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We carry so much baggage in our relationships; the good and bad experiences we’ve had with the people we know pile up through days and months. Sometimes this can make it difficult to begin new relationships or continue old ones. But what if we gave relationships another chance by practicing looking at people with our heart rather than with our eyes?

What would that look like? And how might it be accomplished?

Step 1 – Be Curious
Ask yourself: What does my heart see when I look at my daughter, a stranger or my colleague?
Forget about what you already know about them and your past experiences with them. Instead, focus on this precise moment. What do you see? Strip away previous perceptions and judgements and listen deeply. Find an open mind by looking at people with your heart. The stranger might be having a bad day. Your daughter may be feeling exactly as you did when you were her age. And that colleague might be going through a burden that you know nothing about.

Step 2 – Show Compassion
Try to connect with people’s hopes and needs. Ask yourself where the views and actions of the person in front of you might be coming from. Since you are looking deeper and without judgement, you’ll see a clearer version of that person. Allow this new interpretation into you, don’t fight it back with your previous perceptions. Connecting with people draws you closer, opening you up to more understanding and less divide and taking the edge out of your feelings.

Step 3 – Be Courageous
When we see with our hearts, we feel vulnerable, uneasy and even naive. Stop the internal commentary inside your head about this new “you” and the new “them” and instead carry on with the conversation. Be open and available for connection.

We are constantly growing, stretching and evolving, Make your thoughts a central place of your personal development and evolution.

Look and listen without distractions.

Let us remember that relationships provide a secure foundation for human spirits to grow and flourish. They give us a refuge from the pressures of this world. Looking with your heart is the key to understanding, acceptance and trust. And doing so gives way to second chances in any relationship.

Written by Monica Kerik