“The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” ~Deepak Chopra
The end of my marriage was a life-shattering event that rocked my world and made me question my existence.
My breakup led to a full existential, spiritual, and personal crisis.
After putting the pieces back together, I feel like I’m ready to love again.
It took me a long time to feel open to another relationship because I was stuck in the past, replaying the story of my former relationship over and over again in my mind.
I also held a set of disempowering and limiting beliefs that prevented from moving on.
Some of the sabotaging thoughts that I had to confront included:
I thought a severe heartbreak led to a permanently broken heart. The wounds were so deep and heartbreak so heavy that my ability to love someone else was broken forever.
No one will ever love me again.
After my last breakup, I thought I was done. I felt rejected by one person but it felt like that one person represented all women and I wouldn’t find someone else. Ever.
I have nothing to offer.
I believed my heart muscle was used up and my capacity to love was depleted. I felt like there was nothing I could give to anyone else because I had given everything I had.
There must be something wrong with me.
I believed the harsh comments my ex made about my character, shortcomings, and behavior made me an unworthy person. There must have been something wrong with me because she knew me so well. I’m no innocent bystander here; I said my share of hurtful words and am sorry for them.
I’ll find the same kind of person again.
I believed a future relationship would bring more of the same struggle and pain. I’d continue to attract someone like my ex or find myself attracted to someone like that again. Once again, we’d have the same kind of fights and challenges.
There’s no one out there for me.
After my last relationship, I came up with a mental checklist of values and traits I wanted in a future partner. I believed the exact person I was looking for likely didn’t exist, and that meant there was no one out there for me.
I’m a failure.
I had failed in picking the right partner before and failed in the relationship. And I had failed in a few other things as well. In fact, my beliefs caused me to believe that I was a failure in all parts of my life. And as a failure, I wouldn’t be able to meet anyone new. Who wants to be with a failure?
Love is too painful.
After my painful, soul-crushing breakup, I would have preferred to walk through a lion and tiger-filled African safari than get into another relationship. I wanted to play it safe and not take a risk on love again.
It’s dangerous to be vulnerable.
In my last relationship I’d put myself out there, revealed almost everything about myself, and placed my heart in another person’s hand. I’d been as vulnerable and open as I could be with my previous partner. But now, after heartbreak, I didn’t want to be open or vulnerable again. I wanted to build large walls to protect my heart so I wouldn’t have to bare my soul again.
As you can see, I dealt with a full can of worms of negative thoughts and disempowering beliefs.
If you have similar beliefs because of a breakup, you know that it’s virtually impossible to meet new people and start over again in your love life.
Here are nine ways to set aside your limiting beliefs and open your heart to a new relationship.
1. Recognize your limiting beliefs and know that they stem from your past experiences.
You only believe these things now because of what happened in the past. Beliefs are based on your subjective experience; they can be changed or seen through a different lens.
2. Remind yourself that the past doesn’t equal the future.
What happened once can be seen as a teaching experience so you’ll know what to avoid in the future. You are wiser now; your past doesn’t have to repeat itself. You can grow from failure and disappointment.
3. Challenge every limiting belief you have about relationships.
When you think a disempowering thought, like “all relationships lead to pain” or “I’ll never find love again,” challenge it. Come up with reasons why those thoughts are not facts.
If you look around you at friends and family, you’ll find strong relationships that work. Relationships that are filled with commitment, love, kindness, and mutual respect.
You’ve also likely experienced positive and love-filled relationships in your life. Remind yourself of what’s possible in a loving and wholesome relationship.
4. Spend less time focusing on your heartbreak and the negative beliefs you’ve developed because of your past.
Focus more on yourself. Take care of your health by eating better and exercising more. Be more compassionate toward yourself by taking more time off and getting more sleep. Commit to becoming the best version of yourself by working on your confidence, overcoming your fears, and following your dreams.
Do work that brings you joy, surround yourself with supportive people, and create a zone of positivity around you.
5. Strive to live more in the present moment by letting go of thoughts about the past.
When thoughts and feelings about the relationship come up, don’t cling to them. Acknowledge that your mind is pulling you back to the past and wants to drag you through a cycle of pain and sadness.
Simply acknowledging what your mind is doing will help you be more conscious of its tricky ways. Watch those thoughts pass by like clouds passing in the sky.
It will help to focus on the task at hand. If you find your mind drifting back to the relationship, just come back to what you were doing before your past popped up.
6. Look for love all around you.
What you focus on tends to show up in your life.
If you look at pain and struggle in the world, you will see more of that. If you search for heartache and loss, you will find that.
If you keep focused on doing work you love, spending time with people you love, and engaging in activities you love, you will be in a much better place to invite romance into your life.
7. Become more loving and kind to yourself.
Become the kind of person you desire to have a relationship with. Work on the qualities that prevent you from being the kind of person you’re capable of.
In order to become more loving, I had to let go of the ego, anger, and resentment that clouded my life.
I had to take stock of my life and reflect upon the way I showed up in my relationship. I also had to take responsibility for my shortcomings .
I realized that I had to reign in my anger, check my controlling behavior, and wash my ego with more love and compassion.
8. Cultivate more positive views of love.
Try affirmations, meditations, journaling, and other practices to help you shift your beliefs about love. Interpret events that happen to you through a new framework of love—not the old framework of heartbreak.
When someone calls you or wants to take you out for dinner, think in terms of the possibilities of a new relationship, not all the things that can go wrong.
Instead of thinking “here we go again” with new circumstances in your life, remind yourself that you have the opportunity to show up more wisely and with a more open heart.
9. Find the courage to be open to love again.
Take small steps to trusting someone, sharing with someone, and opening your heart to someone new. If you’re overwhelmed by the gravity of a new relationship, take it slow and build trust in that person over time.
I’ve come to learn that relationships can be our greatest spiritual assignments. Even if the worst happens, you’ll be growing and learning as a person.
A broken heart can lead to an open heart. And an open heart is fertile ground for a stronger and deeper love.
It’s not too late to set aside your resistance to love and your limiting views of relationships to find the person who’s just right for you.
Do you have lingering negative beliefs about love? Please share them in the comments below and let me know what you’re doing to work through them.
Vishnu is a writer and coach who helps people overcome breakups to rebuild their lives and live with purpose. He blogs at www.vishnusvirtues.com For Vishnu's latest book, 10 Sacred Laws of Healing a Broken Heart, visit his Amazon page here.