Here’s the deal: Life is all about love. It’s almost always a choice between love and something else. When people choose love, they choose right. Love illuminates our relationships. The most important relationship we’ll ever have is the relationship we have with ourselves, and then the one we share with each other. To overstate and understate things, we are here on this Earth to love and be loved. To be open to love can seem simple enough, but for a lot of us, it is quite tedious and almost impossible. It’s interesting to see how a good chunk of the population has the same approach to relationships as they do to their professional lives. They also attach significance to similar metaphors – sacrificing, working hard, going the extra mile. It is baffling how people will transfer these into their personal and intimate relationships. Maybe it is hard work, maybe it is not. We are here to help you understand how to be open to love, and how to let love in – in any form. Love yourself to be open to love First and foremost, it needs to be embedded in everyone that the feeling, sensation, or reaction of love is entirely subjective. This word does not elicit the same type of response in two people – the perception is always different. What we need to focus on instead is the significance of that word to our individual self. It goes without saying that love is not only expressed but also received. For a fulfilling relationship, it must go both ways. Demonstrating or conveying the love we have for any given person can never be stronger and grander than the love we’re carrying for ourselves inside. Basically, being open to love starts with loving yourself first. Why is it important to love yourself or why is it impossible to be fully open to love without it? Self-love is defined by psychologists as a positive concept involving the practice of several self-enhancing qualities of thinking, feeling, and acting towards yourself. It is a practice that is mentally healthy and related to confidence and high self-esteem, much like every other kind of love we know of. This is absolutely important as it helps us be open to love in the right way. This means that we love ourselves enough to identify what is good for us. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but as our favorite wallflower said, we accept the love we think we deserve. But the good news is that once we commit to becoming our own best friend, we can learn to practice self-love while developing amazingly fulfilling loving relationships. Making yourself the priority, taking time out to introspect, and getting to know yourself better, and being comfortable with spending time by yourself are some of the best ways to cultivate a relationship with yourself. Once you realize that you are a whole person by yourself, being open to love will be so much easier. In essence, to be open to love means self-love being reflected from the other person in any and every kind of relationship. Being open to love = Feeling worthy A natural corollary to self-love is a sense of self-worth. You cannot be open to love if you can’t accept the love coming your way. It must be within you to receive love in any form – compliments or the like. There are a lot of us who would rather express our love for someone than be the one on the receiving end. It is the story we tell ourselves, that we are either undeserving or unworthy of love or that we haven’t done anything significant to be getting that love. We need to stop beating ourselves up. However, what is crucial is to comprehend is that you don’t need to meet some arbitrary standard to be worthy of love. Your literal existence by itself is good enough. You are ‘qualified’ to be open to love just as you are. Look in the mirror, just as you are. No further qualification is necessary. Doesn’t it feel good when you experience someone else receiving what you’ve given them? Just as you feel someone’s face light up as a response to something you did for them, your own life would light up too if you are open to love. Why would you deny the other person that same feeling when you know it feels good? Allow yourself to give freely according to your heart’s desire and allow yourself to receive in equal amounts. That balance is the answer to your question of how to be open to love. To be open to love, let go of the pain Generally, the biggest obstacle to being open to love is the fear of being vulnerable. Truly opening up, being vulnerable and allowing someone to really see us at our core can be terrifying. And it is especially scary if we’ve done it before and been hurt in the process. When that happens, we go into our shells and close ourselves off from any kind of positive emotion let alone love. Take a moment to recognise your pattern. What is the layer that you put between everybody else and your true self? It is quite easy to continuously think of the long term and how a person might hurt you in the future. Stop and lower your expectations. Being open to love is not automatically synonymous to commitment. It’s about having fun and experiencing life in a way that makes you happy. So how to be open to love you ask? Let love flow. It’s generally harder to suppress the feeling of love than it is to naturally let it take its course. Be open to love by doing nothing in particular. It requires no hard work, no grind, no hustle. There is so much love and kindness in each and every one of us. It is our responsibility to share and feel it. No one else is responsible for how you feel. In the same way, you have no reason to not feel good or loved, you can choose to change your emotions at any given time. That is, as elucidated above, is the crux of being open to love. Love should be generated and sourced from within. So, go be a lover – express it, receive it, and watch what happens.