Our Heart is the Safest Place to Be: Will I get hurt if I open my heart?

Article 1 of 4-Part series

By Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D.,

The mind can be very creative in coming up with an assortment of reasons to convince us that it’s not safe to open our heart. The purpose of this 4-part series is to address the concerns or fears that many people have about opening their spiritual heart and living a heart-centered life.

The four most common misperceptions about opening our heart

As HBI’s Director of Education and a longtime instructor, the four most common misperceptions brought up by participants in Open Heart Meditation or Open Heart for Everyone workshops are:

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.

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. Additionally, such beliefs limit our natural ability to experience our innate heart wisdom, which can only be properly accessed when our heart is open.

It is important for us to become clear 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 1: You will not get hurt if you open your heart

If our mind is cautious, hesitant, or fearful about opening our heart, our mind is likely convinced that it’s somehow risky to let this happen. Our mind may trick us into believing that by opening our heart we can easily get hurt, wounded, or taken advantage of.

But what if we understood that when we’ve felt wounded in the past, our heart was actually not open? People often erroneously relate opening their heart to being emotionally involved with someone. If we examine our emotions when we have felt hurt, we will likely find that there were attachments, expectations, over-reactions, or unresolved issues. It was these emotional reactions that caused the feeling of being “broken-hearted.” Feelings of abandonment and rejection can be very painful and scary, but they are not related to the opening of one’s heart.

Opening our spiritual heart does not cause us to have feelings of hurt, abandonment, or rejection. These emotions occur as a result of our emotional entanglements with other people. 

When we experience strong emotions, such as feelings of rejection or abandonment, we may also recognize that our solar plexus was activated.  If this occurs, we typically feel physical pressure or soreness in the area of our solar plexus. Negative emotions are generated when our mind is dominant and we go into reactivity—they never originate from properly living a heart-centered life.   

As we learn to be more heart-centered, we become less co-dependent and less pulled into emotional dramas with others. Being heart-centered reduces feelings of not being good enough and leads to healthy boundaries and a respect for differences. We become more resilient so that we learn to thrive in our environment rather than strive.

Opening our spiritual heart is not something that is understood or done from a human romanticized perspective. It is about naturally experiencing a deeper connection to who we really are; coming into alignment with our deeper authentic and genuine self that is capable of living life guided by the innate wisdom stored deep within our heart.

Read Part 2: If I open my heart, will I be able to say “no?”  Will others take advantage of me?