Institute of HeartMath Newsletter
Learning to Be Heart Vulnerable

Learning to Be Heart Vulnerable

From the moment we arrive in this world, we are aware of what all our senses tell us about our surroundings. When our mothers’ arms embrace us and we feel warmth and a caring heart, we begin to feel peace, comfort and love in our new world.

What we are doing is learning, quite naturally, to allow ourselves to be more heart vulnerable. Now, heart vulnerability is not a process that produces what you may commonly associate with vulnerability – being open to hurt, injury or attack.

Neither is heart vulnerability "being sentimental or mushy … trying to do good and letting others walk on you or allowing their feelings to pull you down," say Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman in their book Transforming Anger – the HeartMath Solution for Letting Go of Rage, Frustration, and Irritation. "Being heart vulnerable is staying solidly centered in your heart while you feel what’s really going on and listen to your common-sense heart intelligence."

Many people believe that when we are children, and even as adults, we retain the memory on some level, of that initial security. Most of us know too that the trials and tribulations of life can make this a distant memory. When we start school or strike out on our own, it is natural to become more cautious in strange surroundings with new people and stimuli. When, however, we suffer heartbreak in love, lose a dear relative or friend or experience any of life’s pressing challenges, a great number of us instinctively insulate ourselves from the world. If we haven’t received external support, as we did in infancy, we frequently go to great lengths to protect ourselves: We may shut out our feelings, avoid relationships or grow bitter and angry.

"Often people avoid feelings because they’re afraid of becoming vulnerable, getting pulled into an emotional sinkhole they won’t easily get out of," Childre and Rozman say in Transforming Anger. "Feelings have to be addressed, or they’ll hold back progress in many areas of your life. Being heart vulnerable allows you to notice your feelings as they move through you, hopefully, before they cascade into anger or rage."

"Rather than becoming less vulnerable when we experience hurt and emotional pain in life, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in our hearts is precisely the antidote we need, advises The Hidden Power of the Heart, by Sara Paddison. (She is now Sara Childre, president of the Institute of HeartMath.)

"Being vulnerable doesn’t have to be threatening," Sara Childre writes. "Just have the courage to be sincere, open and honest. This opens the door to deeper communication all around. It creates self-empowerment and the kind of connections with others we all want in life."

When you were that infant, it was not your brain that told you it was good to be held and touched and cared for. So how did you know these things? Just as you know in your heart that it feels good to be happy, how wonderful warm sand on a beach feels between your toes and when you are in love, your heart was speaking. True, your brain can think such things through, but it is your intelligent and intuitive heart that feels them on a deeper level.

The Institute of HeartMath has been researching the human heart and feelings/emotions for more than two decades. Many scientific studies conducted through the years by eminent researchers have shown the heart to be a source of great intelligence and the seat of the intuitive process. We know so much more today about how and why we feel love, compassion, sorrow and other emotions. Numerous studies show, for example, we can improve our health, academic performance, relationships and even our outlook on life by simply turning to our hearts and intentionally feeling love, care, compassion and other positive emotions.

You may have heard it said that hearts can heal the world. Countless millions of people have believed and lived by this counsel through the millennia and advised that it begins by looking no farther than within ourselves. Acknowledging what you’re feeling and listening to your heart – your heart brain is speaking to you every bit as much as the one in your head – adds energy and resilience to your life. What’s even more amazing is that you can start immediately and reap the benefits instantly.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

– Anne Frank, from her diary

Having the courage to allow yourself to be heart vulnerable personally and with others could prove to be one of the sweetest and most healing medicines you ever take. This is especially true if you’ve been hurting for some time and have retreated from the joys of life.

HeartMath has developed many tools that can help you become more in tune with your heart – to listen to and acknowledge what it is you are feeling and go with it. One that has been used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world is the Notice and Ease® Tool. Use the link to begin identifying and neutralizing unwanted emotions. Notice and Ease can teach you to release those emotions by actually befriending them and then stopping their energy drain. Then your heart will be open to accept the positive emotions that create and maintain energy and resilience and provide comfort and security whenever you allow yourself to be heart vulnerable.

You can read more about the Institute of HeartMath, its tools, techniques, technology and services at www.heartmath.org.

Doc Childre is the chairman and founder of HeartMath, and Deborah Rozman is president and CEO of Quantum Intech Inc., (parent company of HeartMath LLC.)