"For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow".
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Being happy is a state of mind and a choice we need to make for ourselves. After 30 years of struggling to be happy I decided to make that choice. Right when I wake up I make the choice to be happy during that day. Happiness is not something that sticks with you. We need to take the decision to be happy again and again.

Of course getting into that state of mind entails a few different elements. And today I will blog about one of the elements, but probably the most important one to experience true happiness: LOVE. And I’m not just speaking about romantic love, but about all the different forms of love you might think of.

But how do we experience love when our hearts are not fully opened, when we were hurt in the past and find it difficult to open up again, when we were betrayed, deceived or left. And worst of all, how can we experience true love when we are not even able to love ourselves?

I know how hard it is from my own experience and also as a Reiki therapist where I treat what seems an endless amount of broken hearts and people who simply don’t know how to love themselves.

So, here is the good news: we can train to open up our hearts and I will introduce a few exercises later for you to do that.

But first let me explain why it is so important that we open up our hearts fully and eliminate any sadness, unforgiving or unloving thoughts about others or ourselves.

Why we need to open up our heart:

" In the small matters trust the mind, in the large ones the heart."
- Sigmund Freud

• Our heart represents who we truly are. In there we store all our feelings, emotions and love. We feel joy, happiness and gratitude in our hearts which is what ultimately brings us our quality of life. Our mind on the other hand stores our ego and our fear based thoughts and negative believe or thinking patterns.

• By listening to our heart we can make wise choices which are not ego based or fear based. When we make decisions with our hearts we can feel happy on all levels of life.

• A loving and grateful heart purifies the consciousness and creates tranquility and peace of mind. It develops into a constant State of Being and not just an occasional practice.

• It’s so important that we work on loving ourselves, for without the ability to love ourselves, we cannot truly experience love from another or give it truly to another. By loving ourselves first, we allow the intent to generate the feeling of unconditional love within us, and then to share this feeling with others. Whatever we send out is returned to us. Now, your next question will certainly be: “But how can I learn to love myself”?

How to love yourself:

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”
- Oscar Wild

Learning to love yourself is a journey. But probably the most beautiful and the most rewarding journey you can possibly ever make. I don’t think there are general tips or suggestions that fit all. Each of us has our own very individual characters, a different life path and different views, ideas and dreams. Some people might decide to leave everything and everyone behind to embark on a life changing journey (like I did). Others might just decide to work on themselves without changing much of their external environment. Here are just a few ideas for you to think about:

• Appreciate who you are and be yourself.

• Eliminate Self-criticism: Don’t try and be perfect. There is no such thing! We all have our imperfections and flaws.

• Trust yourself: Trust your intuitions, your gut feelings, your abilities and skills. You are stronger than you might think you are!

• Forgive yourself: Whatever happenened in the past already happenened. You can’t change it. But you can change the way you think about what happened. Instead of focusing on only the negative things, try and approach it with a positive mindset. IE. what did you learn from past mistakes? All mistakes are nothing but life teaching us some important lessons! The following list can help you get started to think about what you still need to work on:

• What emotional memories do I need to heal?
• What relationships current or past require healing?
• Are my emotional wounds taking over, causing me to try and control people or situations around me?
• Do I allow the wounds of others to control me? How do I let that happen?
• What do I need to forgive myself for? Who needs forgiving from me?

• Live your dreams: Stop dreaming your life and start living your dreams. Maybe some of your dreams need a longer time to manifest themselves, but you can start with small steps and work on a plan, day by day, so you can reach that particular dream

• Treat your body as your temple: Loving yourself also means taking care of your body. A healthy diet and some exercise will keep you more positive as well.

Exercise for opening up your heart energy centre:

• Performing stretches daily can help open the chest, your heart energy centre, and alleviate pressure on the back.
• You can open the heart energy centre by focusing on stretching and relaxing back muscles.
• Grasping your left wrist with the right hand, pull your left arm across your chest and hold for one to three minutes to connect the energy of your arms, hands and heart.
• Switch sides, and perform the stretch a few times during the day.
• You can also sit in Easy Pose, clasping your hands behind your back and straightening your elbows. This movement opens and stretches your chest muscles.

Reading suggestion: The little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

My all time favourite book, the one I can read again and again, and which will always make my heart feel so warm is “The little prince”. There is always a lesson I can learn or relearn, there is always an inspiration to be kept and numerous smiles while reading it. I’m suggesting this book because the main theme is love and it’s from this book that the famous quote comes from with which I will end my blog entry:

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Author's Bio: 

Lais Stephan is the Founder of Be Happy Now (www.behappy-now.com) where she works as a certified Alternative Therapy Practitioner with holistic methods, such as REIKI, EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique), Matrix reimprinting and several Massage Techniques.

Lais also has a passion for photography, writing and blogging.