Allowing Yourself to Take Emotional Risks

When it comes to the complications of love listening to one's heart may not be enough.

This is such a ubiquitous phrase — it dominates all my social media news feeds – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest — but what does it actually mean? And why are we constantly being reminded to listen to our hearts?

For me, it means shutting out the constant bombardment of daily and even hourly messaging from endless sources on what I should be doing, feeling, thinking and buying in order to be HAPPY. I have found that happiness is really nothing more than an attitude, a state of mind. It’s a simple choice that we can all make each and every day.

Our society teaches us that we should use our heads, be logical and strategic in pursuing happiness. Setting aggressive goals to achieve, conquer, win in order to capture an elusive prize called happiness. So it is actually counter-intuitive to follow your heart in pursuing happiness – It seems that showing vulnerability and humility and contentment without climbing a mountain or conquering an enemy is not valued by our society. Who are we to be happy with no achievements, no status symbols, no trophies?

Additionally, we have been conditioned to protect our hearts from being hurt by others. We are all such emotional, loving, caring beings. Our greatest need, aside from food, water, and shelter is to be loved, appreciated, understood. And once we have been hurt, we place barriers and walls around our tender hearts to protect them from being hurt again. The complexity of the defense mechanisms that we put in place are astounding! Sometimes they are so complex we no longer realize or understand our behaviors designed to keep us safe and out of harms way.

My personal journey of self-realization and non-attachment has helped me see the lengths I have gone to in order to protect my heart! Through meditation, I have observed my behavior patterns and am slowly beginning an arduous process of self-observation and understanding. It is a long road for me to peel away the many barriers I have put in place to avoid being vulnerable. While I maintain an illusion of safety in my logical brain, I have discovered I am creating barriers to truly connecting with people I care about.

My challenge to myself is to take more risks! Express myself each day in a way that may uplift others, connect with their hearts, give them the strength and freedom to listen to their inner voices. Make them know how much they are loved and worthy of love. To me, the ultimate fulfillment is in making that true connection and serving my fellow man, woman and child. We are all worthy of loving and being loved. We are all good enough just the way we are, stripped of titles, judgments, status symbols. ♥