Steve Pavlina – on Opening One´s Heart


by Steve Pavlina

One reason people fear getting hurt is that they’ve had some bad experiences in the past and haven’t fully recovered yet. Another problem is that people have an undue fear of hurting others because they’ve caused some pain in the past, and they’re still harboring a lot of guilt and regret.

What does it take to let go of that fear and pain and to summon the courage to take new risks in your relationships, in the hopes of experiencing ever greater levels of joy?

Basically, you just have to get back in the arena and do the best you can… without worrying so much about getting hurt. Over time your calibration will improve. You’ll get better at avoiding broken hearts, and you’ll learn to create joy more consistently. Unfortunately, you have to move through the hurt phase to get to the joy phase.

If you live your life so as to minimize your potential hurt, you’ll endure a very dull, dreary, and cowardly existence. This is how drug addicts aim to live. Of course the pain always gets its say further down the road.

Anyone who wants to live consciously must accept that getting battered and bruised is part of the game of life. It happens.

When you get hurt, the best response is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, tend to your bruises, consider what you’ve learned, and get back in the game with even more resolve than you had when you were knocked down.

Wounds heal. This includes the wounds you inflict as well as those that are inflicted upon you.

Life has knocked me down quite a few times. I’ve been arrested and convicted. I went bankrupt trying to build my first business. I was kicked out of my apartment because I couldn’t pay the rent. People criticize me publicly every week, especially this week. Hmmm… wonder why… ;)

Does it hurt when stuff like this happens? Sure it does. I’m not invulnerable.

I know that life will keep knocking me down again and again. And each time I’ll get up, dust myself off, and tend to my wounds. Then I’ll say in my snarkiest tone, “Nice try, Life. Is that the best you can do?”

I don’t want to reach my grave in pristine “like new” condition. I won’t die with my music still in me. When the coroner checks my dead body, I want him to say, “Damn… what the hell did he do to this thing?”

Don’t try to grow a big callous around your heart to protect yourself from getting hurt. Don’t try to shield yourself from emotional pain. That will only make you cold and callous yourself. If you disconnect from your heart, you disconnect from everything. You’ll rob your life of all its delicious flavor.

Instead, take the hurt as it comes, and fully accept it. Listen to what the hurt is telling you, learn from it, and grow through it. See the hurt as a gift instead of a punishment. Tune into the joy behind the sadness.

The message of hurt is this: Despite what’s happened, can you still respond with love?

Even when you’re faced with negative emotions, can you see beyond them and consciously choose to respond with love instead of reacting with fear?

Can you see how helpful this process is in the long run? The more you get hurt, the more you develop your ability to choose love.

If you look at some of the most loving souls on earth, their pasts are often riddled with the most wicked abuse and suffering you can imagine. Knock them down, and they keep coming back with more love. Do you sense the power of this way of living?



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