things we have said and done do not make us worthy or unworthy of love. These are boundaries that we create for ourselves that limit the true self. When we learn to tap into that inexhaustible source of love within our-selves, we expand our-selves. We become nothing

but our-selves because we become nothing but love. Now, many people, including myself, have this limiting belief that we do not deserve such infinite love. We have made mistakes, we have hurt people, we have been dishonest. These are the stories that keep us from identifying with truth. These are the boundaries that we draw in order to separate our-selves from the other.

Let go of these stories because you are innocent. Aren’t all innocents worthy and deserving of love?

When you begin to operate from a state of innocence, and dis-identify with your story, there is no other option but to love. There is no other option but to expand into the Oneness that we often talk about in yoga. Yoga-being union. Union with all things. Divine union. The infinite expansion of love. It is from this state of being that vulnerability becomes our strength. We can live with an open heart without fear because there is no scarcity mentality. There is nothing to get and nothing to take away.

With this state of Self- Love and Self-Expansion, naturally comes self-care. Relationships that serve us become stronger and relationships that no longer serve us fall away.