S2 EP114 – Loving Yourself is not Selfish

Episode Summary

Were you taught to believe that loving yourself is selfish? Discover the difference between taking care of yourself from your wounded self or from your loving adult. Also, discover whether you are inadvertently contributing to the darkness of our planet, and what you can do about it. 

Transcript

Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today I will be talking about why loving yourself isn’t selfish and about the big difference between being selfish and being truly loving to yourself.

I often have clients ask me, “If I just take care of myself and look out for my own highest good, wouldn’t I be selfish?”

The answer is, yes and no. Yes, if you are asking the question about your highest good from your wounded self, and no if you are asking it from your loving adult.

When the narcissistic aspect of the ego wounded self asks about your highest good, it is concerned with the earthly level – with acquiring things and money, with achievements and with recognition. According to the narcissistic aspect of the wounded self, it is okay to step over others to get what you think you want or need. The end justifies the means. It is all about you – your wants, your needs and your desires. This aspect of the wounded self is self-centered and selfish, quite unconcerned about the effect your behavior has on others. It is also unconcerned about your true highest good. It just wants to have control over getting love, avoiding pain and feeling safe.

However, if you ask about your highest good from your loving adult, you are asking about the highest good of your SOUL. The loving adult is concerned with your highest good on the spiritual level – about what is in the highest good of the immortal part of you, rather than about what you think you want or need right now. And it is never in the highest good of your soul to be selfish and uncaring toward others. Quite the opposite.

When we are asking about what is in our highest good from the loving adult, we are wanting to support our own highest good AND the highest good of all. We know that whatever is truly loving to us is also loving to others. It is never about “I’m going to take care of me, regardless of how it affects you.”

The loving adult knows that we will never feel good about ourselves when we come from a self-centered place. We came to this planet to evolve our souls in love and the full manifestation of our gifts. We cannot fulfill our soul’s journey when we stay stuck in our wounded self, just trying to get everything we can at anyone’s expense.

While Inner Bonding is about taking loving care of our self, it is about doing this in connection with our spiritual guidance. The wounded self wants to convince us that we are being loving to ourselves when we close our heart to protect against being hurt but being closed-hearted will never make us feel good or safe. Our safety lies in learning to be a loving adult, taking loving action for ourselves without violating others.

Selfishness comes from fear and insecurity, from being afraid to care about others for fear of being taken advantage of, and from believing that you need others to give themselves up for you. It comes from an abandoned child desperately trying to get what it needs from others because you are not taking loving care of yourself. The more you learn to be a spiritually connected loving adult, the more powerful and the less selfish you will become.

Far from creating selfishness, the practice of Inner Bonding creates just the opposite. It creates personally responsible adults who are far more concerned with being kind and compassionate with themselves and others than with getting love, attention, approval or things.

Sometimes clients have asked, “If I become more loving, won’t I be weak? Won’t I let people take advantage of me? Don’t I have to be selfish to be safe from being used?”

Loving yourself and others has nothing to do with being weak. Again, it is very much the opposite. The loving adult, connected with a source of strength and wisdom, would never let others walk all over you, because this would not be loving to you or to them. The loving adult is strong, open, and powerful, willing to take loving action on your behalf – action that supports your own highest good and the highest good of others.

Many of us grew up with a skewed definition of selfish. I certainly did. I was told repeatedly by my grandmother that if I didn’t do what she wanted, and instead did what I wanted and what felt right to me, I was being selfish. It took me a long time to understand that she was the one being selfish by expecting me to give myself up for her. She wanted things her way. She wanted a lot of control, so she called me selfish if I didn’t do things her way, which was crazymaking.

You’re being selfish when you try to have control over getting others to give themselves up and go along with what you want, and you’re being selfish when you don’t care about the effects your behavior has on others.

If you’re giving to others with an agenda, like you’re being nice and being giving, but you’re really doing it with an agenda to get something back, then that’s also selfish because you’re not giving from your heart. You’re giving to get something. If you’re over talking, talking on and on and not listening, you’re trying to have control over people listening to you, paying attention to you, giving you what you’re probably not giving to yourself. This is coming from your wounded self, and the wounded self is selfish and self-centered.

And anytime we harm others for our own ends, of course that’s being selfish, and we see that happening a lot on our planet. There is much greed in the food industry, the drug industry, the insurance industry, and that’s certainly being selfish. They’re not caring about the effect that they have on our planet, on the environment, or on our health. They just want the power and control that comes with money. and they don’t care about who or what they’re harming. And, of course, racism, sexism, homophobia – all are coming from the fear and selfishness of the wounded self. 

We’re not being selfish when we’re loving ourselves, when we’re being self-responsible. When we do what brings us joy with no intent to harm another, we are being self-responsible, which is loving to ourselves. Another person might not like it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s selfish.

Let’s say that you’re in a relationship and your partner wants you to sit and watch TV with them. But you want to read a book. Now your partner might say, “You’re being selfish because you’re not sitting with me,” but you’re just doing what feels right and nurturing to you. You are being self-responsible, not selfish. If you do what is loving to you with no intention to harm anybody else, even if they don’t like it, it’s still not being selfish. But if your partner tells you that you are being selfish, then he or she is being selfish and trying to control you and make you responsible for his or her feelings.

We’re being loving to ourselves and self-responsible when we’re supporting our own highest good, even if someone wants us to do something other than what we’re doing. And they may be unhappy about it but that doesn’t mean we’re being selfish. Like with my grandmother, who lived with us. My grandmother was an Orthodox Jew and she believed that I should not be doing my homework on Saturday. So if I was doing my homework on Saturday, she was telling me that I was selfish, but really it was her being selfish. I actually had to hide in a closet to do my homework because she would follow me around to make sure that I wasn’t doing homework. Obviously, I wasn’t doing anything to hurt her. I wasn’t deliberately trying to harm her, but because I wasn’t doing what she wanted, she was telling me that I was selfish. I was doing what I felt was in my highest good, doing my homework, and it was what I wanted to do.

Think about those situations in your life, where somebody is telling you you’re selfish, or you’re telling somebody else they’re selfish, just because they’re doing what they want to do rather than doing what you want them to do, or you’re not doing what they want you to do. I have many clients whose mother constantly told them they were being selfish, when it was actually their mother who was being selfish.

We’re loving ourselves and being self-responsible when we are considerate of others wants and needs without giving ourselves up. Like I previously said, it’s selfish to not care about the effect that our behavior has on others, but that doesn’t mean that we should be giving ourselves up.

If somebody else is upset about something we are doing for ourselves with no attempt to harm them, we can care about it. We can say, “I’m sorry that’s upsetting to you. I’d like to understand more about it. Is there anything that I can do to help you with that?” But that doesn’t mean that we should give ourselves up.

Unfortunately, many of us have been brought up to believe that taking care of ourselves is selfish, but it’s really the opposite. I hope you can see that there’s a very big difference between being selfish, trying to get other people to give you what you’re not giving yourself, and being loving to yourself, being self-responsible, taking care of your own needs, taking care of your own feelings, doing what brings you joy with no intent to harm anybody else and caring about the effect that your behavior has on others.

If we look at some aspects of our society today, such as the food industry, you can see selfishness at work. As many of you know, I’m very passionate about health and I’ve been eating all organic for 60 years. I’m very careful of what I put in my body because I want to keep my frequency high enough to access my guidance. And I want to have high energy and health. But if you go into any supermarket and you look at the shelves, you see that it’s full of non-foods. These foods are devitalized. They’re full of pesticides and preservatives and toxic additives. They may have GMOs in them. These are not foods that nurture the body. They are foods that create illness. And yet this is what so many of the food manufacturers are putting out there and advertising as healthy. They don’t care about the effects these non-foods have on you and on your children. They even put ingredients into the foods to purposely create addiction to the food. It’s all about the bottom line for them.

And we have only to look around at the healthcare crisis with so many people getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases, as well as autoimmune diseases, to know that the foods so many people are eating are killing them. But these big businesses don’t care about the effect that what they’re producing has on the population. They’re coming from greed. They just want to make money. That is what I call selfish. They’re doing what they want with no concern for the effect that their behavior has on others or on the planet.

So when you’re looking at your own behavior and you want to determine whether or not your behavior is loving to you, or whether or not your behavior is selfish, look at whether what you’re doing is for your own highest good. It’s what you want to do with no intent to hurt anybody, and you’re caring about the effect that it has on others. Or are you making other people responsible for your feelings? Are you using them in some way? Are you being nice and giving to them to get something from them? That kind of giving is manipulative. It’s not caring. It’s not personally responsible. It’s not loving to yourself. When we give without any agenda, that’s loving, it’s a joy to give to other people just for the sake of giving. But if we’re giving to get something back, that’s manipulative, that’s selfish because it’s really about what we’re going to get. It’s not about true giving to others.

So think about if you’re in a relationship and your partner wants to see a particular movie, and it’s not a movie that you would like to see. I can’t watch violent movies so if I had a friend or partner who wanted to see a violent movie, I’d say no, I don’t want to watch that movie. But if that person says to me, “You’re being selfish, because I really want you to watch it with me,” it’s that person who’s being selfish. That person is expecting me to give myself up for them. But if I’m saying no, I don’t like those kinds of movies, I can’t  watch violent movies, I’m being self-responsible. I’m taking loving care of myself. I’m doing what’s in my highest. good. So that’s what you want to think about when you’re thinking about your own behavior and realize that truly loving yourself is the opposite of being selfish.

My client, Barbara, was struggling with understanding the difference between being nice to avoid conflict and being nice because she enjoys being nice. She said, “I’ve worked on not being controlling in my life over the last few years, but I feel like one way that I still control is by being nice to avoid conflict. How do I tell the difference if I’m being nice because I want to be nice versus am I trying to get something or avoid conflict or be liked?”

I said to her, “If you’re being nice to avoid conflict, that’s controlling. If you’re being nice to get something, that’s controlling, if you’re being nice for the joy of being nice, which I call being loving with no agenda – you don’t expect anything and you’re not trying to avoid anything, then you’re not trying to control anything. It’s the wounded self that is nice in order to avoid something or get something, but it’s the loving adult who’s nice and caring and loving just for the joy of it. It’s about being honest with yourself about whether or not you’ve got an agenda attached to being nice.”

Many of my clients struggle with guilt about believing they are being selfish when they do what feels right and loving to them. Many people have been programmed in their wounded self by parents, teachers, and religious leaders to believe that doing what feels right and loving to us – that following our own heart and soul is selfish. As you learn and practice Inner Bonding and learn to connect with your higher guidance, you learn to trust your guidance more than your wounded self. Your guidance will let you know that taking loving care of yourself with no intent to harm another, is not selfish.

Think about what would happen on this planet if everybody were taking responsibility for their feelings, if everybody was taking responsibility for supporting their own highest good and everybody else’s highest good. We’d have a loving caring planet, not a selfish planet.

Many of us were trained to believe that giving yourself up and caretaking others is loving to you and to them. It was a shock to me when spirit brought us Inner Bonding and I discovered that caretaking isn’t loving at all – that it’s a form of control to get love and approval. When I discovered how controlling I’d been with my caretaking, my tendency was to judge myself for it. But that’s also not loving. Self-judgment is another form of control – it’s what my wounded self learned to do to feel safe, but all it did was make me anxious.

I have many clients who came from abusive homes with no love at all. And most people, even if there wasn’t abuse, have no idea how to love themselves because they never saw their parents or others loving themselves. I often receive this question from my clients: “How can I love myself? If I was raised in a house where there was no love – there was just punishment and violence. I don’t know what love looks like.” I didn’t come from a violent home, but I also had no role-modeling from my parents of what it looks like to love yourself.  

But that doesn’t mean that we’re sentenced to not be loving to ourselves. One of the beauties of Inner Bonding is that the practice of it develops your connection with your higher guidance, and your guidance becomes the role-model. So if you’re coming from a belief that just because you came from a home with no love, it means that you can’t love yourself, it’s important to accept that that’s a big false belief. Anyone who practices Inner Bonding and who has the intention to learn to love themselves, can learn to love themselves. You don’t have to let your past determine your present. The past does not determine your present intention.

I often have clients or members of IBVillage who ask me a question such as my client Mary asked me. She said: “I’ve been practicing Inner Bonding for a couple years and I’m really excited about it. I feel like it’s changed my life, but I’ve also lost people along the way because I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I feel like I speak up for myself more and when I speak up for myself it’s not in an aggressive way, but just, ‘Hey, that’s just not okay with me. Or can we talk about this in a different way?’ But sometimes my wounded self tells me I’m being unloving or selfish and that’s why I’m losing friends. That I’m doing something wrong in taking care of myself. I get these moments of self-doubt, and I’m wondering what could I do with that? Or is it just a matter of perhaps these people are not meant to be in my life? It’s confusing to me.”

What I told Mary is that this happens to almost everybody who goes on a personal growth path because you made your previous friends at a lower frequency than you have now. We attract at our common level of woundedness and our common level of health. You were attracting at the level you were at before you started doing Inner Bonding, which was your common level of woundedness with your friends. But when you practice Inner Bonding, you move into more emotional health with a higher frequency, so you’re not going to continue to connect well with some of your previous friends. Almost everybody experiences this who is on a growth path. And in fact, I wrote an article about how often people are losing friends. There’s nothing wrong with you and you’re not being selfish – you’re being self-responsible. But sometimes we have to go through a period of not having a lot of friends and have the faith that new friends will come in. So if somebody leaves your life because you’re taking loving care of yourself, then let them go because they’re not supporting you in learning to take loving care of yourself.

Mary was worried that she was judging her previous friends when she couldn’t connect with them, and I told her that there’s a difference between being judgmental and being discerning. The wounded self judges people as good or bad, right or wrong, and that’s not at all helpful. But the loving adult is discerning and discerns whether or not this person is a good fit for you as a friend or a good fit for you as a partner. It doesn’t mean they’re good or bad, right or wrong. It just means that there might not be the kind of connection that you want to have with them. That’s not being judgmental, that’s being discerning.

Most of us learned to abandon ourselves from the role modeling of our parents, caregivers, and society. But few people realize that abandoning yourself is selfish toward both other people and our planet.

Imagine a pond with sparkling clear water. Imagine that someone drops a small drop of black ink into the pond. You don’t see the difference with your naked eye, but the water is now slightly darker. Over time, others drop small drops of black ink into the pond, and after a number of years, the water is now cloudy.

Now imagine that the pond is a room, and the water is love. At the beginning the love around us is totally sparkling clear, but as each person moves out of love and into anger, judgment, hurt, anxiety, depression, or emptiness, they put a drop of darkness into the room, and soon the room feels heavy and dark instead of light.

Now imagine that it is not a room, but our planet, and that each time we move into our wounded selves – physically and emotionally abandoning ourselves and thereby creating our wounded feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, aloneness, emptiness or jealousy, we add to the darkness of the planet.

Our frequency either adds light to our world or darkness to our world. Our choice to act out of our wounded self and abandon ourselves is not just about us – it is about everyone.

Joanie was at Kim’s 50th birthday party. Kim was one of Joanie’s best friends and she had worked hard to create a wonderful birthday for Kim. Joanie had not wanted to invite Gretchen, Kim’s sister-in-law, but she knew that Kim would have been upset if Gretchen hadn’t been invited.

One of the ceremonies that Joanie had created for Kim was for everyone to sit in a circle and share with Kim what she meant to them. As people shared their love and admiration for Kim, Gretchen started to pout. Before her turn, she abruptly got up and angrily left the house, slamming the door behind her. Everyone felt stunned. The woman who had been speaking wondered if she had said something wrong, but she was assured that Gretchen’s behavior had nothing to do with her. This is just what Gretchen tended to do when she felt threatened and jealous, which she often felt toward Kim.

The energy in the room, which had felt warm and soft, now felt heavy. Gretchen had dumped her darkness on everyone. Joanie asked everyone to take some deep breaths, feel compassion for themselves, and then extend the compassion out to Gretchen. As everyone did this, the energy again lightened, and the ceremony went on.

But the drop of darkness that Gretchen dumped did not stop with the room. That drop of black ink reverberated throughout the universe, as a pebble dropped into a pond sends ripples throughout the pond. 

We each have the power to choose our intention.

Choosing to act out of our wounded selves is not only harmful to our own soul – it is harmful to the universe. It is an act of selfishness to choose to add darkness to the universe rather than consistently choosing to add light.

Each of us has the power and the responsibility to do all we can to consciously and consistently add light to our universe. We can do this by deciding to take responsibility for our own feelings. If Gretchen had taken responsibility for the lies she was telling herself that led to her jealousy, she would never have acted out. She would have become conscious of the self-judgments and other forms of self-abandonment that were causing her insecurity. She would have connected with her guidance, bringing in love and truth to heal her wounded self, so that she could come to the party with love in her heart, rather than coming from fear.

There is much darkness on our planet now and we each have a responsibility to stay in the light. The next time you want to act out of your wounded self, think about your behavior as contributing to the lowering of the frequency of our planet. Perhaps this will help you make a different, more loving choice.

I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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S2 EP113 – Making it OK to Fail

Episode Summary

Failure! What do you feel when you think about failing? Inadequate? Unworthy? Unlovable? Have you learned to link failure to your value as a person? Does the fear of failure stop you from doing what you really want to do?

Transcript

Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast, and today I want to talk about why it’s so important to make it ok to fail. I will be talking about what failure means to you, and how we became so afraid of failure, and how to make it okay to fail.

Take a moment to think about what you believe about failure.

Our ego wounded self, the lower left-brain part of ourselves that has been programmed with many false beliefs, often believes that:

“If I fail, I am a failure.”
“If I fail, I am stupid.”
“If I fail, no one will like me or value me.”
“If I fail, then there is no point in ever trying again.”
“If I fail, it brands me for life as incompetent.”
“If I fail, then everyone who thought I was smart will now think I am stupid.”
“If I fail, I will have made a fool of myself.”

On the other hand, the loving adult part of us, the open, creative, and learning part of us, generally believes that:

“If I fail, then I just need to work harder, to put in more effort.”

“If I fail, I will have learned valuable lessons that will eventually lead to success.”

“Failure is a part of life. No one succeeds without some failure.”

“Failure does not at all reflect on my worth as a person. I am intrinsically worthy, regardless of success or failure.”

“Failure offers me incredible opportunities to think outside the box, to think creatively. Let’s get to work!”

“I love learning and I love challenges. What I do is not about success or failure – it is about the joy of creativity, learning and expressing who I am.”

Which way do you think? What are the consequences to you of allowing yourself to think from your wounded self instead of from your loving adult?

Mistakes and failure ARE a part of life. Instead of fearing them, why not make it okay to make mistakes and to fail? Why not take the onus off failure? Why not embrace the process of learning and growing instead of being focused on the outcome of your efforts? Why not focus on enjoying the process of learning and creating something that is important to you?

People who don’t worry about success or failure, who instead are excited about their creative, learning, and growing process, generally find their way to success. The reason for this is that they don’t let failure stop them. Instead, failure spurs them on to work harder, to put forth even more effort to learn what they need to learn to succeed.

On the other hand, even very smart people, who are dominated by their ego wounded self, generally allow failure to derail them. Believing they ARE a failure if they fail, they become too afraid to make more effort. They often believe that success or failure is not dependent on effort, but on ability. When this is their belief, they often give up at the first sign of failure, fearing that, if their natural intelligence and ability is not leading to success, then there is no point in trying harder.

Many successful people know that effort, creativity, openness to learning, and perseverance are what create success, not necessarily high intelligence, talent, or ability. Most truly successful people have not allowed failure to stop them from forging ahead with passion and purpose.

One of my favorite books is Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck. In this book, she outlines how people got to be afraid of failure. One of the main ways is that children are taught that they’re worth and their lovability is attached to getting approval based on achievement rather than based on effort or based on who they are intrinsically. And when children are given attention and rewarded for achievement, they learn to attach their sense of worth as a human being to that achievement. Once your sense of worth is attached to your achievement, then, of course, you’re all set up for a fear of failure.

Dr. Dweck talks about the fact that there are two kinds of people – those who learn to focus on avoiding failure, and those who focus on learning and growth. That’s very similar to what we talk about in Inner Bonding, the intention to protect, to avoid, to control or the intention to learn about loving yourself. She describes those who are focused on avoiding failure as having a ‘fixed mindset,’ and those who don’t even think about the outcome as having a ‘growth mindset.’ These people are very involved in the process and not at all focused on the outcome. One of the things you might want to notice if you have a fear of making mistakes and failing is, are you attaching your very worth and your lovability to success or failure? Do you tell yourself that if you fail at something or make mistakes, it means that you’re unlovable or unworthy, or you’re not good enough or you’re flawed, or something is very wrong with you?

If mistakes and failure mean that you’re not good enough, then you will likely get stuck in not putting yourself out there and pursuing what you want. You’re going to be too worried about failure to take risks.

If you are stuck not pursuing what might bring you joy, it’s vitally important that you realize that failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It just means that you didn’t yet get where you wanted to go so there’s more to learn. It means that you need to learn to define yourself through your essence, which is part of what you learn to do when you practice Inner Bonding. When your worth isn’t attached to the outcome, then you become free to fail. When you learn to access your higher wisdom, your higher self, your spiritual guidance, whatever that is for you, when you learn to access that, then you learn to see yourself through the eyes of love, through the eyes of wisdom. You learn to define yourself as your true soul self, rather than through achievements or performance or how you look.

When you learn to see who you are on the inner level, your intrinsic worth, then you stop thinking about failure because you know that you’re intrinsically worthy, that you’re intrinsically good, that you’re intrinsically lovable. But you can’t just think that and say, oh yeah, I’m terrific. I’m a child of God. You can’t just say this from your mind. You need to feel the truth of this, and this comes from practicing Inner Bonding and learning to take loving action for yourself and learning to see yourself through the eyes of love. When you practice Inner Bonding long enough, then you eventually know on a deep level that who you are is absolutely wonderful, and that who you are has nothing to do with your achievements. Once you really know this, then you can pursue what you love for the joy of it, not for the outcome, not for the approval, but just for the joy of it.

When you pursue what you love for the joy of it, that, along with being able to share your love, is what life’s all about. If what you do comes out great, fine, and if it doesn’t, it’s also fine. You will have learned a lot. All truly successful people fail, and they learn from it. They don’t let it stop them. They don’t say, “Oh my God, I failed. I can’t go on.” They fall down, they get up, and they try again. It’s not a big deal. If you look at every successful person, you’ll see that they had many, many failures and all they did is learn from them.

Here’s an example from Dr. Carol Dweck’s book. I love this example. She tells the story of a young man named George Dantzig.

He was a graduate math student at Berkeley, and like a lot of math students, he was often late for class. So he came in late one Friday afternoon and on the board were two math problems. And because this young man was late, he missed the explanation, so he assumed that the problems were the homework for the weekend. When he got home and tried to solve the problems, he discovered that they were really, really hard, but this was a young man with a growth mindset, so he didn’t get discouraged and quit. A person with a fixed mindset who was afraid of failure would have said, “Oh, this is too hard. I can’t do this.” And he would’ve given up. But this young man had a growth mindset, and he loved a challenge.

And so he got down to work and within a few days, he solved the problems. But when he came to the class, he discovered that the problems were not homework. They were famous examples of two problems that had never been solved! Amazing! Two problems that had never been solved! And because this young man, George Dantzig had a growth mindset, a deep intention to learn and loved the challenge, he ended up solving these problems and he became famous. For people like him, failure is not a blip on their screen. His thinking is not about protecting against failure, but about the challenge of learning. And that’s what needs to shift for people to move beyond a fear of failure. They need to deeply embrace the challenge of learning.

There are a lot of famous people who have talked about failure, and one of them is Thomas Edison.

As you know, he is the inventor of the electric bulb and he’s often quoted regarding failure. Here’s a few of his quotes.

He said, just before inventing the light bulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Think about that. He didn’t think of it in terms of 10,000 failures, just 10,000 ways that didn’t work. He also said, “I’m not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Now think about that. Every mistake is a step forward. He never looked at failure and mistakes as defining his worth, but just as a learning process. He said, “Many of life failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

This has been true for a lot of people when they were close to success, but they gave up because they were so afraid of failure. Another quote of his that I like is, “Show me a thoroughly satisfied man, and I will show you a failure.” And I think that’s a very interesting quote because people who are afraid of failure, often get stuck in their lives and they just accept and get satisfied with what is. They’re not seekers, they’re not learners. They’re not explorers, they don’t go for it. But going for it is the aliveness of life. And what Edison was talking about is people who don’t go for the aliveness of life. That’s what he’s calling a failure. Not because they tried to achieve something and didn’t make it, but because they’re not trying, they’re not even trying because they’re so afraid of the failure.

I really want to encourage those of you who are listening to rethink the whole concept of failure, to rethink what it means to fail. And I can assure you that as you practice Inner Bonding, and as you learn to define your own worth, you’re going to stop thinking about failure. It isn’t even going to be a blip on your screen. Like it wasn’t for this young man, George Dantzig, it wasn’t a blip on his screen. He didn’t think about failure. That’s what we want to get to. We don’t want to start something and say, “Oh my God, what if I fail?” We want to start something and say, “Wow, this is a challenge! That’s really great!”

One of the experiments that Carol Dweck talked about in her book was where they took these 10-year-old kids, and they gave them puzzles. And at first the puzzles were really easy, and then they got harder and harder. Of course, everybody enjoyed the easy ones, but then as they started to get harder, about half the kids just kind of wandered off. They weren’t going to challenge themselves. These are the kids with the fixed mindset. These are the kids who say, “I don’t want to try because what if I try and I fail? Then people will think I’m stupid. I don’t want to take the risk of people thinking I’m stupid. So I’m not even going to try.” These are the kids that were so concerned about how people would see them, that they didn’t even want to try. But then the other half of the kids were typified by one little boy who looked at the puzzle, rubbed his hands in glee, and said, “Oh boy, I love a challenge!”

See the difference? He wasn’t concerned with whether or not he could succeed. He wasn’t concerned with whether or not people would think he was smart or stupid. He just wanted to be in the process. He just wanted to make the effort. And that’s what Dr. Dweck stresses throughout the book – the difference between basing your worth on the outcome or on the effort. When we let ourselves really go for something and we don’t think about the outcome, that’s when we can experience lot of joy from what we’re doing.

My client, Liz, told me that, “I like to believe I want to learn, that I’m very curious, and I want to do things, but when I need to face things that are really valuable for me, like work or relationships, I see myself not going for what I want, not really putting myself out there to take some risk, because I’m so scared to fail. And my fear is to be punished. If sometimes I make a mistake, I’m just expecting something really bad to happen because I made the mistake. And it’s always that feeling that I’m going to do this work that I love but I might make mistakes and I’m going to be punished.”

Of course Liz was fearful of being punished if she made mistakes, because she was consistently punished by her mother for whatever her mother considered to be a mistake. So there was a deep belief in her wounded self that kept telling her that this is the truth now. While she knew intellectually that this was not true, it felt true in her body due the belief of her wounded self and the trauma of the past. One of the things that’s really hard in terms of overcoming a deep fear like that is if there is continued self-abandonment, which there was with Liz, it continues to traumatize her.  Liz had tried many trauma therapies, which only worked short term due to her continued self-abandonment. Trauma therapies along with Inner Bonding is very healing.

In order for Liz to heal, she would need to have the courage to do the things she’s afraid of because that’s the only way her belief will change and the trauma will heal. We have to do the things we’re afraid of to move beyond fear. I remember when I first started to ski and I went up to the top of a ski slope, just a bunny hill, and I looked down and I said, “Oh my God, I’m going to die.” I didn’t know how to ski, but I went down and I didn’t die. And I learned, and then eventually the fear went away and I loved skiing. But I never would have known that if I hadn’t had the courage to go down that first bunny hill.

Same with public speaking. I was terrified, but I did it anyway and now it’s easy. But before I speak, I always give my inner child permission to make mistakes, to fail, to make a fool of myself, to fall on my face, and I let my inner child know that I will love her no matter the outcome – that my love for myself isn’t dependent on my performance – that I know who I am intrinsically, on my soul level, and failing or making mistakes doesn’t change that.

Liz said, “I keep avoiding going for what I want, because I think I need to be ready for that.” I told her, “There’s no getting ready. We need to have the courage to just plunge in and do the things that scare us in order to find out that the bad thing isn’t going to happen. The bad thing isn’t going to happen because the rest of the world is not like your mother.”

I often have clients tell me that something creative starts out to be fun, like writing or drawing, but then they stop doing it because they start to feel pressured, and the fun goes away. The pressure is from what their wounded self is telling them things like, “This isn’t good enough,” or “This better sound good or look good.” So then of course it stops being fun. It’s not fun to write or draw or do something else creative if you’ve got some outcome in mind. It’s only fun if you get thoroughly into the process and let go of the outcome. If this happens to you and you get stuck in your creativity, you might want to start noticing what you’re telling yourself that sucking the fun out of creative projects.

Is the fear of failure stopping you from doing what you really want to do?

Most people who are successful in their work and their relationships have experienced many failures along their road to success.

If Edison has been afraid of failure, or believed that failure meant he was inadequate, he would never have invented the light bulb!

In order to achieve success in any area of your life, you need to redefine failure. Instead of seeing failure as an indication of your inadequacy or lack of worth, you need to see failure as a stepping-stone to success.

Some of the most financially successful people experienced repeated failures.

Walt Disney was a high school dropout who suffered bankruptcy and repeated financial and business disasters.

Milton Hershey, the chocolate maker, found success only after filing for bankruptcy for his first four candy companies.

Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy for the first car company he started. He didn’t succeed until he started his third company, Ford Motor Company.

After P.T. Barnum, the American showman, went bankrupt, he joined forces with circus operator James A. Bailey to found Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth.

Albert Einstein did poorly in elementary school, and he failed his first college entrance exam at Zurich Polytechnic.

Winston Churchill had a lifetime of defeats and setbacks before becoming prime minister of England at age 62.  All of his greatest accomplishments and contributions came when he was a senior citizen.

Sir Laurence Olivier, one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, tripped over the door sill and fell headfirst into the floodlights the very first time he had ever set foot on the professional stage!

Woody Allen flunked motion picture production at New York University and the City College of New York and failed English at N.Y.U.

Astronaut Ed Gibson flunked first and fourth grades.

Lucille Ball was once dismissed from drama school for being too quiet and shy.  

If these successful people had been afraid of failure, they would never have offered the world their talents. They were able to go on to success because they saw failure as a learning opportunity rather than as an indication of their inadequacy.

Are you ready to change your concept of failure?

Are you ready to let go of worrying about what failure says about you and just learn from it? Are you ready to free your soul to do what you really want to do?

If the fear of failure is stopping you from doing what you really want to do, I want to encourage you to change your concept of failure. I want to encourage you to let go of your old way of seeing failure and start to envision failures as learning opportunities on the way to success. Just as Thomas Edison did, I encourage you to see every failure as a step forward!

I encourage you to tell yourself that it is okay to make mistakes and okay to fail. I encourage you to see mistakes and failures as wonderful learning opportunities for growth. I encourage you to let go of the outcome and allow yourself to become fully excited about the process learning, growth, and creation. Being fully present and excited for the process is what life is all about!

I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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S2 EP112 – Beyond Neediness

Episode Summary

Do you know when you are being needy? Do you know the difference between needs and neediness? We all have needs that can only be met by another person, and this is vastly different than neediness. Learn what creates and heals neediness. 

Transcript

Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today I want to talk about what creates neediness and what heals it, and what the difference is between needs and neediness.

You are being needy when you need someone else to make you feel that you’re okay, that you’re worthy, safe, secure, and lovable. You’re being needy when you need somebody to fill up an empty place in you. You’re being needy when you expect another person to give you what you’re not giving yourself, and what is your responsibility to give to yourself.

It’s not that we don’t need others – we do. We need others to share our love with, to laugh and play with, to learn and grow with, to have our back, to be here for us when we are ill or injured. We need others who truly see us to reflect us to ourselves, along with our higher guidance, so that we can see, value, and love ourselves.

But we become needy when we abandon ourselves. When we judge ourselves rather than open to compassionate learning about ourselves when we mess up, and when we stay up in our head rather than being present in our body, in our heart and soul, with our feelings, and when we turn to various addictions to numb our feelings and avoid taking responsibility for them. And then, when we abandon ourselves in all these ways, we further abandon ourselves by making somebody else or others responsible for our feelings.

We have a little child inside of us, which is our feeling soul self, and our inner child needs love. We all need love. And when you’re not loving yourself, which is what practicing Inner Bonding is all about, then you will inevitably pull on other people, in various ways, to give you the love that you’re not giving to yourself.

The problem is that as an adult, there’s likely is not a single person on the planet who wants the job of filling up your inner child with love. This was the job of our parents. And most of us didn’t have parents who did this for us because they didn’t know how, and they didn’t do it for themselves. They they weren’t full of love to share with us, so they didn’t know how to love us in the way we needed love, and they didn’t role model for us how to fill ourselves up with love. And if your needs were not met for love, and you didn’t learn how to love yourself, you are likely needy for love, approval, and attention. Most of us grew up believing that we needed to tap into another person to get the needed love, attention, and approval.

What happens is you’ll meet somebody and you look at them and say to yourself, “Oh, they have a lot of love to give. And I need that love. I don’t have any inside and I need their love.” And then you go about trying to get their love. That’s what neediness is. And that’s what self-abandonment is, because as healthy adults, we are all capable of learning to give love to ourselves. And when we do, we get filled up with love to share with others.

But love is not something that we manufacture ourselves. Love is something that we open to and invite in. Love is what spirit is, what God is, what the universe is. When we don’t have any kind of spiritual connection, then we don’t have a source of love to tap into. It doesn’t mean that love isn’t there for us, but it means that we’re not open to it, so we can’t feel it inside.

And it’s the love that we open to from spirit that fills us up and heals the neediness and enables us to take responsibility for ourselves, for our feelings, and for filling ourselves up with love to share with others.

When you learn and practice Inner Bonding, you learn to create your spiritual connection so that you can bring love inside. That’s what heals neediness. You heal neediness when you practice Inner Bonding and learn to love yourself. Many of you who listen to my podcasts already know about Inner Bonding and are practicing it, but many of you don’t, so I will briefly go through the Six Steps of Inner Bonding, and why practicing this process heals neediness.

Step One is about moving out of mind focus and getting present inside your body. It’s a mindfulness practice of breathing, where we breathe into our body, and we get present, and we notice what’s happening inside our body. What are we feeling physically? What are we feeling emotionally? This is what loving parents do with a baby. They’re always tuned in and the moment and the baby cries they’re right there. They pick up the baby and they try to tune in to what the baby needs. Does the baby need to be held or changed or fed? That’s what we do on the inner level. I call it having your inner baby monitor on – listening for our feelings which have important information for us about whether we are loving ourselves or abandoning ourselves, or if there is a person or situation we need to tune into and be aware of. The very act of getting present with our feelings starts to make our inner child, which is our feeling self, feel loved, because now we’re paying attention to ourselves. On the other hand, if you have a feeling of anxiety or fear or emptiness and you don’t attend to it, and instead you go to somebody else to try get them to take care of you, that’s the self-abandonment.

And that’s the neediness that comes from not taking care of ourselves, not attending to ourselves. In Step One, we’re learning to get present with our feelings and we make a decision that we want responsibility for how we may be causing some of our painful feelings, and for lovingly managing the painful feelings of life. We decide we want to learn to take responsibility rather than hand our inner child, our feeling soul self, off to somebody else. That’s the neediness.

When you make the decision that you want responsibility for learning from your feelings, then your inner child starts to feel cared about, starts to feel that he or she is important to you. You want responsibility instead of handing that child off to everybody who comes along and looks like they have some love in them,

Then in step two of Inner Bonding, we move into our heart. We put our focus in our heart and we invite the presence of love and compassion, strength and wisdom into our heart. We just say, would you please come into my heart? And we breathe that love in, which is what enables us to be a loving adult, which is what we need to be in order to take care of our own feelings.

Once we are operating from love and kindness and compassion for ourselves, then we move into step three, which is about wanting to learn what we’re telling ourselves, how we’re treating ourselves, and what we are doing or not doing that’s causing our wounded painful feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness, jealousy, or envy. Are we putting ourselves down by judging ourselves? Are we scaring ourselves with dire projections of the future, such as telling ourselves we’re never going to make it? That we’re a loser? That we’re always going to be alone? That we’re going to lose this person and we won’t be okay? All these scary thoughts create a lot of anxiety. Are we ignoring our feelings and making others’ feelings more important than ours? Are we numbing our feelings with addictions? Are we trying to control others into giving us the attention that we are not giving to ourselves?

We all have an ego wounded self that is programmed with so many false beliefs about ourselves, about others, and about being able to control people. And all of this creates a lot of anxiety or depression or guilt or shame or anger within us. So in step three, we’re opening to those feelings and trying to understand what we’re doing to create them. Once we understand what we’re telling ourselves and how we are treating ourselves, we open to learning with our ego wounded self and take a look at the beliefs that are behind how we’re treating ourselves and where we got those beliefs.

In Step Three, we’re also opening to understanding what might be happening between us and another person or a situation that may be causing painful feelings, such as loneliness, heartache, or helplessness over others. And we want to learn to manage those as well. Once we get a clear picture of what we’re doing or what’s happening, then we turn to Step Four – to our higher guidance.

In Step Four, we ask for the truth about any false beliefs that we’ve uncovered in Step Three, and for what is the loving action that we need to take. We’re asking about what is in our highest good. And with some training and practice you can learn to access that information. Your guidance is always here for you. When you’re open to learning and you really want to know what is the truth and what is the loving action, and you also keep your body clear with healthy food, your frequency is high enough to access the wisdom of your guidance. You can start to tap into this huge, vast source of wisdom and information that can help you learn to take loving care of yourself.

When I started practicing Inner Bonding, I certainly did not know how to do that because I’d had no role modeling for loving myself. So I learned, through practice to access that information, which we do in Step Four of Inner Bonding.

Then in step five, we take the loving action, whatever it is we’ve been guided to take. This can mean many different things. It can mean just sitting and holding a doll or stuffed animal that represents your inner child with a lot of love and compassion. It can mean starting to eat better, or it can mean getting some exercise or stopping smoking or speaking up with someone or getting out of an abusive situation. It can mean changing jobs, getting training, cleaning up clutter, learning to be on time. It can mean asking for help, going into therapy. It can mean a whole lot of things. Taking loving actions on your behalf is what makes you your inner child start to feel cared about and important to you.

You’re not waiting for somebody else to take care of you, and that’s what takes away the neediness.

Once you’ve taken the loving action, then in Step Six, you go back in and see how you’re feeling. Are you feeling some relief? Are you feeling fuller inside? Are you feeling safer? Are you feeling less shame, less guilt, less anxiety, depression, or anger? Are you feel some inner peace and fullness? If you’re some relief and more peace and fullness, then you know that you’ve taken a loving action. And as you practice these six steps over and over throughout a day, anytime you feel anything other than peace inside, this becomes a natural way of being where you’re naturally attending to your feelings. You’re naturally staying connected to spirit. You’re naturally bringing in love. And after a while, you start to feel a lot of peace and a lot of joy, a lot of fullness inside your being.

When you feel peace and joy and fullness inside, you are not needy of somebody else’s love. You’re bringing love into yourself and now you have love to share with others. And truly the greatest experience in life is the sharing of love. But you see, we cannot truly share love until we’re bringing love into ourselves, until we’re loving ourselves and filling ourselves up with love.

And there’s often a huge confusion between the joy of sharing love and trying to get love. When you’re trying to get love, you are needy. You are not loving yourself. You are handing your inner child away to somebody else and expecting them to love you. And you think that that’s what’s going to make you feel great, but if you’ve never practiced Inner Bonding and learned to love yourself, you have no idea how wonderful it feels to bring love into yourself and to share love.

Inner Bonding is such a powerful process for learning to love yourself and moving beyond neediness.

One of my clients, Barbara, complained to me that her seven-year-old daughter was always demanding her attention. “I’m a loving, nurturing mom,” she said, “but it never seems to be enough for her.” What Barbara didn’t realize that being a loving and nurturing mom to her daughter is one aspect of being a loving parent, but she also needed to role model being loving to herself and taking responsibility for her feelings. This isn’t what she was doing. She was caretaking her daughter and sacrificing herself.

Often when a parent just gives and gives to the child, taking care of their every need and not allowing them to take care of some of their own needs, that child grows up with a big sense of entitlement, especially if the parent is not role modeling personal responsibility.

That child will likely grow up to either be a caretaker like the mother, or with a lot of narcissism and entitlement issues. Children need the parent to be there for them, but to also allow the child to do as much as they can for themselves, at whatever age they can be doing that for themselves. And the parent also needs to be taking responsibility for themselves and role modeling what it looks like to be loving to themselves.

My clients often say to me that there seems to be a thin line between neediness and the actual needs we have. As I’ve said, there are needs we have that we cannot meet for ourselves. Like for companionship, for affection, for somebody to support us and have our back in challenging situations, the need for somebody to comfort us at times, the need to just talk and share with someone, and to share love with someone.

But there’s a whole group of needs that come under the category of needs that you need to meet yourself. We need to see and value and love the essence of who we are and define our own worth. We need to own that we are deserving of love – our own love, love from others, and love from spirit.  It’s our responsibility to embrace the beauty that’s within us and learn to value the spark of the Divine that is who we are. When you learn to value and really love yourself for who you are, you won’t be confused regarding needs and neediness. The issue of asking someone for what we need doesn’t even come up as an issue when we’re loving and valuing ourselves, because part of loving and valuing ourselves is to ask in a caring way for what we need. And, of course, we need to learn to take responsibility for our own feelings and bring comfort to ourselves. It’s one thing to need another’s help, and quite another to make another responsible for our feelings.

If we ask for help and we don’t receive it, we need accept our helplessness over the other person and do what we can to take care of ourselves.

My clients often tell me that they feel lost, and they think they feel lost become their partner left them, or their last child went to college. But that’s not why they feel lost. April told me in a webinar that she felt lost because her husband left her. What I said to her is, “You need to go inside and ask that little girl in you, ‘How am I rejecting you? How am I causing you to feel lost? How am I not showing up for you? How am I abandoning you? Am I ignoring you? Am I judging you? Am I numbing you with addictions? You obviously gave your little girl to your husband to take care of, so of course you feel lost now. You need to take her back and adopt her and learn to take loving care of her. Rejecting yourself in any of these ways makes your inner child feel lost. And the more you reject yourself, the more you feel rejected by others, because others often treat us the way we treat ourselves.”

Ashley asked me in a webinar, “How do you determine in a new relationship with a man if you’re being needy? Does it mean that wanting those nice feelings or hearing the nice things he’s going to say or having a lovely conversation or just wanting to hear his voice is neediness?”

What I told her is that “It depends on your intent. If you’re waiting for him to do all that because you’re not giving those things to yourself, then yes, you are being needy. If you’re saying those nice things to yourself and enjoying those things with him, then those experiences are the icing on the cake, but not the cake itself.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying hearing nice things and sharing things with a person. That’s wonderful. But if it’s the cake – if you need to hear those things in order to feel okay about yourself, then that’s needy. If you’re bringing love inside yourself and you’re feeling full of love, and you’re looking forward to seeing him to share your love, that’s not needy, but if you’re abandoning yourself, then you’re feeling this yearning for him to give you something that you’re not giving yourself, and that’s needy.”

Ted contacted me because he felt betrayed by his church. He said, “I do a lot of things for my church. Volunteer a lot of time, give money, and assist in many ways. After years of hard work and effort, the people running my church are making changes, which makes me feel excluded, unappreciated, and unwelcome. I now feel angry and resentful after all I’ve done for them. I feel I have a right to be angry. I gave so much to them and to the church. I believe my church is responsible for my spiritual welfare and I was taught to believe that the church is my salvation. That is why I gave so much to it.

“Now I feel betrayed by my church after everything I did for it. But is this neediness?”

 What I told Ted is that when we give from the loving adult place, we have no agenda. We give from the heart because we are all filled up with love and that love comes spilling out. And we give for the joy of giving with no expectation of getting anything back, and no expectation of appreciation. We just give for the joy of giving. The fact that you feel unappreciated now, and the fact that you’re angry, says to me that you were giving to get, you were giving to get something. You were giving to get recognition or appreciation.

And you are making the church responsible for your spiritual welfare, but nobody else can take responsibility for your spiritual welfare. Your spiritual welfare is one hundred percent your responsibility. This is between you and God. It is your responsibility to develop your personal relationship with God. And this is what practicing Inner Bonding teaches you to do – to not hand that responsibility to somebody else. So you gave and gave with the agenda that they would take responsibility for your spiritual welfare and they would appreciate you, so yes, that is neediness. Anytime there’s the anger and resentment, this is coming from your wounded self, blaming somebody else for the choice you made to give in order to get them to take spiritual responsibility for you and to appreciate you.

What Ted would need to do is go inside to his inner child, the one who’s angry and resentful and do an Inner Bonding process. He would need to go in and say to his inner child, “How am I treating you? What am I telling you that’s making you feel angry towards me? How am I abandoning you that’s making you feel angry and resentful towards me?” Anger and resentment are generally projections of ways that we are abandoning ourselves. In the Inner Bonding process, we don’t dump the anger and resentment and blame on to others. We turn it around and we bring it inside and see how we’re treating ourselves that is causing these feeling. I know that may be hard for Ted because he worked so hard to give and give and now he’s not getting what he expected to get, but that’s what happens when we give in order to get.

Sometimes people ask me if they can learn Inner Bonding on their own or if they need to take a course or have a facilitator. There are many, many people around the world, thousands of people around the world who are learning Inner Bonding on their own. I hear from them all the time. You can go on the Inner Bonding website, and you register for the free 7-day course. You can read the many, many articles and you can read the books and listen to these podcasts and watch the YouTube videos. There’s many ways of learning Inner Bonding on your own. If you’re not somebody who is disciplined enough to do it on your own, or if there’s abuse issues that need to be dealt with, or relationship issues that you haven’t been able to resolve, then you will need facilitation. Many people need some facilitation at some point, but not everybody. You can also receive inexpensive help in Inner Bonding Village.

Healing neediness is essential for creating loving and fulfilling relationships, so I hope you learn and practice Inner Bonding and heal your neediness.

I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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S2 EP111 – Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Episode Summary

Are you paralyzed with fear in some aspect of your life? Is this keeping you stuck? Is the fear of the unknown keeping you stuck, not doing the things you really want to do? How are you viewing success or failure that might be keeping you stuck? Discover how to get yourself unstuck – how to feel the fear and do it anyway! 

Transcript

Hi everyone. I’m Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding Podcast, and today we want to talk about feeling your fear and moving forward anyway with what you want to do. Our deceased friend, Susan Jeffers, wrote a great best-selling book with the title of our podcast, “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.”

Dr. Erika Chopich, the co-creator of Inner Bonding, suggested this topic so I asked her to talk with me about this, and we had the following conversation. Erika started off saying: “I can’t think of anything in life that can be accomplished without confronting a fear on some level. There’s fear in everything we do that’s new to us and sometimes we’re willing to confront it on small levels, but it’s much harder when the outcome means more to us. I’ve met people who wouldn’t go to college because their fear of failure was so great, and they didn’t have any belief in themselves. They felt they couldn’t fail so they couldn’t try.” 

“Right,” I said. “I think the fear of failure gets in the way for a lot of people – that not failing becomes more important to them than expressing who they are.”

Erika went on to say, “Edison said that people fail because they didn’t try one more time. He had 9,999 failures before he invented the light bulb. A fulfilling life is like that. You just never take your eyes off the goal, never never never, and though its fearful and may cause you anxiety, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It means you should walk right directly into it. And then you succeed eventually. I would not have learned to fly a plane and soar in a glider if I let the fear beat me because it’s very frightening to learn to fly. It’s very frightening to pilot your own plane all by yourself, but I did it because I didn’t let the fear guide me. I let the passion and growth guide me.”

“This was true for us,” I said, “with Inner Bonding when we first put out Inner Bonding 38 years ago. We got a lot of criticism from therapists saying it was just another form of pop psychology, but we kept at it and now hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are using this powerful process to heal themselves. But we had to not attach our happiness and worth to the goal and the outcome. Through Inner Bonding, we learned to make ourselves happy by loving ourselves, and to define our worth intrinsically rather than by outcomes.”  

“Yes,” Erika said. “I’m so glad we did that!

“I do see people feel the fear and do it anyway when they want to learn to ride a horse. The desire to bond with the horse and ride the horse is greater than their fear of getting in the saddle. You can see the fear in their eyes and you can see it in their rigid body, but they’ll do it anyway because they know there’s something greater than their fear. The horse knows too.”

“So,” I said, “I wonder why they’re willing to do it on a horse but not in other areas of their life?”

“Oh that’s interesting,” Erika said. “Riding horses is one of the most dangerous things that we do. It’s more dangerous than scuba diving or skydiving, and yet a person will get in the saddle even though they’re terrified. I think is it isn’t actually the ride – it’s the connection. Most people want connection, but many people are afraid to be vulnerable in a relationship. As much as they want connection, it’s more important to them to protect against the pain of getting hurt than it is to open their heart to love, so they’re more afraid in their relationship than they are of getting on a horse. This is true of animals in general. Many people will open their heart to an animal easier than opening their heart to a person.

“Of course, that’s not true of people who abuse animals. Those people have not opened their hearts. They feel the fear and then try to control. That’s what makes people do dark things. Many people are afraid of love – afraid of being controlled or rejected and abandoned. Because they’re abandoning themselves, they have a fear of being left by the other person but that’s because the intention is to turn the inner child over to the other person. Then they’re afraid they’ll get abandoned, but that’s not love and it’s not growth oriented.”

I jumped in here and said, “I see a lot of people who have a sense of what they want to do that would bring them joy, like in their work, but they just procrastinate. They don’t actually go for it. They don’t feel the fear and do it anyway.

“Right,” said Erika, and she went on to say, “I was thinking just now of all the good and great firefighters and cops who are there for us every time they put on that uniform and respond. They feel the fear and do it anyway. They do it every day of their lives. I did it that way as a firefighter and as a paramedic. I felt the fear every time and did it anyway because I had a great ability to compartmentalize the fear and deal with it later. But in a love relationship, you can’t compartmentalize. You can’t push the fear aside and deal with it later. You’re either present in the moment or you’re not, and that’s where people get tripped up. You’re either present in the moment with the fear and you’re willing to love anyway, or you’re present in moment with your fear and all you want to do is control and avoid your feelings. I think every great accomplishment a person does has involved feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”

“Yes,” I said. “We all know of leaders who are fearful and just want to control, and other leaders who are fearful but doing all they can to be loving leaders. The loving leaders are focused on the highest good of all, but the controlling leaders are focused on having power over others.”

“Right,” said Erika. “When they seek power over others bad things happen. Of course, there’s the difference between personal power and power over others. When someone wants power over others, it’s a breath in and they suck up all the energy and oxygen around them trying to consume it all to gain power over everything around them. They offer nothing. They give nothing, whereas it’s obvious that those who have some personal power and care deeply for their people, what they are doing is a breath out. They are using all their soul and skill and knowledge to protect their people, even at the possibility of getting killed. Then there’s the other level where you have to pay attention to your fear because it could be a warning sign to not do something or that there is something else you have to do.”

“Yes,” I said, “like in Victor Frankl’s book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ Listening to his guidance is what kept him alive in the concentration camp. That’s what filters out what is a fear that you feel and move forward anyway, and what is the fear that lets you know about danger in the present moment and that you need to back off or take a protective action. The way you can know that is through your spiritual connection. It’s the difference between something that’s really happening in the moment and something you’re just telling yourself about because the wounded self will come in and scare you about things that are not happening, whereas there’s the real fear like somebody is trying to break into your house or you’re about to do something dangerous. If you are open, you will hear your guidance say ‘Don’t do that.’”

“And,” Erika said, “that’s not the same thing as feel the fear and do it anyway. I think what happens to a lot of people is they do know that their soul wants to go and do something, but then their wounded self comes in to scare them and they don’t do it. I allow my guidance to nudge me into all kinds of directions, and I can feel the difference from being nudged and guided by spirit, and when I’m inventing things to be afraid of. There’s a big difference between the earthly feel and dark color to it, and when it’s spirit nudging me onward and saying, ‘You need to do this even if you’re afraid.’ There’s light around it. I think some of the saddest people of all are the people who are immobilized by fear because they can’t move in any direction, and they can’t discern the difference between spirit nudging and real genuine danger. It’s an important part of our growth is to be able to discern the difference between when you really are in danger and need to back off and when it’s important to move forward even though you’re afraid.”

“Right,” I said. “Even though Victor Frankl was in real danger every moment in the concentration camp, he still listened to what spirit was telling him about what to do to be safe. Even in the face of the fear that was there every single minute, to determine his choices he still stayed connected to that nudging that you’re talking about.”

“And,” Erika said. “One of the challenges is how do you maintain your spiritual connection while you’re scared of something? How do you reach out to spirit? How do you listen? How do you not let your wounded self take over with wild fantasies of ‘what if, what if, what if?’ It’s about your intention. When your intention is to be loving to yourself, you’re going to be connected with spirit even though you’re scared. When you’re connected to spirit and then confronted with something that scares you, there is no ‘what if’ voice. It’s the difference between being in the present moment with spirit or allowing the wounded self to futurize. The wounded self futurizes with ‘what if?’  Often, people believe that if you’re deeply connected to spirit, you shouldn’t feel fear, and that’s erroneous. You’re going to feel the fear anyway because often it’s a new experience and it’s uncharted and you don’t know what you’re doing, but if it draws you in and there’s light around it and you’re in the present moment, you can feel the nudging of spirit to feel the fear and do it anyway.

“That’s how I know when to approach a crazy out of control horse. Am I scared at that moment? Yes, I could get really hurt or worse, but I let spirit guide me into when to approach and when not to. I read the horse well and I listen and I stay tuned in and I know how to approach it and what to do and when to back off and get myself to safety. Those differences are crucial to my safety. It’s crucial that I can tell the difference and discern the difference. Like that big horse at our neighbor’s house that came after me and put his ears back and showed me the whites of his eyes and started snorting, and I was like a foot from him. I knew that I was in imminent danger and so I knew that my job was to back him off, which I did, but then there’s been other horses that acted afraid, but they really weren’t. They were just testing me. They acted afraid and I didn’t need to back them off. I knew how to bring them in.”

“And,” I said to her, “that’s what makes you a horse whisperer.”

“Well,” Erika said, “that’s what makes anybody a whisperer in life. It’s the same thing, the same process, but it means being very present in the moment and trusting your guidance, not letting the fear of the moment govern your choices but letting guidance govern your choices. Fear doesn’t govern my behavior. Being tuned in and present is what governs what I’ll do next. I’ve met dogs like that that acted all vicious and nasty and some truly were, but I’ve met dogs who seemed vicious and nasty, but they were just scared and I could read the difference and know what to do – how to bring the dog to me and lower its head and let go of all that that growling and snarling stuff they do. And then they become puppies again. Life is like that. It can be growling and snarling but if you stay tuned in, you’ll know when to move forward and when to back away. So many times, you must feel the fear and move forward anyway to get where you want to be.

“It takes courage, and it has to be more important to you to truly fulfill yourself than it does to try and create an illusion of safety. I never think in terms of safety, but that’s what the wounded self thinks about. I think in terms of forward movement.”

“Yes,” I said, “and that’s about what’s loving to you rather than the wounded self trying to have control over being safe. That’s about what’s in your highest good. So often with the people I work with, it’s just about ‘But that’s not safe. Oh no, I’ve got to have control over being safe.’ and then of course they’re not safe and they don’t feel safe. The only way you truly have control over your safety is by staying spiritually connected and open. If you spiritually disconnect, you can’t hear the voice that will keep you safe. Many people believe that their five or 10 or 15 year old wounded self knows how to keep them safe because they believe it kept them safe as they were growing up.”

“Yes,” Erika said. “They think the voice that causes fear is the voice to listen to and it isn’t. The fear is never the voice of spirit. They listen to the fear that’s being created by their wounded self and think that that’s what they have to listen to, to be safe, but in reality, they’re completely bypassing the voice of spirit which can keep them safe.

“The day I soloed in a glider the very first time I was terrified, and I heard my wounded self saying, ‘What if I forget what to do? What if the weight difference without my instructor throws me off? What if a wind gust comes up and I stall the wing? What if I mess up the landing pattern and crash?’ That’s what the wounded self sounded like, but my connected self, my connection to spirit, said, ‘This is the day you get to soar. This is the day you fly with eagles all on your own. You’ve come this far and this is your moment,” and I could feel spirit urging me into the sky and lifting me upwards. I ignored all the ‘what ifs’ of my wounded self and I went for it, and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. To watch the ground fall away underneath me and to know that I was free in the air like a great soaring eagle because I listened and I trusted and I knew. That’s the difference. As I listened to my guidance, not to my wounded self, I knew that I would be safe and I knew it was a moment to just be fully in the experience, and I was scared anyway, but I knew I was going to be safe because I was being prodded by spirit. I heard both voices at the same time. I had one in my gut and one in my chest. The voice of my wounded self in my head was scaring my inner child, which I felt in my gut, and the voice of spirit was in my heart and I could feel the difference. I went with what I knew was highest. It’s often like that with the choices we need to make – both are there. It wasn’t really a gut feeling – it was like my wounded self was in my head creating that gut feeling of fear. My stomach was tied in a knot because I was so scared, but at the same time something higher was calling to me and I chose to listen to that. That was the loving choice and that’s how you feel the fear and move forward anyway.”

We ended our conversation there, and now I want to go on and share some more about feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Sometimes people become so paralyzed with fear that they get stuck in their lives, not being able to move forward.

Are you stuck in your life? Stuck regarding work, or relationships, or health or weight? Do you make resolutions to change, but can’t seem to take the steps? This is what Judith is dealing with. Judith said,

“I’ve been struggling with motivation and depression and haven’t worked in four years. My feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and shame have snowballed to the point that I am in constant judgment of myself. I know I need to accept where I am to get unstuck but I can’t find self-compassion and I keep feeling like something is wrong with me. Every day that I don’t look for work I feel like more and more of a failure, yet I am paralyzed by feelings of low self-esteem. How can I love myself when I don’t like who I am or where I am in life?”

There are generally a few major reasons for a person being stuck. One is unresolved trauma.

If you had trauma in your life – childhood abuse, traumatic losses, or traumatic events – you might be stuck due to the freeze response that is a common reaction to extreme helplessness. When we cannot fight or flee during a traumatic situation, then our bodies go into a natural freeze response, and we can get stuck there.

If you have a history of trauma, or even if you don’t remember trauma but you are very stuck and can’t seem to move forward, then you may benefit from some form of trauma therapy – body-centered therapies that actually release the trauma that is stuck in the body. Four trauma therapies that seem to have great success are EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), TRE (Trauma Release Exercises), SE (Somatic Experiencing), and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprograming). I have personally used EFT very successfully and I’ve heard about wonderful successes with the other three. However, trauma therapies without Inner Bonding don’t last, because if you continue to treat yourself the ways you were treated or the ways your caregivers treated themselves, you will keep retraumatizing yourself. This is what’s happening with Judith. She is likely treating herself the way her parents treated her or themselves.

Another major reason for being stuck is a fear of failure. 

The wounded self in all of us is programmed to believe that we are not good enough. Self-judgment from the wounded self is a form of control, to protect ourselves from failure. When you believe that failure defines you as inadequate, then risking it becomes unthinkable. The wounded self might prefer the feeling of failure that comes from not looking for a job, over the risk of finding a job and failing at it.

Judith stated, “I keep feeling like something is wrong with me.” Most of us decided this as small children, when we didn’t receive the love we needed. This judgment that there is something wrong with you is a very common judgment from the wounded self. However, it is simply not true that there is something wrong with your essence. Your essence has always been a beautiful, incredible spark of the Divine, but when you didn’t receive love and valuing as a child, you decided you weren’t good enough.

It’s vitally important that you stop defining your worth in terms of success or failure.

Instead, define your worth by the effort you are willing to make, and by your intrinsic qualities – such as courage, kindness, caring, compassion, and a willingness to learn. Judith is stuck right now because she is defining herself by the outcome rather than by her effort and courage.

Judith will get unstuck when she makes it okay to fail and she sees failure only as a learning experience, rather than as a definition of her worth.

Judith stated, “Every day that I don’t look for work I feel like more and more of a failure, yet I am paralyzed by feelings of low self-esteem. How can I love myself when I don’t like who I am or where I am in life?”

The part of Judith who doesn’t love herself is her wounded self. When she lets go of trying to have control over looking for work by shaming and judging herself, and instead open to learning about loving herself and allowing spirit to take loving action through her, she will get unstuck. If it is not trauma that is keeping her stuck, then it is her intent to control that is keeping her stuck. When she shift’s her intent to learning to love herself, she will start to take the loving actions necessary to find work. She will never be able to do this from her wounded self, with her intent to control, but she can do it as a spiritually connected loving adult. As Erika and I talked about, it is spirit that gives us the courage and strength to take the loving actions we need to take – to feel the fear and do it anyway.

If you are stuck and can’t get yourself unstuck, then please reach out for help. You don’t need to be alone in your healing process.

Along with the fear of failure is the fear of the unknown.

Very often, in my sessions with clients, a person will want to try something new but is stuck in not taking the loving action. “What are you afraid of?” I ask. “I don’t know what will happen,” is often the answer.

Since we never know what is going to happen from one moment to the next, not knowing what is going to happen is not really the problem. The real problem is that we often inhabit the unknown with scary thoughts and images. We make things up that scare us into doing nothing.

Isn’t that strange? We can just as easily make up wonderful thoughts and images, but instead we make up frightening ones. We allow our wounded self to take over, filling the unknown with all the bad things that can happen instead of all the great things that can happen. But the wounded self believes it can protect you from future disappointment by predicting bad things ahead of time. According to the wounded self, if you don’t take the risk, you will be safe.

If you are stuck wanting to do something but not doing it, it may be that you are allowing your wounded self to populate the unknown with thoughts and images that scare you. For example, let’s say that you always wanted to learn to fly a plane, but you just can’t seem to get yourself to take flying lessons. You might be telling yourself things like:

  • I will make a fool of myself.
  • I will fail.
  • The instructor or others will end up thinking bad things about me.
  • I will find out that I really am inadequate.
  • I will get rejected.
  • I will get hurt.
  • I will die.

Obviously, as long as you are filling up the unknown future with these thoughts, you will likely stay stuck.

You could just as easily fill up the future with exciting thoughts, such as:

  • This will be really fun and exciting!
  • I love learning challenging new things!
  • Imagine all the places I could easily visit!
  • I will get to meet a lot of new people!
  • I am going to feel so great that I finally learned to do this!

Even if you do go ahead and take the lessons while holding on to the scary thoughts, you might not have nearly the wonderful experience you could have if you focused on the exciting thoughts.

The wounded self is deeply programmed to fill the unknown future with negative, scary thoughts. Do you really want to continue to allow this ignorant, programmed part of you to determine what you do? The wounded self has NO access to a source of truth, no access to your guidance. It can only think what it has been programmed to think. Its thoughts are not based on reality because it cannot predict the future, so it spouts out only what it has been taught. Basing your choices on these old programmed fear-based thoughts will keep you scared and stuck.

At any moment, you have the choice to move out of your programmed lower left brain and into your higher right brain – into connection with your guidance and with truth. You have the choice to fill the unknown future with excitement and joy rather than focusing on ‘what ifs.’

Which person is happier in life – the one who allows their wounded self to be in charge, or the one who is willing to allow their guidance to lead them?

Next time you really want to do something new but find yourself stuck not doing it, recognize that you are allowing your wounded self to fill your unknown future with all the bad things that can happen. Shift into your loving adult and consciously fill the future with all the great things that can happen, then feel the fear and do it anyway! Learn to accept the unknown with excitement rather than with dread. After all, life would be quite boring if we always knew the future!

I hope you join me for me 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about creating connection from my recent books: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance,  Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process.

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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S2 EP110 – Boundaries: What They are and What They Are Not

Episode Summary

Many people are confused regarding what a boundary is. Discover the big different between what you may believe is a boundary that come from the fear of your wounded self, and an actual boundary that comes from the love of your loving adult. Discover the major difference between actions that are controlling but that you might be calling a boundary, and actual boundaries. 

Transcript

Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast, and today I want to clarify the issue of boundaries – what they are and what they are not.  I’m also going to be talking about the big difference between boundaries set from fear in order to control, and boundaries set from love to take loving care of yourself.

A very important aspect of being a loving adult is setting loving boundaries with others so that our inner child feels safe. Whether or not a boundary is loving depends upon which aspect of you is setting the boundary – the wounded self or the loving adult.

The intent of the wounded self in setting a boundary is to have control over not being controlled or rejected by another. The wounded self comes from the fear of being invaded, rejected, engulfed, abandoned, seen as wrong, bad, or unworthy, and projects these experiences from the past onto the present or future. Instead of discerning what is actually happening in the moment, the wounded self protects ahead of time, just in case someone may be invading or rejecting. The wounded self enters an interaction already defended against his or her fears.

The wounded self believes that a boundary is telling someone else what to do or not do. This isn’t a boundary – it’s an attempt to control, and it has no power because we generally can’t make others do what we want them to do unless we use threats or some form of force.

The intent of the loving adult in setting a boundary is to take loving care of yourself in the moment. The loving adult knows that a boundary is something you set for yourself, letting the other person know what you are going to do if their unloving behavior continues.

The loving adult discerns whether another is open or closed, loving or unloving. The loving adult is compassionately aware of the feelings of the inner child in the moment, which is Step One of Inner Bonding. If there is anything other than peace and fulness within, the loving adult immediately moves into an intent to learn, which is Step Two of Inner Bonding, to determine what the inner child is reacting to in Step Three of Inner Bonding, and how to handle it lovingly in Step Four of Inner Bonding. The loving adult then sets the boundary, taking the loving action in Step Five of Inner Bonding, to take care of the inner child. Sometimes setting boundaries can be done softly, along with an intent to learn with the other, such as “I don’t like being spoken to with this anger. Do you want to talk about what is upsetting you?” Other times, when you already know the other will not open, the boundary needs to be set firmly and acted upon immediately, saying something like “This doesn’t feel good. I’m going to take a walk and maybe we can talk about it later,” while disengaging from the conversation.

When being right or not being rejected or controlled by another is more important than being loving to yourself and others, your wounded self is in charge. When you find yourself feeling righteous, resistant, judgmental, angry, or shut down, notice your intent. What is most important to you in this moment? Are you afraid that opening to learning and loving makes you too vulnerable to being controlled by others? Do you feel that opening your heart is giving in to someone who wants you to be open? Are you afraid that you will not know how to take good care of yourself if someone gets angry, critical, or in some other way invasive or rejecting? Are you shut off from receiving the messages from your higher self regarding the loving action?

It is only when we are open to learning and loving that we can feel, hear, and perceive the messages that are always coming to us from our spiritual guidance. It is only then that we can know how to take loving care of ourselves in the moment.  

People are often confused about what a boundary is because, as I said, many people think a boundary is something that you set for somebody else. The ego wounded self sets what it thinks is a boundary in order to control, but that not a boundary because you can’t make another person do it. Like you can say to somebody, you can’t talk to me that way. A client said to me, ‘I set a boundary. I told my partner that he can’t talk to me that way.” I let the client know that that’s not a boundary – that it’s a form of control that doesn’t work at all because you have no control over whether or not the other person talks to you that way. The other person will continue to do whatever they want, regardless of what you say they can or can’t do. A client said to me, “I told my partner she can’t be late anymore. It’s driving me crazy. She can’t be late anymore.” Obviously, there’s nothing you can do about somebody being late so there is no way to enforce this. Since you don’t have control over the other person, it doesn’t do any good at all to tell somebody what they can or can’t do when you have no way of enforcing that. This is true with both kids and with adults, that if you have no way of enforcing it, then it’s a useless thing to do.

What the loving adult does is speak your truth, for example saying, “I don’t like it when you talk to me in that judgmental, disrespectful, and diminishing way,” and then you say what you are going to do. For example, you might say “The next time you talk to me like that, I’m going to walk away,” or “I’m going to leave the conversation,” or “I’m going to go in another room,” or “I’m going to leave the house,” or whatever it is you are going to do to take loving care of yourself rather than try to control your partner. That’s a boundary. The boundary is what you’re going to do if the other person continues to be judgmental, or late, or whatever it is he or she is doing that feel unloving to you, because that is what you have control over. You have control over your choices, not over someone else’s choices. I have control over what I’m going to do, so if I say “I really hate being late all the time and it drives me crazy that you’re always running late. So the next time you’re running late, I’m just going to take my own car.” This is letting your partner know what you are doing to do, and that’s the boundary.

If you don’t like it that your partner leaves his or her socks or underwear or clothes all over the place, you can say, “The next time you do that, I’m going to hide them.” That’s the boundary, that’s what you’re going to do and you’re letting the person know ahead of time that this is what you’re going to do to take care of yourself in the face of what your partner is choosing to do. You can say that their behavior feels unloving or disrespectful to you, but you can’t make the other person care about what’s important to you. You can’t make the other person be on time just because it’s important to you, or pick up their clothes just because it’s important to you, or be kind because it’s important to you. It’s heartbreaking when a partner doesn’t care about what’s important to you, but when somebody is in their wounded self, they’re not capable of caring about you. The wounded self isn’t the caring part of us.

When you or another are being disrespectful or judgmental or in any way unloving, you’re in your wounded self. And the wounded self is not caring – it’s controlling. To expect a person who’s in their wounded self to care is unrealistic. Our responsibility is to learn to care about ourselves and to do it in a kind way – not in a mean or punishing way, because then you’re in your wounded self, trying to control the other person’s wounded self. If you say in a mean, critical or punishing way, “I can’t stand it when you’re late. So the next time you’re late, I’m just going to take my own car.” That is not what I call a loving boundary because it’s coming an intent to control. Your tone of voice will always betray your intention.

So whether it’s a boundary or a form of control, like everything in Inner Bsonding, it depends upon the intention. If the intention is to control the other person, it doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it, the energy of the controlling energy will be there. But if your intention is to take loving care of yourself, then that kind and gentle energy will be there. It’s not so much the words you use. I can say, “Honey, I just hate being late. It makes me anxious. It makes me crazy. I know it’s hard for you to be on time, so next time this happens, I’m just going to take my own car and we can meet there and then you can take all the time you want.” Or, I can say the same words with a controlling and blaming tone, “Honey, I just hate being late. It makes me anxious. It makes me crazy. I know it’s hard for you to be on time, so next time this happens, I’m just going to take my own car and we can meet there and then you can take all the time you want.”

It’s the exact same words, but it’s a totally different energy coming from the wounded self. This unloving energy is coming from the to intention control. It’s to punish the other person. Lots of times people ask me what to say, and I say, “It’s not so much what you say to set the loving boundary. It’s about your intention. It’s about focusing on what’s in your highest good and taking loving care of yourself.”

Clients ask me, “How can I take care of myself so that I don’t feel resentful and so that I can keep my heart open? I don’t feeling like a victim of this person.” When you want to set a loving boundary, what you need to do is share your feelings, like if someone’s judging you, yelling at you, telling you what to do, or interrogating you, lying to you, and so on, what you want to do is say, “This is hurtful to me. It doesn’t feel good at all so I’m going to disengage and go in the other room, or go for a walk or a drive, or get off the phone, or stop texting.” If somebody’s interrogating you, you can say “I’m not available to be interrogated. It doesn’t feel good to answer this question. I don’t want to discuss the issue right now because it doesn’t seem like there’s openness,” and then disengage.

These are examples of boundaries. It’s about what you’re going to do in the face of another’s unloving behavior. You might say, “This anger is scaring me so I’m going to go for a drive.” If there’s violence, then a boundary would be to call the police. Obviously leaving a relationship if there’s physical abuse or intense emotional abuse and gaslighting is what is loving to you. Then, of course, you need to not be around that person, not be in the relationship, otherwise just saying that this is what you will do is a form of control.

If you’re in a relationship and your partner comes at you for sex in a very needy or demanding way, or a way that expects you to give yourself up or a way that’s not connected, not loving, a boundary might be, “I need to feel emotionally connected with you in order to want have sex. I’m not turned on by your needy or demanding energy. So I’m not going to have sex with you until we can get into a loving and emotionally connected place with each other.”

If spending time with your partner ends up feeling bad, a boundary would be, “I’m not going to spend much time with you until we can be together in an open and caring way with each other.”  Again, it’s what you’re going to do rather than trying to change your partner. If there’s financial issues and you’re the breadwinner and your partner is un-unnecessarily spending a lot of money, a boundary might be “I’m going to cut up the credit cards and give you an allowance instead. I’m no longer willing to pay for these frivolous things.” A loving boundary is about doing what you can do, what’s in your control to do. It’s not about trying to get the other person to be different or telling them what they should be doing.

The art of setting boundaries is tied in with fully accepting your helplessness over others. As long as you believe you can control another person, then you will not accept the truth – that you are powerless over another’s intent to be loving or unloving.

However, you are not at all powerless over whether YOU choose to be loving or unloving to yourself. When your intent is to be loving to yourself, then you will be unavailable for others’ unloving behavior.

The thing that makes this so challenging is that it is very hard for all of us to accept that we have no control over another’s intent and their resulting behavior. We want so badly to be able to get a person who is being unloving to us to open and loving, because we don’t want to feel the pain of their choice. This is why it is so important for you to learn to compassionately manage your very painful feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness over others. Without knowing that you can manage these feelings, you will either try to control others or be too afraid to give and receive love. Neither of these choices will lead to joy or a loving relationship.

One of my clients, Allison, wanted to know what to say to her husband when he disrespects her in front of their children. She didn’t want her kids to keep witnessing disrespectful behavior toward her. She said, “When I challenge his statements of me, his anger escalates and the chastisement worsens, and I’m frequently embarrassed. I wish my children to understand that this is not okay. How can I model what to say to him so that my kids can learn how to take loving care of themselves in situations like this?” She also went on to say that he is often disrespectful to her in restaurants in front of others.  

What I said to her is, “Allison, this is the kind of situation where you don’t want to challenge his treatment of you, because as you said, it’s going to escalate. What you want to do in this situation is to state your truth, which is, ‘I don’t like being treated in this judgmental and disrespectful way, so every time you do it, I will speak up and say I don’t like it and I will leave the room. If it’s out in public, if we’re in a restaurant, I will get up in front of people and say, ‘I don’t like being treated this way. It’s not okay to treat me disrespectfully. And then I will leave. I will take our car and go home and you can find your own way home. I will no longer stay in your presence when you treat me this way.’ You would need to say it in a fairly firm way. Obviously, he’s been controlling you with his unloving behavior. It would be very good for your children to hear you say to him, ‘It’s not okay to treat me in this unloving disrespectful way. And when you do, I am going to walk out.’ That’s a role model for your children. When you challenge him, you’re trying to control him and you can’t. Your children need to see what it looks like to take loving care of yourself, to do what you do have control over, which is you. You have control over saying, ‘I am not going to be around you when you’re being unloving and disrespectful with me.’

It would be excellent for your children to see you moving into your power, by saying no, it’s not okay to treat me this way and when you do, I’m going to leave and then walk out. Walk out to another room, walk out to your car, go take a ride, walk out from a restaurant or from a party, even of others are there. In fact, if others are there, be sure to say it loudly and firmly so others hear you. Wherever you are you need to be prepared to say, ‘It’s not okay to treat me this way so I’m leaving.’”

My client, Teresa, said, “I have trouble setting boundaries with some members of my family. They disregard my feelings and often feel they can use and take my possessions. I find the best way to deal with this is to set physical boundaries by not spending any time with them. Often, if I stand up for myself, I’m seen as a troublemaker.” I told Teresa that, “Not being around them is one kind of boundary. You could also say if they are at your house and you see them using or taking your possessions, that you’re going to ask them to leave. And they will see you as a troublemaker and that needs to be okay with you. If you’re at their house and they’re taking something of yours that you’ve brought, and you speak up, they’re going to see you as a troublemaker because they want to do what they want to do.

They don’t want you to take care of yourself. They don’t want you to speak up for yourself.  So you have to be willing to have them see you as a troublemaker. If you are not willing to have them judge you, then you’re not going to be able to speak up for yourself. So I want to encourage you to make it okay for them to see you as a troublemaker and to speak up and say that it’s not okay to use or take your possessions, and that if they do, then you’re not going to be to be around them. And then if they say, ‘You’re a troublemaker,”’ you can say, ‘That’s right and I will continue to be a troublemaker and speak my truth because it’s not okay to use my things without my permission or to take my things.’

In order to set the boundary – and here’s one of the challenges with setting a boundary – is that you need to be willing to lose the other person rather than lose yourself. And it’s not easy to reach that place. You need to be willing for people to be angry with you, to be upset with you, to tell you you’re a troublemaker, to tell you there’s something wrong with you. You must be willing to have that happen because if you’re not, then you’re going to continue to give yourself up and allow yourself to be violated in one way or another.

It is not easy to commit to take loving care of yourself and risk losing your partner or your family or your friends. But is the illusion of connection with someone worth the reality of losing yourself?

In a caring, loving relationship with a partner, you can make reasonable requests of your partner and your partner will want to do all he or she can to meet your requests. But in a dysfunctional relationship, your partner might ignore your requests. That’s when you need to accept that the caring is getting lost in the power struggles and control issues. To get yourself out of the unloving system that the two of you have created, you may need to control what you can control, which is how you treat yourself and how you respond to others’ unloving behavior.

We train people in how to treat us. If we allow others to use and abuse us, then they will likely continue to do so. Since others generally treat us the way we treat ourselves, you might want to explore how you are treating yourself that may be leading you to feel used or abused in your relationships.

My client Maddie told me that, “With friendships, I often am not sure what is a loving boundary when it comes to how frequently I call or make plans with a friend. I sometimes hesitate to call a friend out of fear. I think I’m reaching out too frequently. Now that I have been practicing in Inner Bonding, I’m aware of how I have reached out to friends from a needy place. I really want to connect with my friends, but part of me is now hesitant, because I don’t want to reach out from an empty place anymore. How can I differentiate from my wanting to reach out for connection from a full place versus an empty place?”

I said to her that “This has to do with how you’re feeling in the moment. If you’re feeling full, if you’re feeling happy, if you’re peaceful and you want to share your peace and your love and your caring with your friends, then by all means reach out. But if you’re feeling empty and you’re trying to get something from them, that’s not a good time to reach out. It’s up to you to tune in and to see what’s going on inside of you. It’s up to you to set an inner boundary regarding allowing your wounded self to act out with neediness.”

We not only need to set loving boundaries with how others treat us, we also need to set loving inner boundaries regarding not allowing our wounded self to act out in unloving and controlling ways. The more you learn to set inner limits on your own wounded self, the easier it will be for you to set loving limits for yourself regarding the unloving, wounded behavior of others’ wounded selves.

Practicing Inner Bonding is a powerful pathway to develop your loving adult, capable of setting both loving inner boundaries with yourself, and loving outer boundaries with others.

I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

You can heal your relationships with my 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.

My recent books will also be a big help to you: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance,  Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process. You can get my books on our website or at Amazon or Goodreads.

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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S2 EP109 – Are You Fearful of Commitment?

Episode Summary

Discover the underlying reasons you might be fearful of committing to a relationship, or to a job, or even to your personal and spiritual growth. Learn how to heal commitment phobia.

Transcript

Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast and today I will be talking about the fear of commitment, also called commitment phobia.

Commitment phobia stems from the fear of being controlled, the fear of losing yourself. It’s a fear of engulfment. It’s a fear that if you are in a committed relationship, or some other form of commitment, you’re going to lose yourself, and underneath that fear of losing yourself – underneath the fear of engulfment is the fear of rejection, because the only reason that you would give yourself up in a relationship or friendship or a work situation, is to avoid rejection. That’s why people give themselves up. They allow themselves to be controlled. They allow themselves to be engulfed because they think that if they give themselves up and do what somebody else wants them to do, if they people please, then they won’t be rejected. But the problem is that the moment you give yourself up to avoid somebody else rejection, you’ve rejecting yourself. And so what causes actually causes commitment phobia is self-abandonment, self-rejection.

When you’re making what somebody else feels about you more important than how you feel about yourself, when you make somebody else loving you or approving of you more important than loving yourself and approving of yourself, then you’re rejecting yourself. And when you reject yourself, that feels bad inside. When you’re willing to give yourself up to not be rejected by somebody else, you’re going to end up feeling pretty awful, because you’ve already rejected yourself. You’re going to end up feeling you’ve got to get out of this relationship or the work situation, but it’s not because there’s necessarily something wrong with the relationship or the work, but because you are giving yourself up, you’re rejecting yourself, you’re abandoning yourself and that’s always going feel bad. So in any relationship, and it doesn’t matter what kind of relationship it’s with – a parent with, a partner, a a friend, a boss or co-worker, we always have to be willing to lose the other person rather than lose ourselves in order to create a loving relationship.

When we were children, we obviously could not do that because we couldn’t take care of ourselves. Many of us learned when we were young, that we had to give ourselves up, that we had to people please, that we had to sacrifice who we really are in order to try to avoid punishment or get some approval, which often gets confused with love. Love and approval are not the same thing. Love doesn’t have an agenda and love doesn’t come and go – it’s not conditional. Most of us didn’t get real love. We got approval when we did things right and disapproval when we did things wrong, and for a child it’s really scary to have that come and go. So, of course, many of us learned to give ourselves up in one way or another.

Those of you who have a commitment phobia might have given yourself up in order not to be rejected by a parent, but now today, to heal from your fear of commitment, you need to be willing to lose the other person rather than lose yourself. When you attach your self-worth to how others feel about you, then getting close to somebody can feel dangerous. If you’re telling yourself that if this person loves you, you’re okay, but if this person doesn’t, then you’re not good enough, then that makes it very scary to be in a relationship. It’s like, you have this little kid, which is your feeling self, and you’re handing him or her away to this other person and saying to that child, “That person has to like you for you to be okay. And if that person doesn’t like you, then you’re not okay. And I’m not going to be the one to love you.” So if that person doesn’t, that’s pretty scary.

Commitment phobia comes from the fear of engulfment, which comes from the fear of rejection, which comes from self-abandonment and not being willing to lose the other person, being willing to lose yourself rather than lose them, and attaching your self-worth to how others feel about you.

And then there is the fear of pain. Many of us had a lot of pain as we were growing up, a lot of loneliness, a lot of heartbreak, a lot of grief, and a lot of helplessness over how we were being treated. And it’s so hard when you’re a little child to not have love that you can rely on, to not have people there that really get you and connect to you and to tune into you.

It was so hard and painful for many of us, and we were too little to manage that pain. So we learned many ways of not feeling the heartbreak, the loneliness, the grief, and the helplessness over others. We learned to avoid our feelings and try to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. And one of the ways that we might have learned was to give ourselves up and make others responsible for defining our worth. And that, as I said, leads to the fear of commitment.

You also might have found subtle ways of resisting the control so that you didn’t completely lose yourself, and this resistance might now be showing up in both your work and your relationships.

My clients often ask me, “How do I know if the person is a very good match for me when I’m just generally afraid to commit?” The problem is that until you are operating from your loving adult rather than your wounded self, you can’t actually know. Even if the person is a good match for you, you’re going to be afraid to commit if you’re afraid of losing yourself in the relationship. When you stop rejecting yourself, you eventually stop being afraid of rejection, so you stop giving yourself up to avoid rejection.

My clients often tell me that they have a pattern of getting involved with unavailable men, which indicates that they are also unavailable. When you are available for an intimate relationship because of no longer abandoning yourself, you won’t be attracted to unavailable people.

My client, Andrea, said, “I have this terrible feeling in my gut when I’m interested in a guy, so I think I’ve got a commitment problem. I’ve tried for so long to have a loving relationship. I’ve always wanted to have that wonderful man in my life, but I’ve had nothing but failed relationships. Even when I felt that I loved a man, I got this terrible feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach, and I’ve felt that way with every guy that I’ve ever been with.”

I asked Andrea to breath into the fear in her stomach and get present with it. I said to her, “See if you can imagine that the fear is that little girl in you. And she’s really, really scared of something. And see if you can find a place in you that wants responsibility for something you might be doing or telling her that’s causing the fear right now.” I then asked Andrea to breathe into her heart is step 2 of Inner Bonding, opening to learning and inviting the love and compassion of her higher self into her heart. I knew from previous sessions that she had a connection with her higher self. Then, in Step 3, I asked her to ask the fear how she was treating herself and what she was telling herself that caused the fear, and then move back into her body and let the fear answer.

Her inner child said, “I’m scared because I may not be loved. I might be rejected.”

I asked her to ask her inner child how she, as her wounded self, was rejecting herself. When you’re in a relationship, what do you do that scares your little girl and makes her feel unsafe and rejected? Ask her why she isn’t feeling loved by you. She told me that she told her inner child that she has to be perfect in every relationship. Of course, that made her inner child feel rejected by her – that she’s not good enough the way she is.

“When you tell her that she has to be perfect,” I asked her, “how does that feel inside?”

“It hurts,” she said.

“And it scares your little girl to tell her that she has to act perfectly and say the right thing or she’s not going to be loved – that you’re not going to love her unless she does everything right, and that the man has to love her for her to be okay. If you had an actual child and instead of you loving the child, you went around to neighbors and knocked on their doors and said, ‘Do you want this kid? If you like her and you take care of her, then she’s okay. But if you don’t want her and you reject her, she’s not okay.’ That child’s going to feel very scared, unloved, and rejected by you.”

“That’s exactly what I’ve been doing,” said Andrea. “But how do I love her more?

“Since you have a spiritual connection,” I said, “I’d like you right now to open to that connection. Ask your higher guidance, ‘What’s the first thing that I need to do to be loving to my little girl? What’s one thing that I can do right now?

“Accept every part of her,” Andrea said.

“Are you willing to start to practice that right now?” I asked. “It will make a very big difference if you start accepting her rather than judging her and telling her she’s got to be perfect.”

“Yes,” she said. “I will. And she is so glad she doesn’t have to be perfect anymore.”

“How does that feel inside right now?” I asked her.

“That feels really good,” she said. “I feel relief.”

The feeling of relief is her inner guidance letting her know that she is on the right track with learning to love herself.

My client Nathan told me that he has a phobia of being in a committed relationship. He told me that, “My last relationship ended in heartbreak and, even though I have a deep desire to be in a loving relationship, I’m afraid of opening up again. I seem unable to open to the possibility of a new relationship. It took everything I had to break up with the last woman and rebuild my life. How do I open up again to the possibility? It’s very frightening. It is the deepest desire I have but I’m so scared of getting hurt again.”

As we explored his last relationship, it soon became apparent that Nathan completely abandoned himself in his last relationship, and in all his previous relationships. “Self-abandonment,” I told him, ‘Is the primary reason for relationship failure. I’ve worked with couples for many years and over and over, the reason that the relationship is failing is because each person is abandoning themselves. They haven’t learned how to take loving care of themselves, how to fill themselves up with love so they have love to share with their partner. The fear of getting hurt goes away when you learn to love yourself.”

My client Jody said, “I know I have a fear of engulfment. I’m 43 and I’ve been in four committed relationships with four wonderful men, and I’ve left every one of them. Even when I keep trying to date them again to see if I can make it work, each time, I just leave again. I always start to feel like I’m in a cage, almost like I’m suffocating.”

“Jody,” I asked, “How do you give yourself up? What do you do? How do you sacrifice yourself in a relationship?”

“I try to be perfect,” she said. “I’m always available for sex, and always there for them. I’m trying to be a loving and accepting woman, but then I end up feeling suffocated.”

“What I hear,” I said to her, “is that you’re trying to be loving and accepting of him rather than loving and accepting of you. You have your focus on being this loving and accepting woman with your man, which is fine. We do need to be loving and accepting with our partner, but not to the exclusion of being loving and accepting of yourself. And I hear you not focusing on what would be loving and accepting to you. And when you’re not focusing on that, you’re going to end up feeling suffocated. It sounds like you go into a relationship taking responsibility for him rather than taking responsibility for you. If you were also focusing on taking responsibility for your own feelings, you would not end up feel suffocated. When you’re focused on being loving and accepting of him, you’re bypassing you. For now, in your next relationship, I encourage you to focus on being loving and accepting with yourself. Whatever is truly loving to you is also going to be loving to him. There’s no way to be loving to ourselves and be unloving to somebody else, because it’s not loving to ourselves to be unloving to somebody else. The focus needs to be on you first. Are you willing to try that?”

“Yes,” she said. “And I’m a sole parent to my young daughter. I think I need to do the same thing with her.”

“Right,” I said. “Half of good parenting is being there for your child, and the other half of good parenting is role modeling being there for yourself, and taking personal responsibility for your own feelings. Your child needs to see you role model that. And that’s what the practice of inner bonding is about.”

A question I often get from my clients is, “How can you tell if someone is commitment phobic and is there a way to resolve it?” Often, you can’t always tell at the beginning because very often commitment phobic people come on strong because they really do want a relationship, and they really do want to connect. They come on strong and they’re terrific and wonderful at the beginning. And then they find themselves like Jody feeling trapped and engulfed and they don’t understand why, and they go away. So if somebody’s coming on really strong and fast, that’s often a sign of commitment phobia.

Of course there’s a way to resolve it, but only if somebody is willing to do their inner bonding work. But if somebody continues to think that they have to give themselves up in a relationship, they’re always going to end up feeling engulfed and smothered and they’re eventually going to leave that relationship.

Now Dr. Erika Chopich and I are going to talk about various aspects of being commitment phobic other than in a relationship. Mostly, I wanted to pick her brilliant brain on this topic, and here is what she said.

“We make many different kinds of commitments. We not only make commitments to our family members, but also to our jobs and to causes and to ourselves. But I see many people who say they want to make the commitment, but and as they approach it closer and closer, they back away and just give up. I think part of the problem is all commitment requires some sacrifice. There’s something you must sacrifice to commit. Maybe it’s your time, or money, or your feeling of control. People who were raised with very controlling parents would have a very difficult time making a commitment that requires some form of sacrifice, but it’s a blessed sacrifice. It’s not an acquiescence. It’s something you freely choose to give but people often get stuck right at that moment.

“Like the new woman we hired in the barn who is well qualified. She was enthusiastic and energetic, and she started off very well, and as she started to grow more and more comfortable in the barn with the horses and with our barn team and she started to feel the healing and the love coming from her peers and from the horses, she became increasingly inefficient and increasingly uncommitted, until she just fell by the wayside of her own choosing. It looked to me that as her bond with the animals and the crew grew stronger, she almost swam upstream to distance herself from it all, until she left. It looked very much to me like she was commitment phobic because in her mind it would become all-consuming, and she would be lost. I suspect that that’s how she grew up – that if she made a commitment to her family, to her parents, she would end up being consumed. That’s likely where her phobia came from. She was probably terrified of being hurt because if she got close to us and the horses, she might get hurt, and it seemed like she was afraid of becoming lost or losing her freedom in some way – that she would have to give herself up to not be hurt, not be rejected. But if she had taken a different tract and opened her heart to what she was loving so very much, without the wounded self coming in and saying, “Yes, you like it here, but you’re gonna lose yourself,’ it would have had a different outcome. I find it very sad that her intent to protect was greater than her intent to love herself.”

Erika went on to say, “I used to see the same thing when I was the administrator of the Los Angeles Free Clinic. We had many volunteers because it takes an entire army to offer something like that to your community, and people would come in all fired up wanting to volunteer, wanting to make a difference, and wanting to help, and I would slowly see that fire in them begin to dwindle until it was extinguished, and they lost interest. It was the same pattern where they wanted to embrace the cause and give it their all, but they also did not want it to become so important to them that they were vulnerable to being hurt or consumed. They were fearful that if they loved what they were doing, they would lose their freedom and their joy, when the reality is they got the deepest joy from giving.

“They lose interest because what they are fearing from their wounded self and protecting against that, is more important than sharing their love. How many times do you see someone commit to something wonderful or attached to something wonderful, and then let it die because their wounded self is saying, ‘This is gonna overtake you, it’s gonna overtake your life, you’re gonna lose your freedom, you won’t be a free spirit anymore and you’ll have to sacrifice, and you know that sacrifice is bad.’ But sacrifices is not bad when it’s done in love. Spiritually, some sacrifice is required of us like when we give to our children, or when I give up my free time to tend to an animal. Yes I sacrificed my free time, but I do it out of love for them. Their intention shifts to protecting against their fears and then they’re really lost and they walk away feeling bad about themselves.”

“It seems to me,” I said, “that it’s important to take a look at the word ‘sacrifice,’ because if they’re sacrificing themselves, they’re giving themselves up. They’re sacrificing their integrity and that’s a form of control.”

“Right,’ she said, “but if they’re choosing to sacrifice their time in order to love, that’s completely different. I openly and knowingly sacrificed a great deal when I was running Hope America to go and work with the homeless. I was sacrificing all my vacation time, all my free time, to go and care for them, but I did it with love and I did it because it was the right thing to do. It made me grow and it helped them to heal. It’s a sacrifice for a greater good that you want to do because it helps you to grow spiritually and it helps others. My ego wounded self doesn’t come into that. It’s a higher purpose and it brings me joy and peace, but people get hung up on the word, on the idea of sacrificing because they think it means the self will be lost. No, the self grows and it’s enhanced and that’s different than caretaking, which is a form of control where you sacrifice yourself. When you sacrifice for the good, or the greater good of another as with parenting, it has nothing to do with your ego wounded self. It has everything to do with your God connection.

“I think sometimes when people make a commitment, they don’t fully make it from an aware place. They don’t have an internal dialogue that says, ‘Is this really what I want to do? Is this something I really want to sacrifice for? Is this something I can do in love? They just go into it kind of like the wind, like the breeze pushes them into it but they don’t think it through and they don’t explore it and they’re not prepared to deal with whatever obstacles come in their way. When obstacles come their way, they just fade away and it’s kind of like the river bouncing off the rocks as it flows. They don’t ever look at the rock or say this is beautiful, or look at the gorgeous pool it just made for the fish to live in. They just don’t see it. They let the rock get in their way and they stop flowing. When I want to make a commitment, I really talk to myself. I do my internal dialogue and I check it all out and when I realize yes, I want to do this out of love and service because it has meaning for me and it makes me happy and peaceful, and then it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.

“But to the wounded self, when somebody is caretaking, they’ll sacrifice everything to keep their relationship going the way they want it to, but what they don’t realize is they’re actually exerting a form of control and that has little to do with love or spirit. They’ve just become a workhorse for the other person in order to keep the relationship, whether it’s a work relationship, a child parent relationship, a friendship, or a primary relationship. It’s all about intention and helping yourself to grow and stretch your wings, spread those wings and soar. Yes, commitment is involved and so is sacrifice.

“Can a rose bloom without sacrificing itself? In order to fully bloom it must invite in the pollinators and risk burning in the sun, risk disease. It can stay closed up in a bud but it will wither and die on the vine without fulfilling itself. If the flower chooses to bloom and open like we see in nature, then it’s also saying, “’I’m willing to not be afraid. I’m willing to sacrifice my safety to offer beauty,’ and that’s the exact same thing we do.”

“When the Rose blooms it not only fulfills itself, but it offers seeds and continuation whereas the bud just dies on the vine. Without offering anything no one ever experiences it, no one ever can smell it’s healing fragrance. It’s just gone.”

Now let’s talk about what heals this commitment phobia. The Inner Bonding process is an incredible process for healing commitment phobia, because it’s about learning to love yourself rather than continue to abandon and reject yourself.

When you learn to stay present in your body with your feelings throughout the day, and you’re developing the loving adult part of you, then you take loving action for yourself even in the face of rejection or engulfment. The loving adult will not sacrifice yourself to get love. You will not tell yourself that you have to give yourself up and sacrifice yourself in order to please this other person so that you won’t be rejected. You won’t need to because you are loving yourself. The loving adult speaks up for us with our truth rather than comply or resist.

Also, the loving adult learns about who we really are on the inner level, our our authentic soul self, and learn to not take it personally when people are being rejecting. The loving adult sets limits against somebody trying to control you, and instead of giving in or resisting, decides for yourself what is in your highest good.

But the conundrum is that is you if you are commitment phobic, you might resist practicing Inner Bonding, and then you will stay stuck with your commitment phobia. You might be afraid that if you open to your spiritual connection, you will be controlled by your higher power and lose yourself. 

The practice of the 6 steps of Inner Bonding is an incredibly powerful process for healing not only commitment phobia, and not only the fear of rejection and the fear of engulfment, but also for healing anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, emptiness, aloneness, and jealousy – the painful feelings resulting from self-abandonment.

Inner Bonding creates the new neural pathways in the brain for the loving adult, which is what heals us on a very deep level.

I encourage you to take my 30-day home study courses to learn to love yourself, to learn to have loving relationships, and to learn to connect with your spiritual guidance Love Yourself, Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love and Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom.

My recent books will also be a big help to you: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance,  Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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S2 EP108 – Healthy Vitality – It’s Not Just Physical

Episode Summary

In this podcast Dr. Margaret Paul talks about both physical and emotional vitality and how connected they are.

Transcript

Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding Podcast. And today I want to talk about both physical and emotional vitality and how connected they are.

Again, Dr. Erika Chopich, the co-creator of Inner Bonding, and I had a conversation about this topic. For those of you new to Inner Bonding, Erika and I have been best friends for 38 years, and now in our elder years we share a Colorado home and ranch as Golden Girls.

To give you some background, Erika came from a very abusive childhood, and like so many people with abusive background, her immune system was compromised, and she suffered with autoimmune disease for many years, which is now in remission. But both of us got COVID before anyone knew about COVID, and Erika has been struggling with long COVID. Yet , with all this, she maintains incredible vitality and lightness of being. I’m often in awe of how she does this, so of course, given that this is today’s topic, I wanted to talk with her about it. I want her to join me in doing these podcasts and maybe she will, but until she does, I will speak for her. I asked Erika her thoughts about healthy vitality, and this what she said. 

“I think when people think of their own vitality, they don’t always trust it – like they’re being tricked into believing things are that good and they feel some lightness of being, but it won’t last. They worry that the other shoe is about to drop, or something will go wrong, so they don’t fully embrace it because of this lack trust. They think, ‘Things are fine now but it won’t last, and bad things will happen.’ But it’s not true that just because life can be challenging, you can’t maintain your lightness of being and your vitality all the way through the challenges. But we’re not taught to see it that way. We’re taught that the external controls the internal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve had such challenges recently and I try to maintain my vitality and keep my physical health, first with a solid healthy diet and everything I can do to support my physical health, and then when I open to my lightness of being and my spiritual connection, everything follows and I’m able to maintain a higher level of vitality than I should be able to at my age and with the challenges I have.”

“But,” I asked her, “how do you do that? How do you maintain the emotional vitality through physical challenges and emotional challenges?” I’ve always been in awe of Erika’s ability to maintain her sense of vitality.

“The first thing I do is notice the beauty around me and the beauty of other people and the beauty of the animals and where we live. I just notice the beauty and just noticing something that catches your eye like that or maybe a beautiful sky like we had the other morning opens the heart. It just opens the heart and with an open heart that sort of morphs into my sense of humor and my lightness of being, and as long as I embrace that and hang on to that, there’s little that can disturb it. The only way it goes downhill is if I disconnect spiritually. If I disconnect spiritually everything falls apart and everything starts looking dark and ugly and alone, so it’s clearly that you’re the pilot in command of your own aircraft and you really do get to decide whether you soar or crash just based on your own internal intention in that moment. If things are getting really tough and it’s hurting my body and I’m getting very tired and annoyed because it’s not going right, so now what do I do? Do I crash along with it or do I go, ‘OK that’s sort of stinks, but that’s funny over here,’ and I find the humor in it, the joke in it. I see how wonderful it is that I have those two choices right in front of me and that I can make either choice and make it go up or down – fill it with light or fill it with darkness. I realize there’s choice. I see the wonder in that and how I could easily just get irritated and discouraged and go down, or I can see the power in the fact that it’s entirely up to me and choose the lightness and laugh it off.

“I can do that and so can everyone, but they don’t think to. If the task is too tough and too taxing, let your inner child help with it.”

I asked her, “How do you let your inner child help with it?”

“My inner child knows how to make a task fun how, to make it be a game. My child comes out to help me with a really difficult task I’m struggling with. I just see it through different eyes. I see it through the eyes of youth, the eyes of that childlike quality that says, ‘You know what? There’s something fun here,’ and you go right towards it and everything shifts.

“I could not do any of that if I eat MacDonald’s. I wouldn’t have the energy flow in my body. It would all be blocked. You know if I was eating processed foods or a high sugar diet, or if you’re using things like recreational drugs or alcohol, you’re not going to be able to do that. The flow will be blocked. So the physical vitality has to be there. It’s the foundation for the house and without it everything else just falls. The walls will fall away from the house without a solid foundation. The healthy diet is the foundation of your house the rest that we’re talking about follows.

“One of the skills we both have is being able to pull order from chaos, and part of being able to do this is my lightness of being. If you’re in your lightness of being and you’re connected with your inner child and your spiritual guidance, and you’re confronted with chaos, you’ll see the order and be able to pull it out and extract it, without being overwhelmed by it. Even in my relationships, if I get annoyed or if a relationship starts to become chaotic and disjointed, if I’m in my lightness of being and I’m in the right alignment in my life, I can see the order within that chaos within that mixture of goo and pull the order out of the chaos and make things right again. It’s like saying, ‘wait a minute you’re not really annoying me, I’m just tired, it’s mine. Or the chaos could be you let me down and disappointed me, and then I realize, no, actually I probably did that myself. It’s what I’m assigning to it and the order starts to come into clarity and now I can address whatever the issue is. It’s like if there’s a huge storm brewing over the mountains, I can either see the dark clouds and panic or I can see the wonderful animals or other interesting shapes in the clouds as they emerge where I am, and where my intention is allows me to see the beauty in the clouds, not the storm.

“This morning in the barn when Leia was terrified by herd of elk, she turned the whole barn into chaos. The other horses were spooked. we couldn’t even groom her, and it was just pandemonium, and what I did was stop a minute and think, ‘wait a minute, this isn’t normal for my horse.’ So what is her issue and I realized as I connected to her heart that she was so terrified that she couldn’t even control the adrenaline in her body. She wasn’t trying to act out. She was just terrified even though she was being very very careful not to step on me or get too close to me. You could see in her eyes that she was just terrified. So I thought what does she need? My soothing her won’t work when she’s running that high in adrenaline. So I took her outside and I took her halter off and she immediately ran and ran and ran and ran till she ran all that adrenaline down and then she came up to me with her head down, and she sort of said thanks mom and I slipped her halter back on I put her through a few paces to see if she was centered. I had her walk, stop, and back with me to see if she was centered again and she was. Then it was safe to walk her back in the barn, but it was my lightness of being that enabled me to pull the order out of that chaos and to see what she really needed at that moment – to see what was causing so much pandemonium – that allowed us to get through that whole event safely for people and horses.”

“And it was also your being able to be present enough with your connection to your feelings and your guidance to be able to tune into her,” I said. I had been in the barn in the morning and saw exactly what happened. I was amazed at Erika’s skill in tuning into Leia and knowing exactly what she was feeling and what she needed.”

Yes,” she said. “I couldn’t have known what to do without my connection with my feelings and my guidance. I didn’t go to fear. I think a lot of horse owners would have panicked at that moment and or tried to control the horse, snapped the line and discipline the horse, but no, this horse was terrified and had more energy in her body than she could possibly manage, and what she was saying to me was, ‘I gotta move my feet I gotta move my feet I gotta move my feet,’ and so I listened.”

“Because I was connected with myself, I could connect with her. I was able to hear my guidance in my ear saying, ‘she’s terrified, and I looked in her eyes and I could see it in her eyes, so I realized she’s telling me right in front of me what I need by moving left and moving right and moving left and moving right. She was saying to me ‘I need to move my feet real bad. I can’t stand here and be groomed,’ so I listened.  

“When I had the structural failure in the glider when I was still a student pilot – when the spoiler wouldn’t deploy and I couldn’t control the rate of descent, I couldn’t control my approach on final – it’s the same process. I stayed connected to my guidance, I dealt with each emergency, I separated the emergencies and dealt with them one at a time by staying connected and then I landed safely on the ground without a scratch on the plane or me. It’s the same intention, the same flow, but think about that when I was in the aircraft and it wasn’t functioning, if I had had McDonald’s for breakfast that morning, I would have crashed because I would not have been able to maintain the connection and the flow. If I had panicked or disconnected within myself and with my guidance, I would have crashed the plane.

“And my teacher on the ground got panicked and told me the wrong instructions, but I stayed true to me and what I needed to do. It was really good landing even though I was just newly soloed and was still a student but staying connected is everything. Staying connected to your emotional vitality and your spiritual connection will lead you through those things. When I was a young paramedic and I would come upon a violent accident, I did the same thing. I stayed connected and assessed the triage – who needs treatment first, how do I extricate this person, what is their first and primary need? I can’t do that if I’m disconnecting from me and my own vitality. I need to be in my own flow, my own center. I can’t function if I can’t hear my guidance or theirs and if I’m in a panic when I walk up to that situation. It’s staying as grounded as you possibly can be, which you can only do if your diet is right and your spiritual connection is right, and you’re functioning from your loving adult and not any wounded part of you.”

“And” I said, “the amazing thing about the situation with the glider is that you did not give your authority away to your flight instructor.”

“No,” she said. “I knew he radioed up the wrong instructions, so I decided to not listen to a word he told me. I just completely ignored the radio and did what I knew to do. I listened  to my own inner knowing and my own higher guidance.”

“Part of supporting your vitality and being about to see order out of chaos is exercising your brain. A neurologist said to me, ‘You’ve got to exercise the brain like a muscle. You need to start playing computer games, problem solving and word games to keep the neurotransmitters vital. The brain has neuroplasticity, and you’d need to keep rewiring more cells to keep the brain youthful and vital, and to stave off aging and injury.’ So that was when I got the idea of playing word games in the evening. I said to you, ‘Why don’t we play them and then your response was, ‘I’ve never been able to play word games. I’m really bad with word games but I will try.’ At the beginning, we started with three and four and five letter games, and you couldn’t see the four and five letter words, but I could. But you could see three letter words so you went right for the three letter words and started putting them up, and then I was coaching you a little bit on the four and five letter words – how to put the diphthongs together, and how to look for TH or ING or SP or St. As your eyes started to get trained to do that, you started to see four letter words and then five letter words and now you see a seven-letter word in a millisecond, as fast as I do. Your brain immediately pulls the word out of the chaos.”

“Right,” I said, “and I’m still amazed that I can do this – that my older brain can still learn so much!”

Erika went on to talk about something she learned about on the Internet, called ‘pareidolia.’ Wikipedia defines pareidolia as “…the tendency for perception to impose a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous stimulus, usually visual, so that one sees an object, pattern, or meaning where there is none.”

“It’s like when people are seeing faces or animals in clouds,” Erika said, “they are pulling order out of chaos. Some people do it visually and then there’s also auditory pareidolia, where I hear chaos in a fan running, but my brain morphs it into chatter or background noise, party noise, dinner noise. I often hear people singing or chorus singing. My brain will pull order out of that chaos automatically. It’s the same thing in a relationship when you’re having difficulty and you’re trying so hard to pull order out of total chaos in the relationship. This is actually where Inner Bonding comes in, because recognizing that there’s only two intentions helps you learn to pull order out of the chaos. Then you start to really see and understand what’s happening. They couldn’t make heads or tails of it before and now they can understand it on the level of intention.”

“Right,” I said, “you can see that the chaos is coming from the intent to control – that both of you are in your wounded self and trying to control rather than learn.”

“Right,” Erika said, “and that’s the upper left-brain part of understanding what’s happening in the relationship. The left side of the upper brain recognizes chaos, the right opens to creativity and guidance, and eventually then you pull the order out of the chaos. It’s the functioning of both sides of the brain, the wholeness, the balance in the brain like the balance in Inner Bonding which help makes sense of things.”

“I want to go back to our word games,” I said. “Now, when we’re playing, more often than not, I hear a word before I even know if the letters for the words are there. Or I hear a word being spelled out. My guidance is giving me the words! My guidance is playing the word game with me! So playing the word games is not only developing new neural pathways in my brain, but it’s also developing my higher spiritual connection. We’ve both had the experience of both hearing the word or seeing the word. Sometimes it’s one sometimes it’s the other. Lots of times you’ll say to me, ‘Did you hear it or did you see it?’ And often I’m not sure because I might be hearing it and seeing it at the same time. And the other thing that’s happened is sometimes you’ll see the word and you’ll start to spell it out in your mind, and I actually hear you spelling it out. I think people do understand that there is a level of telepathy that when people are open to their intuition and open to learning, a level of telepathy is possible. And it’s also about connection. We’re connected because we’re playing together and it’s very exciting that we notice we are hearing each other’s words.”

I want to talk a bit more about how important the physical vitality is for the emotional vitality, and how loving yourself in all areas of your life is so important for emotional vitality.

Loving yourself means many different things, and it’s especially important with all of our current challenges to learn to love yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, organizationally, and relationally. Actually, all these different ways of caring for yourself interact to create overall health and vitality:

  • When you take care of finances as best as you can, you lower your stress, which contributes to emotional health.
  • When you are organized regarding time and space – being on time to things and keeping your space clutter-free, you also lower your stress, which again contributes to emotional health.
  • When you take the time to meditate, pray, and open to the love, compassion, and wisdom that are always here for all of us, you contribute to your emotional and physical health.
  • When you focus on sharing your love and kindness, rather than trying to have control over getting love and approval, you contribute to your emotional, physical, and relationship health.
  • When, instead of abandoning your feelings with various addictions – such as substance addictions or addictive activities, or judging your feelings, or making others responsible for your happiness and safety – you attend to your feelings with compassion and a desire to learn what they are telling you, you contribute to all levels of vitality.
  • When you care about your physical health, eating clean healthy organic food, getting enough exercise and sleep, and eating gut-healthy probiotic fermented foods and prebiotic foods – fruits and veggies – you also contribute to both physical and emotional vitality. An imbalanced gut, filled with toxic, opportunistic bacteria, has a dramatic effect on both physical and emotional vitality. The toxins from the bad bacteria not only create holes in the intestine and allow the toxins into the organs, but the toxins travel up the vagus nerve into the brain, often creating anxiety, depression, and numerous brain disorders.

Obviously, what you put into your body can have a major effect on both your physical and your emotional vitality and overall health.

I’ve spent many years studying health and nutrition, as well as experimenting with myself.

At my older age, I’m very healthy with a high level of energy. Even though I’m extremely busy with my work, I always take the time to prepare my healthy food and it makes me feel very loved inside.

In order to have time to make the delicious food that I enjoy – everything I eat I make from scratch, and much of it I buy at local farms – I have to be very organized, so you can see that all these levels of self-love intersect.

An important question to ask yourself is, is it important to you to have vitality and health? What might be more important to you?

Most people will say that they really want to be healthy and vital, but what are you willing to DO to be vital and healthy? And what are you willing to NOT DO? In other words, what is more important to you?

  • Is it more important to eat fast food, or packaged, frozen and processed food, than take the time to cook healthy meals with fresh, organic healthy ingredients?
  • Is it more important to spend money on clothes and toys and other “stuff,” than on fresh, organic healthy food?
  • Is it more important to go along with what others say about what creates health and vitality, rather than take the time to do your own learning?
  • Is it more important to sleep in, watch TV, play video games, gamble, work, stay on the phone, constantly text, or do other addictive activities, rather than get exercise?
  • Is it more important to take drugs for anxiety, depression or insomnia, rather than learn how to take responsibility for your feelings?
  • Is it more important to turn to substance addictions, rather than take responsibility for your feelings? To continue to act out addictively with alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, caffeine or drugs, rather than learn to take loving care of yourself?
  • Is it more important to neglect your spiritual practice, rather than take the time to create inner peace?
  • Is it more important to be “one of the gang,” eating like everyone else is eating, drinking like everyone else, or taking drugs like everyone else, rather than support your own health and vitality?

How are you rationalizing your unhealthy choices?

  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t believe that food has much to do with health.
  • So and so smoked his whole life and never got lung cancer.
  • Why bother? My genes are against me.
  • I’ll get around to it when I have some time.
  • Food is the only reward I have. I’m not giving up sweets and other so called “junk food”.
  • I’m still young. I don’t have to worry about it for years.
  • I have too much pain in my life, and I won’t be able to handle it if I get off drugs or give up my addictions.
  • What’s the point in living if I can’t do what I want?
  • I won’t have any friends if I don’t do what they do.

A question you might want to ask yourself is: “How do I want to live my later years? Do I want to be vital, clear-headed and energetic as long as I live, or do I want to suffer with cancer, heart disease, arthritis and other degenerative diseases?”

While there are many factors that influence our health, such as genetics, the environment, accidents, trauma from childhood, and currently long COVID, we each have much power to create health and vitality – when it is important to us.

If health is very important to you, then I encourage you to start to take responsibility for yourself in three major areas:

  • Food – if people didn’t eat it 500 years ago, then don’t eat it now
  • Exercise – find exercise you love and do it consistently
  • State of mind – practice Inner Bonding

All three are equally important and affect each other. If you are judging yourself and ignoring your own feelings – rather than practicing Inner Bonding and taking responsibility for your feelings – then your self-abandonment will be creating stress in your body. When we go into stress, the body goes into fight or flight, which means that the blood leaves the brain and organs and goes into the arms and legs for fighting or fleeing. When this happens often, the immune system is compromised, leaving you open for illness. In addition, the stress may lead you to act out addictively in an effort to relieve it, further fostering poor health and low vitality. Exercise not only helps your state of mind, it helps your body function well. Poor food affects your state of mind and your energy, making it more difficult to exercise and create inner peace.

Today, ask yourself, “How important is my health and vitality to me?” Then be honest with yourself. If you are not willing to take loving care of yourself in all three areas, then you need to accept that your health and vitality is not that important to you.

And, without the intent to love yourself physically and emotionally, you might not be able to connect with your higher guidance. Maybe that’s the thing that will most motivate you to learn to take loving care of yourself!

I hope you join me in my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships”

My recent books will also be a big help to you:

The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance

Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection

6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process.

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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S2 EP107 – Mucking Your Life

Episode Summary

Mucking your life is like mucking a horse stall of pooh. It about learning to clear out the pooh – the fears and false beliefs of your wounded self that are limiting you. It’s about moving beyond resistance and procrastination regarding learning to love yourself enough to create a life of love and freedom, rather than a life filled with the muck that comes from self-abandonment.  Are you ready to learn to clear out the muck in your life?

Transcript

Hi everyone! This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast. And today I want to talk about getting the yuck out of your life. Many of you know that Dr. Erika Chopich, the co-creator of Inner Bonding, and I, now in our later years, share a home and a ranch as Golden Girls, which is a really great way for older women to live. And one of the responsibilities we often share is taking care of our beloved horses. While I can’t help groom and muck stalls during the week when I’m working, I do this work with the horses on weekends. I also get time with them early in the morning at 6 AM when I go out to feed them, and often in the evenings to bring them in for their evening feeding.

Horses were my passion as a child and my dream was always to live on a ranch with horses. It took a long time to get here but I feel so blessed to realize my dream in my elder years! And this would not have happened were it not for the fact that Erika was born on a farm and was training her horse and riding a tractor by the time she was eight years old. There is no doubt that Erika is one of the very best natural horse trainers ever. She is a horse whisperer, tuning in to exactly what a horse feels and needs. I’ve seen her take abused and neglected horses and bring them into a loving and affectionate partnership.

Having come from a very abusive childhood, it was the animals on the farm that taught her about love and likely saved her life, and now she is devoted to their care. The vets call our horse property, Horsey Hilton! No one takes care of animals like Erika.

One Sunday I was mucking out the pee and poop from the shavings in one of the stalls, with another person who was new to helping us, and she said, “This is tedious.” I looked at her surprised because for me it wasn’t at all tedious. I said to her, “Try getting very present with the joy of creating a clean stall for the horses and using the mucking as a meditation.”  When I later told Erika about this, she said that this would be a good topic for a podcast – finding the joy in clearing out the muck from your life. “Great!” I said, and again picked her brain for her brilliant ideas about this.   

“My life with my horses teaches me so much,” she said. “Connecting with them is always about teaching and healing and loving. Loving them always brings me new learning.” 

She went on to say that “No matter how soft the shavings are in the stall that holds your life, it’s also mixed with a lot of poop, and every now and then you need to muck that stall. Like many tasks or chores, the mucking can be boring, dull, annoying, and feeling like it’s robbing you of your time. If this is how it feels, it means that you are in your wounded self with an intention to control, or resist, or avoid, and you might feel resentful of having to do the task. In fact, you might just continue to avoid it with procrastination. But if your intention is to be loving to yourself, then the task becomes meditative and spiritually connected, and clearing out the muck in your life can be freeing and wondrous and open. So let’s get out the mucking fork and get to work, lovingly clearing the muck out of your life!

Erika went on to say that “Horses thrive in health when they live in a clean barn. The health of the horse begins with the cleanliness of the barn and so it is with us. When we allow our lives to be cluttered and soiled, we can no longer rely on our vitality and our spiritual connection to carry us through the difficult times.

“The poop on the stable floor or the poop in your life that is put there by your wounded self, gets cleared by your connection to your higher self. It’s your spiritual guidance that helps you to remove it, and a task done in love enhances us more than a job done in drudgery. The loving adult is the fork, the part of us that takes loving action, guided by our guidance who knows what needs to be kept and what needs to be discarded.

“Now the question is, what do we do with the muck that we clear from our lives? This brings us to intention.

“The pieces of pooh are your bad habits, your controlling behaviors, your wounded self being out of control, and it litters your life just like it litters a stall, making it impossible to have a clean relationship and impossible to have health and wellbeing. So, what do you do as you work through these issues created by your wounded self? What do you do with them? Where do they go?

“The word is transformation. What we’re talking about is the transformation can occur when we take the pooh from the stall and spread it on the pasture and use it to regenerate the pasture. Clearing the muck out of your life brings about transformation because the muck itself is transformed. We can look at the muck in our lives as energy coming from an intention to control. When we shift our intention, the energy used to control is transformed into love, and that’s regenerative.

“The tool we use to do this, the fork, is our connection to God, to spirit, to your higher self because we can’t do it without this love and guidance, and once all of that is cleared out, we’re free to add more soft loving shavings to bring in comfort and peace.”

I chimed in. “In the past, when my wounded self was more in charge and I was less able to be in the moment, mucking a stall felt like a chore, and now mucking a stall is a meditation that brings me joy. Mucking a stall for the horses is like making a clean bed for them and we do it out of love.”  

“Right” said Erika, “and we clear the muck from our lives, from our wounded self, to make a clean bed for our relationships to grow, to be healthy. That’s the point – to be healthy and when we do it out of love for ourselves rather than as a chore, that’s when transformation occurs. If it feels like a chore, then you’re doing it to control, and transformation will not occur. When mucking your life or yourself, feels like a chore, you put it off and procrastinate, and pretty soon the pooh in your life builds up just like it would in a stall, until the task feels overwhelming.

“Then you want somebody to do it for you, and you resent doing it because it seems like something you have to do rather than something you want to do. And you do anything to get somebody else to do for you instead of meeting the challenge head on.”

“And, of course,” I said, “this is what causes major problems in relationships – abandoning yourself and then expecting someone else to muck your stall. You miss so much of what a loving relationship is all about when your intent is to control, or avoid, or protect against pain. When your intent is to love yourself enough to clear out the wounded muck in your life, you are free to share love with your beloved.”

That ended our conversation, and now I want to go on to talk more about the big issue of how you see loving yourself. It does take some discipline to practice Inner Bonding and learn to love yourself. Do you see this as a chore or as a freedom?

So how do you discover the deeper reasons for resistance and procrastination? By doing Inner Bonding! So here is the conundrum. You have to consciously ‘want to’ have the joy and freedom that taking loving action on your own behalf gives to you, more than you ‘want to’ avoid whatever it is you are avoiding. When it becomes truly more important to you to experience the fullness, peace, joy and sharing of love that can result from clearing out the muck in your life with your Inner Bonding practice, then your conscious ‘want to’ will prevail.Julie Andrews said that “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” And that’s exactly how I feel about it.

How often have you said to yourself, “I have to take the time to do some Inner Bonding,” or “I’d better do my Inner Bonding work.”

If this is what you hear yourself say, it is your wounded self, trying to have control over getting you to do something that you think you ‘should’ do. Your wounded self sees Inner Bonding as a chore, something you ‘have to’ do to be okay. When this is your mindset about doing your inner work, then you might find yourself in resistance, because another aspect of your wounded self hates being told what you ‘should’ or ‘have to’ do.

The wounded self misses the point. Just as a diligent practice of playing the piano eventually gives you the freedom to play spontaneously, or the diligent practice of running gives you the freedom to run in a marathon, the diligent practice of Inner Bonding gives you the freedom to take loving care of yourself, bring yourself joy, and share your love with others.

The secret to letting go of the resistance and the resulting procrastination to practicing loving yourself – or practicing anything – is about finding the place within your heart that consciously wants the freedom and fullness that practicing Inner Bonding gives to you. As long as your mindset is focused on ‘have to’ rather than ‘want to,’ you will likely find yourself procrastinating loving yourself enough to clear out the muck from your wounded self.

‘Have to’ generally comes from your wounded self, while a conscious ‘want to’ comes from your heart and soul. Your loving adult then takes the actions to bring about what you want.

The problem comes in when you believe that you want to do something, but you find yourself procrastinating. When this is the case, you need to explore more deeply, to discover the underlying subconscious ‘want to’ of your wounded self that is causing your resistance.

For example, you might say to yourself, “I want to do an Inner Bonding practice every morning for 15 minutes so that I can heal the false beliefs that are limiting me. I want to clear out the muck in my life.” You do it for a day or two, but then it starts to fall by the wayside. When this is the case, it is because there is a deeper, subconscious ‘want to.’ Perhaps your deeper ‘want to’ is “I want to avoid the painful feelings that might come up during an Inner Bonding exploration,” or “I want to sleep a little longer,” or “I want to get things on my to-do list done,” or “I want to avoid the failure of not doing it ‘right.’” There could be many other deeper subconscious ‘want tos’ that are getting in the way of your conscious ‘want to.’

This conscious ‘want to’ is not in your mind – it is in your heart and soul. Your wounded-self lower left-brain mind may continue to find many reasons to procrastinate. If you allow your mind to be in charge, rather than your heart and soul, you will likely continue to stay stuck with the muck in various aspects of your life.

Discovering the ‘want tos’ of your heart and soul really does lead to freedom, joy, and the ability to share love.

In relationships, who does what chores are often the focus point of conflict. Yet when each partner or roommate is focused on loving themselves and being loving to the other person, chores, like the chore of mucking the stall, can become a vehicle of connection.

One of the major complaints I hear from my clients who are married is around the issue of chores. I can tell you from my own 30-year marriage that the issue of chores was a big deal in leading to the end of the marriage. It was the issue that broke the camel’s back.

What happened was that my ex-husband wanted to have our big Thanksgiving dinner at our home instead of at my parents’ home, and I was all for it – IF he promised to help. My experience in the past was that I ended up doing all the work and was too tired to enjoy the dinner, whereas when it was at my parents’ home, I knew that my father was an equal contributor regarding family events. My ex readily promised to help, but on the day of the dinner, he did nothing. “You promised to help if we had the dinner,” I said. “I need your help.” He smirked at me, as if to say, “gotcha,” going into his usual resistance, and walked away. I felt crushed, and my inner child was upset with me that I had believed him when he so often either forgot what he had said or went into resistance.

That’s the day I moved out of our bedroom and into my upstairs art loft. “I’m not going to spend any more time with you until you can be loving and caring toward me for three months,” I told him. In the past he could do it for a week or so and then would go back to being angry and resistant. I gave him two years to learn to be loving, caring, and respectful toward me, and he never did, so our marriage ended.

Of course, the issue around chores wasn’t our only problem, but it was indicative of the underlying issues, which were a lack of caring and respect toward me, and often treating me with anger, withdrawal, sarcasm, and projection – followed by the crazy-making of denying that he was doing these things and blaming me instead. And, of course, I was an equal participant in this system with my caretaking, giving myself up and accepting his and others’ unloving behavior toward me, so I was equally responsible for the problems. Just as his anger and resistance were his forms of control, my compliance was my form of control.

I was very ill at the time, and I didn’t realize that I was sick due the deep depletion of giving myself up. It was only when I started to practice Inner Bonding that I realize that I needed to heal my end of our system in order to know whether our marriage could be saved. Unless there is physical or emotional abuse, I often advise clients who may want to leave their relationship to stay and heal their end of the relationship system first before deciding to leave. Often changing their end of the system changes the relationship in very positive ways and even if it doesn’t, they won’t take their self-abandonment and resulting controlling behavior into another relationship.

I’m so glad that I did my Inner Bonding work before the relationship ended. 

Do you know that doing chores together can help create intimacy?

Recent research indicates that couples who do chores together, rather than one person doing more chores, or splitting the chores, have more emotional and physical intimacy. Doing chores alone can sometimes be lonely, while doing them together can be a time of fun, sharing and affection, and it certainly makes the time go by faster when you are doing the dishes together rather than doing them alone. Sharing chores may be especially important when you have children, because it’s often hard to find time to get together to talk about your day or share your feelings with each other.

While the research shows that couples who do chores together have better marriages, I wonder if the underlying truth is that couples who enjoy being together and have good marriages find that they enjoy doing chores together. Is the doing of chores together the cause of their intimacy or the result of it? More research would need to be done to determine this.

Regardless of which comes first, I would think that couples who do chores together have a better chance at feeling connected with each other than those who don’t. Not only does it give you some time together, but it also prevents both the resentment of one person doing too many of the chores, and the loneliness of doing chores alone.

If you are not doing chores together with your partner or roommate, you might consider seeing if the other person is willing to do this with you. It’s certainly easier to muck your house together!

If you are not in a relationship or not living with a roommate or as a Golden Girl as we live, then consider using your chores as a form of meditation. You might find that learning to get present and meditate during your household chores makes it easier to practice Inner Bonding to muck out the pooh from the false, self-limiting beliefs of your wounded self. I often find that when I’m doing a fairly mindless task, like mucking the stall or washing dishes, I can tune into my higher guidance and receive loving energy and important information. I get energized rather than depleted when doing a chore along with my higher guidance!

I encourage you to shift your intent from avoiding facing the past and present pain of the muck in your life, to learning how to compassionately heal the pain through your Inner Bonding practice, so that you can live a life of joy, freedom, sharing love, and manifesting your dreams. You will find that being able to co-create with spirit and manifest your dreams becomes a reality as you have the courage to clear out the low frequency of the muck in your life that comes from your intent to control, avoid, and protect against pain, and bring in the high frequency of love, compassion, and truth.

You can learn to clear out the muck in your life with my 30-day home study course, “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

You can learn to clear out the muck in your relationships and Heal your relationships with my 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.

You can learn to do this with your higher guidance with my 30-day video course, Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom.

My recent books will also be a big help to you: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance,  Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process.

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

©Dr. Margaret Paul, 2022

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S2 EP106 – Animals Are Mirrors

Episode Summary

Whether or not you have pets or other animals in your life, you can learn much about yourself from how animals react to you, and you can learn much about others from how their pets react to others. Discover the many good reasons for having animals in your life and how they can contribute much to your physical and mental health.

Transcript

Hi everyone. I’m Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast. And today I want to talk about how horses and dogs and cats and other animals can be a mirror for us. Since both Dr. Erika Chopich and I are animal lovers, I picked Erika’s brain about this topic.

 “There’s an old saying that says if you want to know who someone is, look at their dog.” Erika said. I asked her to say more about that. “Well, if the dog is anxious and nervous, it’s likely that so is the person. If the dog has no affect and doesn’t come to you or want to interact with you, that might be telling you something about the owner. Often, they’re either harsh or they don’t connect to the dog and taught it not to connect. It tells you a little bit about who the owner is if the dog loves people and runs to people and wants to sit with somebody visiting in your home. There’s an openness that might from the owner, so you’re likely dealing with an open person. If a dog does run to somebody, they feel safe, they’re trusting, and that’s often coming from the owner. Sometimes it’s the breed, but it can also be coming from how they’re being treated by the owner. They might mirror the owner’s ability to connect. If the dog is aggressive, that too often comes from the owner. If the dog is very protective of the owner, that’s a sign of loyalty, which generally doesn’t come from an owner who’s closed in their heart. So, it’s often a mirror for the relationship and how open or closed that person’s heart is.”

“Of course,” I said, “it also depends on the breed and whether the animal was a rescue and had been abused.”

“Right” she said, “While we have seen amazing results with dogs, cats, and horses when they are in a loving home after being abused, this isn’t always the case. We have a rescue dog, Pippin, who has always been sweet but very was fearful of people coming to the house when we got him. Now he’s almost always very friendly, unless he picks up someone’s fear, and then he walks away. When someone comes in the house for the first time, Pippin will either run right up to them, instantly trusting them, and flip over and do his little ‘please scratch my chest,’ or he’ll actually slink away. It’s an act of submission when he shows his belly to you. He’s saying, ‘you’re safe so you can rub my belly.’ He can read them right away and decide whether this is somebody that’s good for him to be with or not.

“The same can be true of cats,” Erika went on to say. “Our cat, Magic, was feral when we got her, but now she wants petting and she purrs and rubs up against almost everyone who comes to the house. Aloof cats can reflect the breed, but they can also reflect an aloof owner. My sister’s cats would hide. They didn’t want to be petted and they didn’t want to interact, and my sister was very closed. But if somebody picks up a string and plays with Magic, she’s in love with them. My sister acted open, but she wasn’t open, and the animals can pick it up and they mirror it right back. Magic wants to go out in the barn with the barn crew to be with everybody. For a feral cat that’s a lot of healing and change. Look what happens when the UPS guy comes to our door! She runs to greet him and then jumps in his truck! She is not a feral cat anymore. She is a cat that loves and appreciates people.

“But I think that it really shows up even more with horses, which is what equine therapy is all about. Equine therapy starts when you put somebody in the round pen with a horse and say, ‘Without using the horse’s name, see if you get the horse to come to you.’  They might be scared, or they might pull on the horse for love, wanting the horse to love them to feel okay about themselves, or they might be controlling with the horse, and the horse will back right up the moment they do that. It’s in their energy. I’m telling them, ‘Don’t talk to the horse, use your energy to bring the horse to you,’ and that’s diagnostic. The moment I see how they are with the horse. I see their transference to the horse regarding one or both parents. Either they’re afraid that big looming animal is going to hurt them, or they don’t know how to connect, or they don’t know how to use their love to bring the horse to them, or if they’re very controlling people, the horse will back up, or the horse will come right to them because their energy is loving and open – again mirroring where the person is. So, it’s diagnostically invaluable to just put a person in a round pen and see what the human does. The horse knows what it’s doing, and generally the human doesn’t.

“So, the horse is mirroring the intention of the person immediately. The horse picks it up. Like when we’ve interviewed people to work in the barn and I take them out to meet the horses – I always do that because the horse is either going to reach out and touch that person or they’ll turn their head away or they’ll give them their butt. Animals mirror our intention. This tells me an enormous amount about whether I should hire this person. The horses always know. The horse reflects even more than a dog. They’re intensely sensitive, mirroring it right back at you. I’ve seen needy people reach for the horse’s face, essentially saying ‘love me love me,’ and the horse turns away. If your energy is saying to the horse, “You’re beautiful and I admire you and I respect what and who you are,’ the horse has a different experience and, if this horse has been loved by the owner, it will come right to you.

“It’s like that with people. You can bet that what’s going on in the round pen is what they’re doing in their relationships. It’s diagnostic in terms of who they’re choosing to be in the world.

“Horses are such natural healers. They can read you like a book. Even if you try to hide your feelings, they see right through you. They’ll figure out what it is you need and that’s what they’ll give you. I’ve seen it a million times in the barn. And the horse has an inner child, like when you see Obi (who is one of our American Miniatures) playing, or the pranks that Stryder (who was my horse who passed away) would play on me and laugh. You see it in Leia – that’s what happy buck is about. She’s playing and she’s happy and her inner child comes out. They have a deep capacity for love and being protective. It’s about a person’s ability to join that herd like I do when I lay in the grass with them. I become a horse and I meet them halfway and what I get in return is tenfold. It’s like in a relationship when you either meet somebody in an open way, or with your expectation of how they should be.

“When horses lower their head near you, they already trust. They already get you. It’s different with horses because they are prey and we’re predators. Dogs and cats are also predators, but the horse is different, and you have to be able to cross that barrier. You’re going to have a really bad relationship if you act like a predator with a horse. I don’t sneak up behind them. I talk to them when I approach them. I give them a horsey handshake, which is that I put my closed hand to their nose so they can smell me. I never act like a predator near horses because if you do, they’re going to turn around and walk away from you or trot away from you or buck away from you. They know the difference. The horse has been on the planet like 4,000,000 years longer than humans and they have evolved and grown into the modern horse by being savvy about what they sense. That’s how they’ve stayed alive so long on the planet. Their nonverbal communication is actually beyond ours. We can learn from them, and they can be great mirrors and healers to us when we meet them on that level that says I am not a predator.”

Erika went on to say that even people who don’t have any desire to own a horse or ride a horse can learn so much by attending a therapeutic equine course. Some of the horses at therapeutic equine centers are extroverts and they’ll come right to you and assess you, and some horses are introverts and take some time to know you. How the person handles this says a lot about the person. Does the person take it personally and feel rejected by the horse? If you put the person in the round pen and the horse doesn’t come to them, do they feel rejected, or get angry, or is the person saying I can’t do this, or are they just so shut down the horse can’t even connect to them? Or do they just respect that they need to take their time and that a well-trained horse won’t come into your personal space until they’re invited, and you invite them with your energy.”

A horse who isn’t that well trained might come into your space and be kind of curious, but also little bit skeptical about the whole thing, until you show them who you are. Are you a predator? Are you going to hurt me, or do you understand me? The quickest way to overcome that is to speak horse. I teach that in the barn. How you speak horse? First, I teach the horsey handshake so they can sniff you, like when two horses come together, they’ll sniff each other’s muzzle. I’m being a horse at that moment. I don’t reach for the face. I reach for the withers and scratch them on the withers because out in the pasture, two horses standing in opposite directions are reaching over and grooming each other on the withers. That’s how they greet and make friends and I want to be a horse, so I do that, and those little, tiny things I do tell the horse I’m not a predator, I’m like you, so we have a commonality from which to build the relationship.” Erika paused and I jumped in.

“That’s kind of like what a lot of people are trying to do with the issue of racism,’ I said, “really getting with who somebody is and joining them rather than deciding that this person is too different than me to get to really know them.”

“Right,” said Erika. And then she continued. “You can beat any animal into obedience, but you can’t have partnership that way. Just like with people, there’s a huge difference between obedience and partnership. The key is to never force a horse or any animal. I get them to want to do it with me. Don’t forget that the animals, unless they’ve been badly abused, are already spiritually connected and if you can kind of put that spirituality between you and the animal, that’s a commonality that helps increase the bond and the trust and the love. So, if a person can’t do that with their own dog, they’re probably a bad candidate for a relationship. We know people whose horses are aloof and won’t engage with you because their owners are disconnected, and we know of others whose horses immediately lean forward and perk their ears to connect to you. And if you look at these owners’ relationships, you can see this same thing reflected.

“Horses want the same thing we want in a relationship – trust and love and kindness – constant kindness without wanting anything in return or wanting to use my kindness to control somebody else. In a relationship, it’s about supporting what the other person’s goal is while also being kind to yourself.”

Erika went on to talk about when we were invited to swim with the show dolphins at marineland in Los Angeles. “We were told that they like to have their tongue scratched. The first thing we noticed when we got in the water is they were skeptical, like horses are skeptical. Then they swam right up to us and opened that big mouth up and all you could see was a big tongue and lots and lots of teeth, and what they were asking was, ‘Are you are you going to scratch my tongue? Are you going to trust me? Are you going to give to me?’ When you’re brave enough to put your hand in there and scratch the tongue, everything changes. They started bonding to us right away. Then the play came out and they were retrieving the ball for us and they took us for a ride on their dorsal fins one, in each hand, and then they did that amazing vortex. They gave us that gift of healing where we were in the swirling water in the vortex when they were in the diamond formation. And they kept swimming around and poking at our knees because they thought that was our sex organ. Their intention was to connect with us. If you carry that intention into your relationship and your partner has the same intention, you will have a successful relationship. The dolphins’ inner children came out immediately to play with us as soon as they trusted there was equality and partnership, that there was openness and courage on our part to reach in that mouth and scratch that tongue and stroke them and love on them. In the water they’re huge and powerful and they’re intimidating, and yet you have to come forward from your higher self so they can recognize it, and then the inner child came out.”

Erika went on to talk about dog training. “If you want to train a puppy, you will be much more successful if you come from your loving adult than from your wounded self. People who train with choke chains and things like that – that’s obedience training and it has nothing to do with partnership. People who train with the clicker, that’s behaviorism and still has nothing to do with partnership. If you train with the six steps of Inner Bonding – staying tuned in to yourself, your guidance and your puppy and training from love, you’ve got a partner for life.

“Then there are the people who have no personal boundaries and let their animals hurt them. They are indulging the animal’s wounded self. We can see this same lack of loving boundaries in their relationships and their parenting. Also, if a dog or cat is fat or unhealthy, then it’s likely that the owner is too. Many people don’t take loving care of themselves, and this is often reflected in how they take care of their animals,” Erika concluded.

I love picking Erika’s brain!

And now I want to say more about the gift of animals and what they add to our lives.

Anatole France said that, “Until a person has loved an animal a part of the soul remains unawakened.”

People who love animals know that there are many very good reasons to have animals in your life.

Animals who have been loved, love back in a pure and profound way – a way that awakens a part of your soul like nothing else can. When Pippin greets me after I’ve been gone a short time, I am overwhelmed with his wiggles and kisses! When I walk into our barn to feed the horses and they nicker to me, my heart melts. No walls, no manipulations. Just pure love. How can that not awaken a deep part of the soul?

Having this aspect of your soul awakened is just one aspect of why having animals in your life is profound. A few years back I read a great book called Zen Mind, Zen Horse, by Allan J. Hamilton, MD. Dr. Hamilton is a renowned brain surgeon, as well as a renowned horse trainer. He uses his experience with his horses as his spiritual path. As Erika talked about, horses help us to learn to be fully present, not only because they are fully present, but because they react negatively when we are in our head rather than in our heart. Dr. Hamilton stated that, “The quiet, gentle way of the horse encourages us to hear the music that follows after we learn to silence our ego’s voice.” He goes on to say that “The horse brings us its uncanny ability to peel our egos back, to strip the layers away like an onion, until we find ourselves awkwardly naked and vulnerable. But the horse also shows us the joy that comes from living with the bare truth of our selves. What a gift that is.” P. 287

One of the things I’ve learned to do when I’m being challenged with life is to turn to my animals. My highly sensitive system is easily jangled when a lot is coming at me at once, and my animals have been such a help with this. Cuddling Pippin, our soft and oh-so-sweet little Havanese, is a balm for my soul. His cuteness makes me smile and brings me back into the moment. Same with our cat, Magic, who talks to me and lets me know when she wants to be picked up or when she wants “noogies”: and ear and belly scratches. For many years, my animals have helped me get centered, connected and back into my joy. There is so much love and joy in dogs and cats and I absorb that when I hug them. What a gift!

There are good reasons that dogs and some other animals, such as miniature horses, are used therapeutically. Many dogs and horses, and some cats and other small animals, are very sensitive to our emotions. When they feel us hurting, they sweetly and gently come to comfort us. Many times, when I’ve been sad, Pippin has come and curled up next to me to give me his love and comfort. I find wrapping my arms around his little body and nuzzling in his soft coat to be very comforting and healing.

But it’s only in the last fifteen years, since I’ve had horses, that I’ve experienced what a horse can do for my soul.

When I’ve had a challenging day and my nerves feel a bit frayed, I go to our horse, Leia, and put my arms across her back while I lean into her big strong body. It may sound strange, but I bury my face in her coat and smell her.

The first time I did this with my first horse, Stryder, I was shocked at what happened. Instantly, my whole system calmed down. I’m not really sure why, but there is something about the energy and smell of a horse that calms my system more than anything else I’ve ever experienced. It’s not anything Stryder was doing – usually he was completely absorbed in eating and may not have even been aware of me at that moment. It was something about his being.

I know I’m not the only one who responds this way with horses. I shared my experience with friends and clients, and others who have horses, and they have said they have the same experience, and others who have visited us and our horses also had a similar experience. There is a peace that exudes from horses who are well-loved that is beyond description.

Many times, when I feel my body dysregulated for some reason, I go to the barn and lean against Leia’s big body, burying my face in her coat and smelling her wonderful horse smell. Immediately, I feel my whole body relax and regulate to her steady breathing. She stands perfectly still when I do this, knowing that I need her calmness and steadiness at that moment. Once I’ve breathed in her healing energy, I come around to her face and she gives me a big wet loving kiss!

Animals not only aid in emotional health, they also help with physical health.

In her excellent book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome,” Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride states that one of the top ten influences that boost health and immunity is “Contact with animals: horses, dogs, etc.”

We don’t generally think of having animals as a way of boosting immunity, but I can tell you from personal experience that they do. Animals help our immune system by exposing us to microbes that support our health.

Exposure to animals can bring in a variety of germs and bacteria that prompt the body’s natural immune system, strengthening our ability to protect against certain diseases. Children who grow up on farms rarely have the same allergies and illness problems that city kids have. That’s one reason Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends pets among the 10 things that contribute to good health.

Another way our dog Pippin contributes to my health is that every morning – rain, snow, or sun – he looks at me with yearning eyes and puts a picture into my mind – a picture of our morning walk. So every morning, unless it’s raining or snowing hard, I walk Pippin up and down hills for half an hour. He happily pees, poops, and sniffs while I huff and puff, but I’m grateful that his longing eyes urge me to have my daily exercise. I just can’t let him down.

While animals do take time, money and care, they give back so much. If you don’t have a pet in your life, you might want to reconsider your choice. It could be great for your physical and mental health, and what could be better than all that love!

I hope you join me for me 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about creating connection from my recent books: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance,  Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process.

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

©Dr. Margaret Paul, 2022

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S2 EP105 – Attracting the Love of Your Life

Episode Summary

Most people who are not in a relationship want to attract a loving relationship, but often find themselves, over and over, attracting a needy, unloving, or unavailable partner. Discover what you need to do to attract a loving and available partner – a partner who is not needy, who is emotionally available, and who is available for a commitment.

Transcript

Hi everyone, this is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding Podcast, and today I will be talking about attracting the love of your life.

One of the first things you need to do to attract your loving partner, is to write down what you want. You need to be very clear on what you want, because you can’t attract what you want if you don’t know what you want. Very often, when I work with my clients who are looking for a partner, I ask them to write a list and keep adding to it, of exactly what they want in a partner. Part of manifesting is to be able to tune in to what you really want.

And then, what’s even more important, is to look at that list and see if you have the qualities that you are looking for in someone else. For you to find the love of your life you need to become what you are looking for. You can’t expect to attract the kind of person you want without first being the kind of person you want.

And of course, this is where Inner Bonding comes in to heal whatever is in the way for you of becoming the kind of person that you want to meet. As I’ve often said, we attract each other at our common level of woundedness or our common level of health, which means our common level of self-abandonment or our common level of self-love. If you’re abandoning yourself in many different ways, you’re going to attract someone who’s also abandoning themselves in many ways.

So here’s some examples. If you’re a needy person, then you’re likely to attract a person who is a caretaker, because caretakers are generally attracted to people who need them, and needy people are often attracted to caretakers, and that’s called a codependent relationship. You’re both coming from a similar frequency of self-abandonment. And what happens in that relationship is that the care-taking person never does it right enough for the needy person, because the emptiness of the needy person is like a bucket with a hole in it that can be filled only with self-love. As long as the needy person is abandoning themselves, they will likely be angry that the care-taking person isn’t doing it well enough. Meanwhile, the caretaker is expecting that if they care enough, they’re going to get back love and when they don’t, they’re likely to be resentful.

If you’re a healthy and personally responsible person, you’re not going to be attracted to a needy demanding person, nor are you going to be attracted to a caretaker. Both people in this system are actually needy, but the taker is overt in the way they try to control getting love, attention, and approval, while caretaking is a covert form of trying to have control over getting loved.

If you think about it, it makes sense that a healthy person just isn’t going to be attracted to somebody who’s abandoning themselves and being needy, being codependent, being a caretaker, being demanding – that someone who is loving themselves and taking responsibility for themselves emotionally and likely in other areas, such as financially, physically, and organizationally, is not going to find an emotionally self-abandoning person someone they can connect with. If you are a person who has not dealt with your fears of rejection and your fears of engulfment, then you might find yourself attracting an unavailable or very demanding person. If you have a deep fear of engulfment, of losing yourself, you’re probably not going to be attracted to a really available person because that’s going to trigger your fears. Being afraid of rejection and of engulfment translates into a fear of intimacy or a fear of commitment. So you’re likely going to attract somebody who also has a fear of intimacy or a fear of commitment. This why it’s so important for you do your inner work.

The fears of engulfment and rejection come from self-abandonment. When you’re loving yourself and you’ve developed your loving adult self, you’re not going to take rejection personally. You’re going to recognize that when people are rejecting, they’re coming from their own fears and that it’s not about there being anything wrong with you. So you’re not going to give yourself up and allow yourself to be controlled in order to avoid rejection. When you develop your loving adult, which is what the practice of Inner Bonding does, then these fears of rejection and fears of engulfment start to get healed, and you come from a much more present and a much more powerful place. You have a higher frequency, which means that you are much more filled up with love inside rather than coming from fear. Fear, and other wounded feelings such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, jealousy, and emptiness, have a low frequency.  Like attracts like, so like frequency attracts like frequency.

If you want to attract somebody who’s a loving and open person, you need to become a loving and open person. It’s likely not going to be possible for you to attract somebody who’s open and loving if you’re closed and afraid. And so, if you want to attract your beloved, it becomes very important for you to be doing your inner work and become that loving, open person who is filled with love and not coming from the fear that’s there when you’re abandoning yourself.

The more you learn to take emotional responsibility, physical responsibility, spiritual, organizational, financial, and relationship responsibility, the easier time you’re going to have attracting a similar person. Now I doubt that anybody sets out to attract somebody who’s not personally responsible. You don’t say, okay, I’m going to go find a partner and my ideal partner is somebody who doesn’t take care of themselves physically, who doesn’t take care of themselves financially, who doesn’t take care of their health and wellbeing, who is needy and controlling. Nobody sets out to attract a person like that. But you do attract people like that when that’s you. And that’s why it’s so important for you to be doing your inner work and learn to make yourself happy now, before you get into a relationship, rather than to make being in a relationship responsible for your happiness.

Research indicates that happy people meet other happy people and create happy relationships, and unhappy people either do not meet somebody or meet another unhappy person and create an unhappy relationship. If you’re a person who’s saying, “I can’t be happy until I’m in a relationship or until I get married, or until I have children, then you’re not taking responsibility for yourself. You’re making somebody else responsible. You’re making that partner that you imagine coming into your life responsible for whether or not you’re happy. And again, that’s called a codependent relationship.

So I really encourage you if you want to attract the love of your life, become the love of your life. Become your own best friend.

That doesn’t mean that you need to be completely healed. That’s just not realistic. Relationships are an incredible arena to learn and grow, to learn to take care of yourself and share your love. But if your intention is to get love and to get somebody else to make you feel okay, you’re going to be very disappointed because relationships don’t work well that way. Again, I’m not talking about being completely healed, but to be on the path of reaching a point where you’re not so afraid of rejection or engulfment, where you’re open to intimacy, where you’re open to learning, where you’re open to dealing with conflict as it comes up, where you’re not so afraid of losing yourself or losing your partner, where your happiness is not dependent on somebody else, where your sense of self and your sense of safety is not dependent on somebody else.

You don’t have to be there a hundred percent, but you need to be on the road. You need to be on the path of healing in order to meet somebody who is also on the path of healing, who also is open, who also wants to utilize a relationship to continue the healing journey and to learn to share love rather than getting into a relationship just to get love.

My client, Lisa, told me that she didn’t have a supportive family upbringing, and didn’t grow up believing that there was a higher power that loves and supports her, so she doesn’t know how to bring that love into herself. As a result, she realized that she was abandoning herself and that she attracted men who kept leaving her. She wanted to know how she could grow in learning to love herself and know that she’s loved by her guidance. She said she wanted to learn to do this without being religious, because she didn’t like a lot of the religion that she had been exposed to.

I said to her that I completely understood because I was brought up the same way without support and without any religion or spirituality. My parents were atheists, so I didn’t have any kind of background in connecting with a higher source of love. I had to find it myself, and this is where Inner Bonding is so powerful. If you truly open to learning about what is loving to you, what is true for you, what is in your highest good, if in your heart you really want to know and you really want to take loving actions for yourself, and you ask those questions about any given situation, even if you’re asking them of the air, you will start to get answers. Lots of times I recommend people to just imagine an older, wiser part of yourself, like you 500 years older than you – very wise, loving, and powerful, and most people can imagine this. Lisa said she could imagine this.

I asked her to imagine that her older wiser self, her higher self, is always accessible to her. One of the things that I find helpful in terms of accessing spiritual guidance is to get an image of your soul. The soul is actually very big, way too big to fit into your body. A part of your soul is in your body, and that part is what we call in Inner Bonding your essence or your inner child. And that part often communicates through your feelings. The rest of your soul is all around your body, like this big light all around your body. And that part communicates through your mind through words and images that pop into your mind, and through dreams and sometime through what you read, or through something others say to you, or something you hear yourself say to others. So if you imagine your older, wiser self is surrounding you like this big light, then you don’t have to have any kind of concept of God to access the information you need – if your intent is to learn about loving yourself.

Lisa said that she believed in God but had never trusted God because she thought God was like her parents. She really liked the idea of imagining her older, wiser higher soul.

As Lisa practiced Inner Bonding and learned to love herself, she started to attract men who were open and caring. It took time, but she eventually met her beloved.

Sarah, one of the participants in my Attracting Your Beloved 30-Day course, gave the following testimonial:

“I wanted to thank you for the Attract your Beloved course – I learnt so much from that course & from your previous courses. Over time it’s been changing my relationship with myself & others in such an amazing way. 

“I’ve also met my beloved. He first contacted me while I was doing your Attract your Beloved course, but I didn’t recognize our potential as a couple initially because I was hung up on immediate chemistry. Over time I noticed he had a lot of the characteristics you discussed in the course. We became a couple on 24 December last year & on a trip to Hawaii last month he proposed to me. I’ve never experienced unconditional love from a partner before, it’s feels solid & safe. I’m so privileged to have him in my life & without your words of advice I wouldn’t have given him a proper chance. Thank you so much.

“I don’t know where life will lead & I’ve got plenty more learning to do but I’m so grateful to have felt this love & to know what a relationship can be like. It’s also helping me tap into a deeper love for myself too & for everything around us.

“Thank you so much for being a pivotal part of this journey towards love.”

Sarah is just one of the many participants in my course who let me know that they attracted their beloved during or after the course.

One of the issues that many people need to heal is to attract their beloved is the feeling of shame. It took me many years to understand my shame and to heal it.

When we were little and if we were not loved in the way that we needed to be loved – if we were judged, neglected, ignored, rejected, abused, and hurt in different ways, we needed to find a way to manage this deep pain. When we were rejected in any way, we felt shattered. We felt crushed. We felt heartbroken, but we were too little to manage feeling all those deeply painful feelings of life. So, we found ways to numb them out. And one way we learned is to shame ourselves, because shame is much easier to handle than heartbreak and feeling crushed and shattered.

Almost all of us who suffered pain as children decided that the reason we were not being loved is because there was something wrong with us. And that was actually a kind of life saving decision, because if we would’ve understood as little children that our parents just didn’t know how to love us, we might not have survived that. It’s very rare for a little child to get that “I’m okay. But my parents have no idea how to love me. And I’m stuck here for 18 years.” That’s devastating, so what we did, what I did, and what everybody I work with did, is we decided that it’s our fault.

Deciding that there’s something wrong with us and that’s why we’re not being loved is the beginning of feeling shame, and the basis of the wounded self. The wounded self is based on the concept that there’s something wrong with me, and what this does is it gives us a sense of control. It’s such a helpless feeling to be this little child and for your parents to be unloving or abusive. So when you shame yourself and you tell yourself that there’s something wrong with you, that gives you some hope of control, because then you can say to yourself, “If I change, if I do this right, or I do that right, or I act this way or that way, then maybe I’ll get the love that I need. If I stop being who I am and learn to be the way they want me to be, then maybe I can at least avoid pain.” So we go about putting a lid on our true self, which we’ve decided isn’t good enough, and we develop our false self – our wounded self. The wounded self would rather feel shame, which we are causing, than feel the heartbreak and helplessness of others’ unloving behavior.

Over time, we become addicted to the control that we think this gives us. Like if somebody rejects you, instead of feeling the heartbreak, you judge yourself, and self-judgment is what creates the feeling of shame, telling ourselves the lies that “It’s my fault because not good enough, so I can change and then I can have of control over how others feel about me and treat me.” So at this point, as an adult, shame is very tied in with control – with controlling your deeper feelings, and with controlling how other people feel about you and treat you.

When you are willing to accept the truth – that there never was anything wrong with your beautiful soul, that it wasn’t your fault that you weren’t loved or were abused, and that you don’t have control over how others feel about you and treat you, then judging yourself no longer serves a purpose and shame gets healed.

The more you practice Inner Bonding and learn to see, value, and love your true self, instead of allowing your wounded self to judge and shame you, the more you’re able to let go of the illusion of control over others, and the more you learn to lovingly manage the deeper painful feelings of life that you had to avoid as a child.

It’s when you stop judging and shaming yourself, and stop trying to have control over getting love, and start learning to take loving care of your feelings, that you will find yourself being able to attract your beloved.

One of the things that so important to accept in dating is that you get what you see. Many of my clients whose relationships are not working knew before getting into the relationship that the person had behaviors that were not tolerable to them.

For example, the person was a smoker and smoking was not acceptable to them, or the person was a heavy drinker and this was not acceptable to them, or the person would get very angry and not deal with it, or the person didn’t take care of themselves physically such as not brushing their teeth or not showering, or that the person kept losing jobs, or that the person lied, and so on, but they married the person believing that if they loved that person enough, that person would change. Now the marriage is falling apart because none of these things changed. So please accept that if you don’t like what you see, move on. Don’t kid yourself that your love will get the person to change. Only their love for themselves will bring about change, and you have no control over whether they ever want to learn to love themselves.

I want to stress that if you want to create a loving relationship, first you need to create a loving inner relationship between your loving adult, your inner child, and your higher guidance. You need to learn how to quiet the loud voice of your wounded self and listen to the quiet voice of your higher guidance. When you put your wounded self in charge, you will likely continue to judge yourself as a major way the wounded self tries to control. When we judge ourselves, it can make it very hard to manifest what we want in life and in our relationships. So I want to encourage you to start with noticing your self-judgments without judging yourself for judging yourself. Just notice. And when you work with Inner Bonding and you notice the judgements, then you can open to learning with your higher guidance about what the truth is, and you can learn to bring in the truth rather than continue to operate from the lies of the wounded self.

The more you take loving actions based on the truth, the more you heal your fears and false beliefs that keep you from attracting your beloved.

Your wounded self might like to tell you that you will always be alone, but remember, the wounded self knows nothing. It cannot predict the future and it has no access to truth. You can attract your beloved, and learning to love yourself is the place to start.

I hope you join me in my 30-Day at-home Course: “Attracting your Beloved: A 30-Day At-home Experience to Learn How to Attract the Love of your Life.”

As well as for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: and my 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.

My recent books will also be a big help to you: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance,  Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process.

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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