The real love is experienced in the absence of fear, pain and suffering. When any one of those three exist, we experience the illusion of love.
– Janet Ong Zimmerman
“Love is hard” is a worn out phrase that often causes us think heartache is a natural part of finding love.
But, the more pain and suffering we experience, the more we guard our hearts … which only leads to more heartache. When heartache exists, we can’t help but act in fearful ways — like building walls and not putting ourselves out there — in order to keep scary love away.
The truth is though … releasing heartache is essential to letting love in.
So, if your usual methods of getting over heartache aren’t working (because they focus on keeping pain out), try these 9 steps to actually let love IN:
1. Accept “what is” and actually feel your emotions
You might resist letting yourself feel for fear of getting sucked into your emotions. But, there’s a difference between getting sucked into the downward spiral of emotions and flowing with the emotions in a healthy way. The downward spiral happens when you allow your mind to spend time feeling sorry for yourself, feeling regretful or thinking in great detail about what could have (should have) been.
When you’re present with your emotions, you see things for what they are, instead of what you hoped they would be. The next time painful emotions come up, take some deep breaths and let your body feel into the emotions, without judgment. The more you do so, the more these toxic emotions dissipate.
2. Trust yourself
Trust in love and men by trusting yourself to make better choices and do what’s right for you. Be still and listen to what your body is telling you, then choose what to do based on how your body feels. For instance, if you feel open, expanded and uplifted, that is a sign to say “yes” or move forward. If you feel stressed, contracted or worried, that is a sign to say “no” or wait for more information.
3. Practice instead of just reading
Look at the reviews of books you’re considering reading. The best books to choose are where the reviewers share specific changes they made, as a result of the book. Practice the suggestions in the books you read until they become a habit. At the end of the day “reading” about healing and moving on is not the same thing as actually DOING so.
4. Reflect on your contributions
Reflect on how you contributed to the results of your love life, by your behaviors patterns in your dating life and relationships. From there, work on improving in those areas. For instance, if your tendency to not express yourself caused misunderstanding in your relationships, you will want to practice speaking your truth.
5. Take care of your inner world
Treat yourself with love by taking special care of your inner world. Pay attention to the way you judge and speak to yourself — be gentle and kind to yourself — you’re doing the best you can, so show yourself a little mercy. Know that love’s difficulties are happening for your greater good, so you can learn and grow into your best self.
6. Rise into your best self
Explore activities and experiences that help you blossom into your best self. Find new interests. Do things you love. Treat yourself to special experiences! Express yourself. Reconnect with your body. Spend time in nature. And most importantly, accept and love yourself.
7. Surround yourself with positive people
Disengage from friends who support (and feed) your downward spiral into unhealthy emotions. Instead, spend time with friends who are positive role models who leave you feeling uplifted.
8. Understand that everyone is doing the best they can
Show mercy to yourself, yes. But, also, show a little mercy to others. We’re all fumbling through some days. Adopt a perspective that every person is doing the best they can, based on their level of consciousness and their own journey in life. If you can truly understand that, the harsh feelings you feel towards your ex or others lessen. And in return, you feel more compassion and forgiveness, which helps open your heart.
9. Actively restore loving thoughts
Restore loving thoughts by first noticing your beliefs about love, dating, relationships and men. Any belief not supporting you in having the love you desire, observe those with curiosity and judgment-free awareness. The more you do so, the more those thoughts loosen their grip on you and help open up the space for loving thoughts to come your way.
Experience the Real Meaning of Love
Being courageous is essential when releasing heartache once and for all. Since many of these practices take a deeper approach — moments of fear, doubt, and slipping into old patterns will creep in. For instance, if you’re on a date and the guy says something that brings up your old pattern of becoming defensive, you might feel triggered to react your usual way. If you do, instead of being hard on yourself, recognize it as an opportunity to self-correct and respond in a new way.
When fear, doubt, and old patterns come up, know that it’s all part of the process. Just breathe through it and be kind to yourself, then gently encourage yourself to take the next step forward.
Every step you take moves you towards releasing heartache and opening up to experiencing real love.