Living with an open heart means you are skillful at honesty, comfortable with who you are, and willing to share and listen. No wonder so many struggle with remaining open-hearted. Most of us who closed our hearts to life, did so as a protection. When you close your heart, when you put armor in place to "keep from getting hurt", eventually you become numb emotionally to life. Life feels empty and purposeless. The secret to retrieving your passion, if this is what has happened to you, is to reconnect to your heart and open it energetically again. To risk loving and living fully. It's easier and more attractive to do this when you learn the skills of living with an open heart. So even if you aren't ready to take off the armor, taking the steps above can prepare you well to live with an open, engaged heart.
Skillful at honesty. Often we hide or modify our truth to avoid what others will say in response to it. Practice telling more truth daily. Start small and work your way into bigger, more difficult truths. For instance, talk more about your feelings and don't justify them. Feelings are energy that holds no value until someone evaluates it. Don't evaluate your emotion, just learn to share it. Don't let others evaluate it or buy into it if they do. Simply hear their assessment as their perspective, which may be clouded with fear of emotional content. Claim your day, what you are doing, where you are going, what you buy, who you talk to, what you want, what you do for self-care, what you need for life balance, what you see as you future, what your dreams are. It matters to honestly share all of this with those you are closest to. If you are hiding anything, you are closing down your heart.
Comfortable with who you are. Self-acceptance is essential to an open heart. The moment you reject yourself, your heart starts closing. Without self-acceptance, which is the gateway to self-love, your heart will remain closed off to life, to love. Notice what you don't like about you, where you judge yourself, how you have determined that you are unworthy of love or happiness or comfort in your body. You are worthy of all of this. You are lovable. Only you can claim this truth and this happiness.
Willing to share and listen. The greatness of living with an open heart is the genuine connection that takes place. It is this connection that gives us feelings of warmth, love, appreciation, kindness, joy, bliss, contentment, pleasure - the list goes on and on! This is the list of life qualities that we all deeply desire and crave. When we close off the heart, it is as if we have decided we can make these cravings and desires go away. Not so. They are still there. Instead we have trapped ourselves in a life without them, or have limited them to our own inner dissatisfaction and often our own suffering. This leads to a life of bitterness and resentment. The gateway to fulfillment of all you deeply desire comes through your ability to share and listen. You must be willing, and then learn the skills of sharing honestly and listening well, authentically and lovingly.
If you know you are living with your heart protected, begin with each aspect described here and make one change every day. Stay with the process of becoming skillful at honesty. Learn to be comfortable with yourself by becoming rigorous at self-acceptance. If you have a habit of self-criticism, be on the look out for that self-talk and remind yourself - "I don't do that anymore." Practice, practice, practice. Then start sharing more honestly and kindly. Listen intently, without agenda. We are all capable of these skills. It is a matter of willingness.