When you love someone (be it friends, family or partner) and pour your heart out to them, you hope to be heard and understood, isn’t it?

It can be very painful and frustrating when you realize that they are "miles away" (mentally & emotionally) even though you may be living in close proximity. You may attempt to reach out, but it seems like there is an emotional barrier that is hard to cross. With time, this barrier gets bigger, resentment builds, and it gets even harder to connect from an open and loving space.

Emotional openness in relationships can be difficult for many reasons, but thankfully there are ways of encouraging and nurturing a heart-to-heart relationship with the people you love. And every effort in this direction is worth it. So, here are three keys to building a greater emotional connection, one step at a time…

#1. Resolve past hurts

Past hurts that have been buried in our hearts, inevitably surface in some shape or form to cause trouble at a later stage. As painful as it is, unless we learn to resolve and release those hurtful experiences, they continue to fester. Forgiving those who have hurt us can be a huge relief which often results in a new level of emotional openness.

What past hurts and upsets are you continuing to carry in your heart? What will become possible if you choose to release them?

#2. Accept differences

When an atmosphere of acceptance is created, people in your life are more likely to share their feelings openly. When they feel emotionally safe and accepted, they are able to return the same feeling to you! How wonderful it would be if we could learn to be more patient and understanding. Start with small steps and small gestures of acceptance.

Ask yourself, who are you wanting to change in your life and why? Can you learn to accept them as they are?

#3. Listen with an open heart

This is the biggest gift we can offer to another person. When negative emotions are running high, it becomes especially important to be open and receptive, instead of reacting strongly. When difficult conversations are handled well, the relationship automatically strengthens.

Are you listening with an open heart in your relationships? How can you stop reacting from a place of anger and hurt?

A power tip

At the end of the day, ask your partner or family members how their day was. Be willing to actively listen to what they have to say. Be open to listening without judgements or interrupting them. Just be PRESENT. (Avoid using your mobile phone while the other person is sharing). This is a fantastic beginning to more open-hearted listening!

Affirmation for the week

I am willing to change. I am open and receptive to all experiences in life. I share my love generously with others. I accept others’ love with gratitude and joy.