Recently I had a client share with me a whole series of disappointing stories about how her relationships had all come to an end through one means or another. That’s when she asked me that magic question: “so how am I ever going to open up my heart and trust again?”
First of all, ask a better question
If you look closely and considered the context clues, her question was weighed down with a deadly pre-supposition before she even framed it. It was asked from a perspective of fear, doubt and anxiety…which is never an empowering place to start from when you want to create a new reality. In fact, it was totally disempowering because it was pre-framed in the negative. It was asked with an assumption that it would be difficult…maybe even impossible. The problem is if you ask a terrible question, you’ll get a terrible answer. For starters, it would be infinitely better for her to block out the negative stories for a moment and simply ask “If I am really clear on all the benefits and committed to making it happen, how CAN I open up my heart and trust again?” The lesson here is that if you just open your mind first to better possibilities…you can actually open your heart, too.
Don’t make it harder than it is
People over-complicate the issue needlessly when they start cataloguing all the people who have “done them wrong” or fallen short of their expectations in some way. If you focus on negative, all you get is more negative. When you add up all those references to disappointing past events, it becomes very easy to get pulled down by negativity and hopelessness. Here’s the simplest thing I can tell you: you don’t have to trust everyone else. That’s overwhelming to begin with…it’s not a good idea…and it’s totally contrary to what you just focused on mentally. At some level, your brain will just reject simple “positive thinking” if you know damn well you don’t believe it. However if you condition a more empowering response that makes sense with repetition…it will stick much easier. Here’s a much simpler, more elegant and truer way to frame a new more empowering attitude: “I don’t have to trust everyone else, I just have to trust me.”
A Quick Perspective Check
Let’s just be honest. None of us are going to get through this life unscathed. We are all going to face sadness, disappointment and fear at some points – and guess what? Life is designed that way so you have the opportunity to GROW from it every single time! There are two types of growth in this world. There is evolutionary growth which happens a little bit over time and hardly gets noticed until you look back and say, “Wow, look what I did…” Then there is revolutionary growth which oftentimes hurts like hell, knocks you for a loop and forces you to respond immediately. It’s painful – but it’s usually very positive and rapid improvement – if you get the message.
Remember Your Successes!
You always have the choice to either shrink and retreat or grow and learn. If you think about it…do a quick check-in. How many times have you ALREADY gone through something really tough and emerged on the other side? Think about why you’re better off today even though an experience didn’t feel good in the moment. Think about the new possibilities that came from learning a valuable lesson. Remember that you are a SURVIVOR. Think about the positives that came from having old things that didn’t serve you out of your life. Think about the positives that came from having new things that DO serve you IN your life. While you’re at it, think about all the people you know, famous or otherwise, who have had a perceived “failure” of sorts and actually benefitted from it and got better as a result.
Be exactly who you want to be
Actually, if you learn something in the process, there’s really no reason to dwell on the idea of failure. It’s simply a “learning experience” and a fantastic opportunity to gain a little context on a situation. Most people struggle because they ask terrible questions like why did I do that?!? Why am I so stupid?!? What’s wrong with me?!? Sound familiar? If you have a set-back, you might as well step back and ask yourself some more great-quality questions. What did I learn here? What is the empowering meaning I can take from this? How can I use this learning to serve myself and others? Am I proud of the way I showed up here? What was great here? What can be improved? What resources do I need in order to get better so I never have to get this lesson again? It’s questions like this that will simply change your life forever.
After you’ve followed these suggestions, you will begin to see opportunities open up for you. Where you once created walls, new doors will open. You will become more positive. You’ll stop repeating the same, worn out sad stories that make you feel terrible.You’ll start to realize that as long as you persist in holding on to your story about how you were a “victim” – you’ll never get a chance to be the victor. It’s better to simply find the empowering meaning, get the lesson you needed to get and heal those old wounds. In that respect, having your heart broken is kind of like passing the 3rd grade. Once you get the lessons you needed to get, no one can ever make you go back again and repeat it…