Open Your Heart, Even if it Stings

Open Heart

This post inspired by Bill Harryman blogging about chapter two in David Deida’s book Way of The Superior Man

Commitment 10

I vow to live with an open heart even if it hurts. And, I commit to following my heart, no matter the cost. Read more here. (see other commitments here.)

In a powerful medicine ceremony the other night I was reminded how much it burns to keep my heart open.  Then I felt the sheer power of my open heart. In that moment, I renewed my vow to keep my heart open and available.

If you claim you want deep love and true connection but you walk around with a closed heart, read on. If you want to know your life’s calling and you keep your heart stifled and tucked away, it’s unlikely you’ll ever find your purpose in this life. If you are a man who longs to be seen, acknowledged, understood, or loved, this is required reading for you.

If you are a human being, you have been hurt in some way. And chances are you still walk around with that hurt, the pain locked up inside you, buried for really valid reasons. The good news is that your old hurt can be the key to unlock your power and potential.  All of us need help opening our heart further and further.

Living with your heart open is a rich, unexplored part of the path for most men. Many men keep their heart closed their whole life, never even opening up to their spouse or intimate partner.

I was that guy until about age 30—walking around with a puffed out chest and a closed heart.  At the same time I guarded my heart, I also longed for deep connection. Little did I know that it was up to me to make the first move. And, I had no clue that in order to get what I wanted, I had to start feeling.

So, why bother opening my heart?

First, let’s look at it from the opposite angle; why not open your heart? Ask yourself “what is the worst thing that can happen?” It gets broken? You get hurt again? Remember, you are already walking around with hurt. Do you fear what you are already feeling?

Many of you already have had a broken heart.

For me, I had a long list of really good reasons why I was not opening up to my girlfriends and why I kept my distance from my male friends. Mostly, I would blame others. I was saving it for the big day when I met that special woman. “Well, if I knew she was the one, then I would open up to her.”

Had I never looked in the mirror and got honest with myself, I would have taken my amazing heart to my grave. A lot of men take this approach and end up dying feeling alone and broken. In fact, the number one cause of death among men in the US for the last many years? Heart disease.

Here are a few reasons to consider opening that heart of yours

Your heart is the key to your aliveness

Believe me, I know it’s painful and it can even sting, but try this on–feeling into your broken or closed heart is the way back to your own aliveness and your freedom as a man. The more you allow yourself to feel (including anger, sadness, and fear), the more alive you will be.

Your heart is the key to your intuition

If you have a closed heart, chances are that you are cut off from your intuition. Your intuition can be a powerful force in your life if you have access to it. It’s your ultimate guide and it is the inner authority on you and your life.

Your heart knows the truth

Your heart doesn’t lie. When you make decisions in life, your heart is the voice that lets you know if you made a good decision or a bad one. Having access to your heart is the way to the truth of your own life.

Your heart is the key to your integrity

The more you can open your heart, the more you allow it to connect with your balls, your head and your spine. When you have an erect spine and you stand with your balls, heart and head in alignment, you are more powerful and unwavering as a man.  You become less and less likely to abandon yourself, placate, or veer off your path.

Your heart allows you to serve

Having an open heart gives you empathy; the feeling required to genuinely help others in need. You begin to “feel into” the suffering and because it hurts, you naturally want to help. A fearless man faces suffering head on. A coward runs from suffering.

Your heart is what your lover wants

Give up the game of hiding out and waiting for the special day to open your heart. Do us all a favor and crack that sucker open. Feel the depth and profundity of what is there. When I open my heart to my wife, she melts and nothing else matters. When I open my heart to a stranger I am met with a smile and we both are more alive having shared the interaction.

But how do I open my heart?

Here are five practices to experiment with opening your heart at home.

Practice 1: Breathing exercise

Lie down. Put your left hand on your heart, your right hand on your lower belly. Relax and let the floor support you. Think of a time when you felt your heart, either a past love or a painful childhood memory. Breathe into your heart. See if you can identify a feeling such as sad, happy, inspired, scared. Breathe into that now. Feel the sensations. What does your body feel like lying there?

Practice 2: Visualize Yourself as a boy when you were hurt.

Building upon the previous practice, close your eyes and imagine you are 4, 6, or 10. Some age when you experienced being bullied, shamed, abused, attacked or really hurt. Let the scared boy know that you are hear to listen to him and be with him. Place your hand on your heart and breathe. Continue to let him know you are there for him. Feel whatever arises. If nothing happens, attend to him again when you have some quality alone time.

Practice 3: Stay connected to your balls

Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart. Shoulders relaxed, knees unlocked. A lot of men think that if they feel their heart or show their feelings, they are weak and less of a man. Just because you are being asked to “feel your feelings” doesn’t mean you need to lose your manliness, direction & power by cutting off your balls.  The saying in some men’s circles is “balls and heart.” The two together make you more attractive to women and trustable to other powerful men. Breathe first down into your balls and then up into your heart. Exhale down through your feet. Feel the weight of your balls. Feel the power of your heart. Feel your spine connect balls, heart, and head. Feel your feet root through the floor. Feel your power.

Practice 4: Take some space

Next time you get in a fight with your friend, partner, or spouse, take 5-10 minutes alone by saying something like, “I’m too heated right now to respond. I need some space. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Then do practice 2. Really breathe into that hurt place in you and feel it fully, rather than being in your head, justifying all the ways she’s wrong. Stay with your breath and your body sensations. This is the way out. Fights with our lovers are always opportunities to open our heart further.

Want to up the ante and really challenge yourself? Try the next one.

Practice 5: Find another man to be your practice partner and practice being witnessed

Since most men struggle to be genuinely open with another man, this might be a great edge for you to explore.

Next time you are hurt, try telling this man about your hurt. For example, let’s say you just lost your job and you it brings up feelings of worthlessness and fear. You then say to your practice partner, “I lost my job. I feel worthless and afraid right now.” As much as possible feel it and be seen.

Many men would rather keep their pain to themselves. This is a good strategy if you do not want to experience the depth of love and freedom that can come with sharing your heart with another person.

But if you want deep love and connection, sharing your pain builds trust and intimacy. Granted, sometimes when we open up, the other person wants to “fix it” or they try to make you feel better. Skip that approach. It does little to help you open your heart.

Attempt to find someone who will just be there and validate your experience.

Ask yourself what kind of relationships you want? To be a revolutionary man, it is not good enough to stay shut down with a closed heart. As always, don’t take my word for it, try staying shut down or opening up and see what happens.

When you are going about your day, begin to notice how much you are closing or opening based upon the situation and context. Pay attention without judging yourself.

Opening our heart to ourselves is the most important practice of all.

Retweet or email this post along. The world could use more fierce, open-hearted men who can express themselves.

Will you be one of them?


  • air max shoes

    Reply Reply June 7, 2010

    Well , the view of the passage is totally correct ,your details is really reasonable and you guy give us valuable informative post, I totally agree the standpoint of upstairs. I often surfing on this forum when I m free and I find there are so much good information we can learn in this forum!

  • air jordan 12

    Reply Reply June 8, 2010

    Here elaborates the matter not only extensively but also detailly .I support the
    write's unique point.It is useful and benefit to your daily life.You can go those
    sits to know more relate things.They are strongly recommended by friends.Personally!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field