Does having a big heart feel like both a blessing and a curse?
I get it. It can be a balancing act. On the one hand, you know having a big heart is a gift. You thrive when you can share your generous nature with others. And you see how others are lifted by your kindness and caring.
On the other hand, having a big heart seems to involve exposing yourself to a lot of pain. As a result, closing off your heart may look like a reasonable strategy to avoid getting hurt once again.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your big heart while keeping it open so you can share yourself authentically with the world. We’ll get to these in a moment.
But first, in case you’re wondering, let’s take a closer look at some of the signs of having a big heart.
Signs You Have A Big Heart
- You love being of service to others. You’ll drop what you’re doing at a moment’s notice to lend a hand to someone in need. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know well. Helping gives you a sense of purpose, no matter who is on the receiving end.
- Your generosity knows no bounds. You’re generous with your time, attention, and other resources. To you, good fortune should be shared, not hoarded. You know that we live in an abundant universe and that the more you share your blessings with others, the more they grow and expand.
- You see the best in everyone. You’re kind and compassionate, and you have a forgiving nature. You have a knack for seeing people’s true potential, even when they’re not at their best.
- You radiate positivity. When you’re connected to your core and express your big heart with balance, you are magnetic. People are drawn to your bright light and love basking in your warmth.
- Relationships are essential to you. Having a big heart also means that you’re sensitive. You understand that we are all connected and profoundly impact each other through our energy, words, and actions. Because of this awareness, you strive to be a beacon of kindness in all of your relationships.
- You tend to wear your heart on your sleeve. You’re in touch with your emotions and feel them deeply. When you love someone, you don’t hold back. Expressing the magnitude of your love is both freeing and exhilarating to you.
That’s quite a robust list, and perhaps you recognize these signs in yourself. But what about the dark side of having a big heart?
Is It Bad To Have A Big Heart?
The biggest challenge with having a big heart is that you can be hurt easily.
Caring for others is rewarding, but being used by them is painful. When you overextend your generosity to people who cannot appreciate and honor you, you feel taken for granted. Nobody likes to be a doormat. And with such an open, giving heart, you expose yourself to having people walk all over you.
Even if you’re tending to people who appreciate you when you do so at the expense of your own needs and well-being, you create more pain for yourself. It may be that others are so used to you coming to their aid that they can’t imagine that you have needs too. Maybe they’re just not aware. Nevertheless, you feel neglected and uncared-for.
The risk of having a big heart is that you might be tempted to shut down to avoid these painful experiences. If you’ve been hurt one too many times, you might decide that it’s not worth the pain.
But that would be a shame. The world needs the gifts of kindness and compassion that you embody. And, you don’t want to miss out on the joy of being fully, authentically you.
Here are steps you can take today to protect your big heart so you can keep spreading the love.
4 Ways To Protect Your Big Heart
#1 – Fill your own cup first.
Putting yourself first may seem counterintuitive. But if you have a big heart, you must get into the practice of putting yourself first as the first step in protecting your heart.
The wisdom of the heart is that of balance. It’s about a healthy exchange of energy where there’s a balance between giving and receiving.
But if your default is to put everyone else first without tending to yourself, you create an imbalance in the exchange. Such imbalances lead to depletion, burn-out, and resentment.
As such, your goal should be to share from a cup that is full and overflowing, not from one that is empty.
To fill your cup, you must be the recipient of your own heart first, before anyone else. That means you must practice self-generosity, self-kindness, self-compassion, and self-forgiveness before sharing these exceptional qualities with anyone else.
Practically speaking, you can begin by honoring your time, your attention, your money, and your love as the precious natural resources that they are. Commit to becoming aware of your own needs and dreams and tending to them.
When you put yourself first, you fill your cup, which allows you to function at your highest capacity. Only then (and not before) are you able to extend your generosity to others in a balanced and sustainable way.
#2 – Be selective.
Next, you need to be selective regarding the people with whom you share your big heart.
I know this can feel like a stretch. After all, having a big heart means that you enjoy seeing the best in people. You give people the benefit of the doubt. And you usually let people have second, third, and fourth chances, even when they don’t deserve it.
But, as you know by now, it’s not uncommon for people with less honorable intentions to take advantage of your good nature. They may exploit you and cause tremendous suffering. Even still, you may have a hard time believing that some people aren’t as well-intentioned as you are.
When you understand that not everyone is like you, you empower yourself to discern how you share yourself. Being selective creates healthy boundaries that give you both safety and freedom to express yourself authentically.
One way to begin this process is to ask yourself some simple questions about the people you’ve been helping and supporting.
- Does this person respect what I’m offering?
- Do they honor my time and attention?
- Are they genuinely grateful?
What you want to be on the lookout for are people who feel entitled to you and your precious resources. Also, you want to be wary of anyone trying to guilt you into helping them.
Remember that you don’t owe anyone anything. You have every right to decide where you share your big heart.
There will always be people who want to take from you without honoring your gifts. Be selective so you have more energy to devote to those who can truly appreciate and benefit from your warm-hearted offerings.
#3 – Don’t take on others’ emotions.
Another way to protect your big heart is to practice good emotional hygiene. That means not taking on the emotions of others.
Big-hearted folks are usually big feelers (they may even be empaths), and seeing people in pain can elicit an emotional response in you.
You need to identify your own emotions as separate from the feelings of those around you and allow others to process their own emotions for themselves.
But be careful not to confuse caring genuinely about someone with taking on the responsibility for that person’s feelings. Although this may seem like a kind thing to do, in truth, it disempowers the other.
Recognize that you’re not responsible for feeling the grief and sorrow of others. Acknowledge that you can feel compassion and empathy for those in pain and need while allowing them to have their healing journey.
#4 – Let the giving be the gift of your big heart.
And finally, to protect your big heart from pain, let your giving be the gift. Let me explain.
Having a big heart, you get great joy from expressing kindness and generosity.
However, sometimes you might feel hurt when your giving is not returned. After all, you’re acutely aware of when someone gives to you, and you enjoy reciprocating.
These moments where your generosity is not reciprocated are tremendous opportunities to embody the essence of giving: it is in the giving that you receive the gift.
This is kindness for the sake of kindness. You tap into the joy of being kind, and that is the gift you offer yourself: the experience of being kind.
And in having a big heart–in being kind without expecting anything in return–others are free to show up however they’re showing up in the moment. What greater gift is there than that?
Having a big heart is a gift. To protect your heart, put yourself first, be selective with those you give to, don’t take on others’ emotional pain, and let your giving be the gift. When you do, you keep your heart open so you can give and receive love in a sustaining way.
Would you like support protecting your big heart while opening your heart to love? As a big-hearted person, sometimes reading about it isn’t enough to make the shifts you want to make. Consider booking a healing session with me. I can help you identify and clear any blocks you have so you can show up in the world in your most authentic and empowered, big-hearted way. Book your session today!
Or let me know how I can help by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.