People build walls around their hearts to protect themsleves from pain. These same walls keep us from love and without breaking them down, we never expose ourselves fully to the possibilities of love, connection, abundance, and creativity.
We can call these walls many things- our ego, the false self, or a persona. It's the layers of toughness that we create because we think it is what our parents want, our peers respect, or our religion dictates. The foundation of these walls are the "musts" and "shoulds" we hear from external sources and choose to take on. Then we add the bricks of guilt, fear, and judgement. Pretty soon the walls are so stable that we feel as though they are part of us. Much like the hard exoskeleton of a beetle we wear these layers every day. They are heavy and they weigh us down. But the fear of exposing our true self can be overwhelming. So how do we begin removing these layers?
Spend time in meditation. Silence allows us to hear our inner voice and begin reconnecting with our unique individual spirit.
Make eye contact when you speak. Establishing eye contact shows respect and creates connection. Feeling connected will lay a new and more stable foundation for relationships.
Compete with no one but yourself. Whether you are an athlete, a sales rep, or a student, we all like to compare our acheivements with our peers. Don't! Get in the habit of doing your best and comparing results to your past.
Don't be a know-it-all. If you find yourself correcting people in conversation all the time, ask yourself if it is helpful. If it doesn't really matter then perhaps you are building yourself up while tearing them down. So stop.
View criticism as a personal growth opportunity. Accept criticism with gratitude for the oportunity to grow. It's not what is wrong with you, it is what will soon be better about you.
Accept praise humbly. Notice what you are good at and the traits that others value in you. If thses are skills you are proud of, do all you can to expand them.
Self- medicating is a sign of discomfort. Whether you are drinking wine everyday, running compulsively, or following each new-fad diet, you are clearly avoiding something or searching for something. Get rid of these habits stop avoiding your feelings.
Spend time alone. Until you recognize your own value, how do you think others will? Know yourself.
Remember, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Test the boudaries frequently!