People at the end of life frequently express regret over not having lived more fully. They don’t regret how fancy their car was, nor how much money they have in the bank, nor how tidy they kept their house, nor how good their golf game was.
Reflecting on how you’ve lived your life, regret will come from how well you loved, both in giving love as well as in receiving.
When you go through life with a closed heart, you never fully express who you are. You limit what you experience and what you allow into your life. This includes the ability to love to your fullest potential.
What does it look like to live with an open heart? How do we stretch ourselves to navigate our experiences accordingly?
These four aspects of how you navigate your life may help you better access the fullness of being alive and of experiencing the point of it all — love.
Living with appreciation
When you go through your days seeking reasons to feel appreciation for your blessings and the wonders around you, you automatically stretch your heart open. Seeing through eyes of thankfulness shifts the way you see your circumstances and experiences.
Looking for the bright side, even during dark times, is a practice in keeping your heart open to inviting good feelings.
To be less critical of people and their actions is to be more satisfied and content. Those are feelings that open us to kindness and, ultimately, feelings of love.
Respecting your foundation
How can you give and receive more love and joy if you feel awful? Not attending to your physical wellness leaves you with less vitality to enjoy life.
When you’re ignoring chronic illness or physical pain, or you’re not eating well or exercising regularly, or you’re overindulging in eating or drinking, you’re essentially dimming down your love flow.
Respect your physical body by tending to issues and habits that need your attention. When you physically feel better, you’re increasing your capacity to enjoy matters of the heart — like creating special memories with friends and family.
Your ability to be flexible and snap back from the inevitable disappointments in your life is key to living openhearted. The more you can learn to talk yourself back up after being knocked down, the greater the capacity you will have to experience love.
When you dwell on your challenges, you’re missing the party. There is always a party going on somewhere around you, opportunities to throw some love and kindness on people who need your light and charitable hearts.
Where can you spring back from crying over your own spilled milk so that you can open your loving heart to help someone else recover from theirs?
Any time you anticipate and expect positive outcomes in life, you are flexing your emotional love muscles. When you move through your day exercising confidence and certainty that things will work out for the best, you open your heart to happiness.
Studies have shown optimism is linked to an increased likelihood for satisfying and happy romantic relationships. There are also findings that optimistic individuals may have a lower risk for cardiovascular events and other cardiac risk factors, such as high blood pressure.
Encourage yourself to have a more optimistic outlook with positive affirmations. Keep a gratitude diary, focus on the positives, spend time with optimistic people, and don’t try to predict the future.
Appreciating the good things in life, taking better care of your health, learning to bounce back from challenges, and cultivating a positive attitude will increase your ability to live with an open heart. With that expansion, you’re much more likely to give and receive love and to live more fully, which I’m certain you will never regret.