[FEATURED POST] What is…With an Open Heart??
What is …With an Open Heart? Well, it’s my best attempt at making a change in my life and opening myself, and my heart to the world. There are so many things I could try and say to explain this little blog, and the reason why I’m started it, but every time I try, I struggle to find the words. So let me just start by explaining my feelings leading up to this blog.
Feelings: I’m afraid of them!!
I’ve been running from them for nearly eight years. At first, this was easy, and made life a hell of a lot easier. How do you feel? Fine. Did that bother you? I couldn’t care less. I basically just shut down. I turned off my feelings and stopped caring. Or I believed I stopped caring and feeling. As you can imagine, this eventually backfired; over the years my repressed feelings manifested into other problems. My anxiety increased, my fear of rejection increased, my need to be perfect got the best of me, my judgment of others often made me a mean person, my relationships suffered because I refused to be open, honest, and intimate with others, and I missed out on a lot of great opportunities. In the end, I closed myself off to the world in order to keep myself from hurting and from feeling negative, difficult emotions. However, what I really did was close myself off from amazing experiences and feeling some of the most amazing feelings.
Lets fast forward a little bit…
About a year and a half ago, I signed up for, Introspective and Personal Growth Seminar; one of my required counseling courses for grad school. In a nutshell, this class was devoted to self-awareness, and recognizing our “unfinished business”. That is, the unconscious, repressed crap we as individuals harbor inside. Dealing with these emotions is imperative to being an effective therapist. It is also what we do as clinicians to help others (it’s really all about self-awareness). So here I am, reading hours a day about how important it is to be self-aware and to take care of my issues prior working as a therapist, and I’m doing exactly the opposite in my life! I honestly knew for at least six months, that I needed to make a major change in my life, but this course opened my mind and my self-awareness in ways I had never explored previously. I tried really hard to open myself up to the world and to others, but I still struggled. I spent the next year increasing my self-awareness, and being very introspective. What I didn’t do was speak about any of it. I still kept everything in. I recognized my feelings, and understood why they existed, but I only gave myself minutes to sit in them. What can I say, they made me so uncomfortable!
Can you guess what happened next? Yup, that’s right, I eventually thought I was about to have a nervous breakdown! I found myself incredibly emotional –about everything! I felt like I needed to run away from my life and I couldn’t make sense of anything anymore. I was stressed beyond belief, wasn’t sleeping, I was very anxious, and felt incredibly incongruent in my life and in my feelings. It was time for some MAJOR CHANGES!
Today, this blog is an overt attempt to be open, honest, and true to myself. Sure, I don’t need a blog to start living with a more open heart. However, being this open, and this honest terrifies me; and so, facing this fear is an important step forward.
I hope this blog can be a place of happiness, small pleasures, positivity, honesty and intention. I’ll write about personal experiences that have opened my heart, to interesting things that have sparked my curiosity and passion for life, to empirically validated research about self-awareness, happiness, and the power of positive thought (I mean, after all, I am a nerdy grad student), and everything in between. If you like it –awesome! If you don’t, there are plenty of other blogs for you out there.
I have spent most of my life following my head. This year, I’m following my heart.