Would you rather be right or be happy, is a well-known lesson in A Course in Miracles. My Valentines version of this is: Would you rather wait for the “right way” to express love or, be ecstatic for all the ways and opportunities to give and receive more love and appreciation? In this article, I share with you six steps to turn a “Heart-Scrooge” into a “Heart-Sharer”.
What is a Heart-Scrooge? Obviously, borrowing from the Dickens character in A Christmas Carol, a Heart-Scrooge is a person who is miserly in the expression of love and appreciation, and by reciprocity, reluctant, unwilling or unable to receive it from others. Just like Scrooge in the Dickens novel, a Heart-Scrooge would say “Valentine’s Schmalentines” to Valentine’s Day and carry on like it was nothing special to celebrate.
I have to admit that I used to be a bit of a “Heart-Scrooge”. Before “Sacred Journey of the Heart”, I was someone who would go around saying things like “Valentine’s Day is just a made-up Hallmark card holiday,” or “I don’t need a special day to remember to say “I love you”, (and all the while, not loving myself very much and being somewhat stingy in expressing love and appreciation to others!). Not only was I stingy with my feelings, much like Scrooge was with money, but I also used to be afraid to express them, just in case I’d make a fool of myself or I’d get hurt.
I now call this my former “Heart-Scrooge” period. In fact, you can see how it looks to be an actual “Heart-Scrooge” in the first two minutes of the film, in my “before” pictures. (Click here to view the prologue to the film… ) – I look scared, withdrawn, serious (very serious) and kind of boring as a person. AND you can see what it looks like “after”, when I became a Heart-Sharer.
Heart-Scrooges most likely say “bah-humbug” about roses and cards and candy. As a recovered Heart-Scrooge, what I call a “Heart-Sharer”, I now love the holiday! I look forward to it and plan on expressing and sharing in many ways! And it’s a fantastic reminder of how we may choose to love every day, if we just give ourselves permission to say, “Thank you, I love you, I’m glad you’re in my life”.
I found out too, as I was recovering my full ability to live as a “Heart-Sharer”, that lots of people are walking around in a heart-scrooged-up manner. Meaning, they know that they are capable of loving, and sharing way more than they are right now. If you harbor this secret desire inside to share more from your heart, then know that there is a pathway to change!
As we all know, change occurs first with yourself. So the following steps are 6 steps aimed at helping you shift any last vestiges of your inner Heart-Scrooge to a Heart-Sharer:
6 Steps to Transform from a Heart-Scrooge to a Heart-Sharer:
- First, you have to admit two things: a) you’ve been miserly with your feelings as if sharing them would “cost” you something, b) you’re afraid you might get hurt. Without facing these two things, you gloss over the surface and set up defense patterns and barriers to the deepest part of your heart, thereby lessening the amount of love you give and receive. It’s a simple formula: Fear x denial = Shut down. Try this one instead: Fear x acknowledgement = Openness to change.
- Second, you have to “take the garbage out of your heart”. Plain and simple. You can’t shift from a Scrooge to a Sharer if you are not willing to admit that you picked up one or both of these core negative beliefs somewhere along the line: a) “love is scarce” and/or b) “I don’t deserve love”. You must face these beliefs and recognize them for what they are: FALSE. But you can’t change these beliefs until you love them! That’s the surprising part. You cannot change a negative belief by acting “negative” towards it! Saying “I want to get rid of this BAD belief”, doesn’t work. Try this instead. Look into your own eyes and say: “I recognize that I have held these beliefs until now, and I lovingly release them. I now believe, with all my heart, that Love is infinite and I am worthy of all that love has to offer”. The Rx for recovering from heart-scrooginess is to repeat this at least 20 times a day, no less! (Note: I give credit to this powerful process to Colin Tipping and the transformative process of Radical Forgiveness. As Colin says, “the only thing that transforms an old belief is to love first!”)
- Third, become Engaged to yourself! One of the experts in my film, Sarah McLean, shared this concept with me in last September’s telesummit interview for “The Science and Art of Opening Your Heart”. After years of being single, Sarah decided to treat herself as she wanted to be treated by that “someone special”. She gave herself compliments, took herself on long walks on the beach, bought herself flowers, went out to dinner at nice places and even purchased an engagement ring for herself. She stopped looking outside for love and fell in love within. It was during this time, when she wasn’t looking for it, that her soul mate found her and true love blossomed in her life. This step is life-changing. To be engaged with love, engage yourself within, with loving feelings, words and actions. (Sarah’s interview and transcript are available as part of our Heart Specials Month. Click here for more information about how to obtain Sarah’s full interview.)
- Fourth, you must be willing to be vulnerable. To become a Heart-Sharer, you must be willing to express not suppress! This means you have to take risks, sometimes purposefully play the fool and at all times, remember that becoming a Heart-Sharer is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and others! You have to be willing to open your heart and allow two things to happen: a) your feelings to come out and b) other’s feelings to “come in”, meaning for you to become aware of other’s feelings about you. Here’s another formula: Feelings ÷ suppression = Heart contraction (or heart attack). Try this instead: Feelings x expression = Heart expansion.
- Fifth, go for it! Make a promise to yourself that, “On this day, I will not let any opportunities to express love go by the wayside.” Promise yourself that you will not be someone who experiences one of top 5 regrets of the dying! (Regret #3 is: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”.) Go for it! Even if it’s hard, do not wait! Say what you desire and need to say. Sometimes it’s awkward but you will not have to live with this painful regret. If you need to, be willing to say: “I’m sorry I haven’t called in so long. I didn’t know how to reach out, but I’m doing it now. I miss you.”
- Sixth, get creative! Take advantage of any and all ordinary and special opportunities to Love – Valentine’s Day, Birthday’s holidays and any other reason to share. Why miss a single one? If you’re a recovering Heart-Scrooge, make a promise to yourself for the rest of 2014, you will have a Secret Valentine’s Day every 14th of the month. Without telling others, make the 14th your special day to express love and appreciation by surprising people with “secret heart-sharer” presents, sort of like “Secret Santa”. Leave a small note of appreciation on a friend’s desk at work or send a text, leave a message or put a small token of affection on your loved one’s pillow.
What I discovered through my own Heart-Scrooge to Heart-Sharer transformation, was that it was far more painful to live all “Scrooged-up” in my heart-space than the temporary discomfort I experienced in learning to open my heart and share. In the final lines of A Christmas Carol, Dickens wrote this about Scrooge’s transformation: His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him…. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!” Happy Valentine’s Day to all of us!