Our Heart is the Safest Place to Be: If I open my heart, will I be able to say “no?” Will others take advantage of me?

Article 2 of 4-Part series

By Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D., HBI’s Director of Education

As we begin Part 2 of this series, let’s review the four common misperceptions that are routinely shared by participants in Open Heart Meditation and Open Heart for Everyone workshops:

1. I will get hurt if I open my heart.

2.  If I open my heart, I won’t be able to say “no.” Others will take advantage of me.

3.  I will pick up other people’s negative energy if my heart opens.

4.  If my heart really opens, I may lose control of who I am.

It is important to reiterate that if we believe any of these misperceptions, then a part of us is guarding and inhibiting our willingness to experience all of the benefits that come from living a heart-centered life. These beliefs also limit our natural ability to access and experience our heart’s innate wisdom.

Again, it bears repeating that opening our heart and living a heart-centered life is the key to a joyful and fulfilled existence and the key to experiencing being unconditionally loved.

Overcoming Misperception Number 2: If I open MY heart, I wILL STILL be able to say “no.” Others will take NOT advantage of me.

Some of us have concerns that by opening our spiritual heart, we will become overly generous, or that we will lose our backbone and won’t be able to say “no.”  Let me assure you that this is a very creative excuse of a dominant mind! If you need to say “no,” you can be firm or engage in “tough love” even while remaining heart-centered. We are also better at self-care when our spiritual heart is open. 

When our “no” is communicated from our heart vs. our dominant mind, it is often much more respected and the person is less likely to become defensive or resistant. When our heart is open, we can also respond from the position of our innate heart wisdom. For example, you may feel called to give money to a beggar at a given moment, yet at another time, it may not feel right to do so. It is our heart’s wisdom that guides us.

Thoughts are still generated when we are heart-centered, but the quality of those thoughts is very different than thoughts generated by our dominant mind. This allows us to naturally be proactive and to respond instead of reacting to circumstances. We learn to think outside the box and see creative solutions to problems that are otherwise difficult to comprehend when our mind is dominant and our heart is contracted.

Being guided by Feeling vs. Emotion

It is important to clarify that being guided by the feeling and wisdom of our heart is not the same as following an emotion. Being guided by our emotions is what we may have previously done in the name of following our heart. For example, we may confuse excitement along with lots of strong sensations as being the same as the natural expressions of our heart. But it’s not.

When we learn to let our heart open and enjoy the gifts of living a heart-centered life, we remain in balance and don’t make irrational decisions, which are often the result of following emotions. So in overcoming misperception number two, it is important for us to clearly understand that following our heart and true heart feelings is not the same as following our emotions and emotional reactivity.

Coming soon! Read Part 3: Will I pick up other people’s negative energy if my heart opens?