Being Open to Love

George Sand, the French novelist said “There is only one happiness in life—to love and be loved.” For people, like Sand, who are open to love…it is a blessing like no other.

Does anyone NOT want love? It is difficult to imagine that. But there are those who claim to want love—and who surely do—but whose actions and non-verbal messages convey something very different. The result can be very sad—a loveless life and a feeling of “missing the boat.”

Being open to love is mostly about what is inside. It is hard to expect and anticipate love from others if we can’t or don’t love ourselves. But sometimes we convey a “closed-off” vibe that can be reprogrammed.

There are lots of reasons a person might be shut down to love. The hurt or trauma of a previous relationship, for example. A sense of unworthiness, or fear of the vulnerability required by loving and being loved. No one wants to suffer through rejection or hurt, and loving someone means that can happen. Others may be nervous, thinking that love puts personal power, or even identity, at risk. And realize you may “think” those things without knowing you do –if it is an unconscious belief.

Many people find that they have been career-focused for so long that they don’t know how to “soften up” and change gears. Other things that can get in the way or cause the wrong messages to be broadcast: ego, lack of personal awareness, doing vs. being, or plain ol’ denial.

If you truly want love in your life and are willing to put effort into it – the world can be your oyster. There are things you can do, things you can strive for, and remember that you can “fake it till you make it.” Acting the part, in other words, can lead to being the part.

How to be more open to receiving and giving love:

Love yourself.

And if doing that is challenging, at least look honestly at yourself and take note of your many, many, MANY excellent qualities. Be that person, and you will attract the love you deserve.

Be vulnerable.

Way easier said than done—for some people especially being vulnerable is akin to being pecked at by hungry raptors. But…if you can let someone in, you’d be surprised where it can lead.

Give up control.

You don’t have to single-handedly ensure the proper functioning of the universe. Not even your personal universe. Let some of that go. Suddenly you’ll be able to see, smell, hear, and appreciate more than you ever knew… and maybe even notice someone noticing you back.

Be courageous.

Because I know that is what it takes for many of us to just smile at someone. Talk to a stranger. Or even (gulp) ask an adorable guy or gal out for a date.

Do something you love.

If you can lose yourself in the flow of whatever it is, and enjoy the happy feeling you get, you will be filling your cells with endorphins and happy hormones that make you approachable, irresistible, and sexy as hell. But do it for you, not for the results you may get. It makes a difference.

Do something for someone else.

Generosity of spirit is contagious and it is a recipe for personal happiness. If you are happy, you are open. Conversely, accept something from someone else. Often much harder than giving, receiving graciously is a challenge for many. If you seem closed off to gifts (such as compliments, for instance), you project “I am not open to you” which translates as “love don’t come knockin’ on my door.” And that is NOT what you want to convey.

Be spontaneous.

Some people have a very difficult time letting go. Try to remember that you cannot control the outcome—no one can. When you remember that, you’ll be free to go, do, try, and say, “Yes!”

Let go.

To be open to love, the past cannot control you. Let go of the hurt and bitterness. All that is behind you, now. Don’t deny it or ignore it, but also don’t dwell on it or let it consume you. Acknowledge it, honor it, thank it for the lessons it taught you, and then file it away.

Don’t judge.

Yourself, that is. Why do we compare ourselves to others, beat ourselves up, and criticize ourselves in a non-stop barrage of tiny cuts that do more damage than all the romantic trauma the world can throw at us? Stop the negative self-talk!

Take risks.

I know that on some level, all of the above bullet points count as “taking risks” but remind yourself, when you hear the beep beep beep of your internal alert system that taking a risk is GOOD for you and opens you up to the world, not to mention some great feelings of freedom, anticipation, accomplishment, and bravery. Caveat: you must be open to the possibility of pain or defeat. But that, too, is okay. It’s all part of the larger scheme of things.

Rewrite your story.

If the story you tell yourself is based on your fears, it will be hard to live outside the stranglehold of that story. For example, if you find yourself saying, “I’ll be alone forever,” because you fear that is true and saying it at least takes it out of the shadow world, you are creating a belief within yourself on which you will begin to operate. Soon your every action will be based on that belief. But you don’t want to believe that, do you? Work on rewriting it. Just say something different. “Love is available to me” or maybe “Love is coming.” Choose. That’s right. Just make a conscious choice to be open, to receive love, to give love. Start your day with the mantra: I choose love.

The blessing that is love: it is there for you, me, George Sand, the window washer on the 34th floor, the barista at the corner java shop, your Uncle Tod, Sandra Day O’Connor, Peyton Manning, your 10th-grade French teacher—yes EVERYONE.

Previously published on Be Free to Love

Photo: Getty Images