Q: How Do I Open Myself Up to Love?

1. Don't expect to get all you need from someone else.

Whether we're talking about romantic relationships, deep friendships, or close bonds with family members, love is never codependency, validation, self-worth self-value or self-esteem. It's an experience that should fill us with joy—not serve as a replacement for loving ourselves.

2. Heal your wounds.

Many of us ask ourselves in life, Am I unlovable? Often this question arises after a difficult relationship, be it romantic or familial, that leads us to believe we are. Only when we resolve the pain of these experiences will we believe ourselves worthy of affection. That belief is what allows our capacity for love to grow.

3. Don't impose conditions.

If you loved me, you would...If I had more love, I could...Such attitudes are recipes for disappointment within any relationship. To usher more love into our lives, we must release our expectations about what it should be and start opening ourselves up to all that it is.

4. Serve others.

When we give without expectation of reward or recognition, our hearts open to the wealth of love. There are few things that can offer you a greater sense of love—for yourself, for your fellow man—than giving to someone with a need bigger than your own.

5. Embrace acceptance.

When we learn to be okay with ourselves and those in our lives, whether they're family members or potential partners, our hearts open to a deeper understanding of what is, rather than a discouraging longing for what isn't. It's a lot easier to love the person right in front of you than someone who doesn't exist.

Iyanla Vanzant is the host of OWN's Iyanla: Fix My Life and the author of Peace from Broken Pieces (SmileyBooks).

Learn how to forgive everyone for everything—sign up for Iyanla’s on-demand eCourse today.

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