Do you feel like you have full permission to live with your heart fully open? Or do you find yourself sometimes hiding your true feelings?
I was recently talking to my student that lives in Hong Kong and she shared that in her environment to be loving or to show that you have an open, and kind heart is considered a sign of weakness. She shared that it is ain’t cool among her friends to show up as an open-hearted person that has emotions and can be vulnerable. Not to forget to mention, that the topic of our 1:1 session was to reclaim the part of her that is actually very sensitive and have enough love to give to the whole world. But unfortunately, due to the conditions around her, she started to shut down this part of herself and even think that it is wrong to have loving feelings and express them.
We have all seen that the archetype of a cool girl or boy is to be a bit edgy, a bit mean, or maybe even a bully. And the archetype of a sweetheart is somehow shamed and not accepted. This is how we as human beings grow into monsters that pretend and believe that we don’t have any feelings. The worst part is that we associate our desire to give love and be emotional with weakness and maybe even dangerous, as we are afraid to be hurt, exposed, or shamed for our soft human nature.
In fact, being loving and able no matter what to respond with kindness is the greatest gift and strength that we may have. We only remember it a bit later than we should have. We remember it when we finally do not care what other people think about us it is not important anymore if someone considers us cool or not. We remember it when we have so much of our own permission to live as we desire, to be who we are in our essence and when we have created a supportive environment around ourselves that will be making it okay and safe for us to say I love you, to express gratitude, to be really gentle and kind.
You see, the interesting thing here is that when we cut our own ability to be in love and to give love to others, we cut ourselves also from the ability to receive love, and receive acts of kindness towards ourselves. We look strangled, tough, serious, and unapproachable which makes others feel more distant from us. In the longer run, I have seen that these dynamics lead to loneliness, isolation, self-absorption, over-reactivity, need for validation, and subtle aggression. And all of this is because the permission to access the most loving, sensitive, and fragile part of ourselves is denied.
What if the new cool would be to be able to express love to everyone around us without fear?
What if we could re-educate ourselves towards the new values, values like – the more people I am able to give love to today the more meaningful my life is?
What if we could see that by exposing our true feelings, we would make ourselves invulnerable to any bias, neutral to any judgment or criticism? And the most important is that it would attract to us the right people, people who would be able to appreciate ourselves, our true nature, and the gentleness of our hearts? Otherwise, why would we be around those, who want us shut down, tough and “cool”?
Notice if you feel safe being loving with your family.
Notice if you feel safe being loving and openhearted with your community. Notice if you feel safe being loving with your colleagues?
In which environment you can remove the “walls’ and external hardening and have no need to perform or pretend to have fewer feelings than you actually do.
The price that we may daily pay for hiding our hearts in our pockets can be just too high and in the future take us to a place where we have to put the masks on in friendships, create fake relationships, and constantly feel misunderstood or in an environment that doesn’t match who we truly are as a soul.
If you have discovered that in some specific environments you have to shut down your heart to be accepted follow these steps:
Ask yourself what belief in this environment is not allowing you to show your soft parts.
Ask yourself what are you really fearful of and how exposing your soft heart may end up for you in this environment.
Evaluate if you really want to be in this environment and if yes, what would it take from you to just be yourself there.
How high is the price for you to continue hiding your feelings and desire to express love?
To get more inspired on this topic I highly suggest getting familiar with the work of Brene Brown, and in particular her study of shame and vulnerability. This can be a powerful game-changer in your life and relationships with others.
From my point of view and from the experience of working with hundreds of people becoming vulnerable and allowing yourself to be open-hearted with others without fear of ridicule, rejection, or abandonment, you are setting yourself free on a spiritual level. You are honoring your nature and your essence by choosing to be all of yourself with others.
The truth be told, some people may stop considering you “cool” and may perceive you as too emotional, but at the same time, they will be inspired by you and motivated by you to also let their hearts open a little bit more.
I personally see egoless and compassionate humans as evolved, mature, and genuine human beings that by their own expression make this world a better place.
Little note here: If you feel too scared to unleash your feelings and expose your heart, you might need extra work and support to heal from bullying, abandonment, or rejection experiences. I recommend working with healers, spiritual guides, and somatic therapists. Sometimes our past experiences can leave a strong imprint on our hearts and be too heavy to process by ourselves. Please never leave this kind of heart closure and traumas unattended.
In my life and in my work I am striving to reshape how we see love, how we express our feelings, and make sensitivity and kindness a new normal. I see this as a beautiful opportunity for our evolution and personal healing. And you, would you want to live in a society that praises open-hearted people?
Sending you all the love,
Vlada de Sousa