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S2 EP188 – Does “What if….?” Stop You? Try Surrender Instead

Episode Summary

When you are acting out in ways that are unloving to you and to others, your wounded self is in charge. Learn how do you stop indulging your wounded self. Do you sometimes wonder if what you are hearing is actually from your guidance? Are you afraid that if you surrender to your spiritual guidance, you will be controlled by your guidance, lose your motivation, be taken advantage of or feel even more alone? Discover what really happens when you surrender!


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding Podcast. Today I’m speaking about some of the things your wounded self says that might be stopping you from manifesting your gifts and doing what brings you joy, and what you can do about this.

One of the most common questions the wounded self seems to ask when you are planning to do something new and exciting is, “What if…”

For example, a client of mine was planning to move from New York to Oregon. He was leaving a high-paying job without knowing if he could get a comparable job in Oregon, even though he was highly skilled and had never had a problem finding a good job. His wounded self was relentless:

“What if we can’t find a job? What if we end up on the streets? What if we don’t make friends?” On and on his wounded self went, scaring him so badly and he almost didn’t move. But what actually happened is that he got a better job, loved his new location, met the love of his life, got married and has children, which is what he always wanted. Fortunately, he surrendered to his excitement rather than listening to the voice of fear. 

Another client is planning to move from a foreign country that has no taxes to another country that does have taxes. She is very excited, as moving to the new country has been a dream of hers. Again, she is highly skilled and will have no problems getting a new job, but her wounded self keeps saying, “What if we end up being poor.” Fortunately, she decided not to listen to her wounded self and is planning on moving.

Often, when I work with clients who have done their inner work but are still miserable in their relationship and want to leave, their wounded self comes in with, “What if we never meet someone else? What if we end up always being alone?”  The wounded self, being young, believes that you can’t be okay alone, and loves to predict the future, even though it has no access to a source of truth. It’s all about being safe, and to the wounded self, the status quo is safer than taking any kind of risk. Yet your excitement about something you want to do is a much better predictor of truth than the fear generated by your wounded self.   

Often, clients of mine who are dating and meet someone they like and feel connected with, the “What if’s…” start. “What if he or she isn’t the right one for me? What if there is someone better for me?” Of course, listening to the wounded self generally leads to trying to figure things out rather than staying present and learning more about who this person really is. Listening to the “What if’s..” of your wounded self can hijack your inner knowing and bring about the very thing you are afraid of.

It’s vitally important to learn to set compassionate limits for your wounded self. We all have a wounded part that wants to act out in various addictive and controlling ways. Do you frequently indulge this part in destructive and self-destructive behaviors – overeating or eating junk food, drinking too much, using drugs, procrastinating, judging yourself and others, yelling at and blaming others, gambling, acting out sexually, and scaring you with “What if…”  Your wounded self may seem to be in charge of you, and it is when there is no loving adult around to set inner limits. Indulging your wounded self is definitely not in your highest good and can stop you from doing what you really want to do and what is loving to you.

I know I’ve shared this true story in a previous podcast, but I want to share it here again, because it so applies to setting appropriate limits for the wounded self. 

A woman brought her nine-year-old son to the great psychologist Erickson. Her son was completely out of control – stealing, breaking windows in the neighborhood and at school, and generally terrorizing the neighborhood. His mother had tried everything to gain some control over him, but nothing was working. Erickson told her what to do.

She took her son home and sat on him! She could see the TV, but he couldn’t. While she was sitting on him, she kept saying out loud, “The doctor told me that I have to sit on you until I can figure out what to do with you, and I just can’t figure it out.” She sat on him all day and he could get up only to go to the bathroom, eat and drink water. The next day she sat on him again, repeating what the doctor had told her to say. Finally, in the afternoon of the second day, the boy said, “I know what to do.” “You do? What?” said his mother. “Well, I need to give back the things I stole and pay for the windows I broke and stop doing things like that.” “What a great idea!” said his mother.

The boy did as he said he would and stopped terrorizing the neighborhood. Finally, someone bigger than him had set limits, which is exactly what he needed. He actually didn’t feel safe or loved as long as there was no one limiting his acting-out behavior. 

Our inner system is exactly the same. Our wounded self may seem to be big and out of control, but it’s really just a child or adolescent who needs limits. The only part of us big enough to set these limits and “sit” on this programmed wounded child or adolescent is our spiritually connected loving adult. We will not have the strength to set loving limits on ourselves by ourselves – we can do it only in connection with the power of our higher power. By ourselves, we are one wounded part trying to control another wounded part, which never works. With spirit, we have the strength and power to set inner limits and follow through on them.

We will never feel safe and loved until we develop a loving adult capable of setting inner limits. As long as we indulge our wounded self in addictive and controlling behavior and stopping ourselves with “What if…”, we will feel inwardly abandoned and anxious, and be unable to pursue what excites us and to manifest our dreams. So, instead of indulging your wounded self, practice sitting on him or her!

The challenge here is in having the loving adult in charge rather than the wounded self. This will occur only through practicing staying connected with your spiritual guidance throughout the day. The more you practice the six steps of Inner Bonding and develop the loving adult, the more power the adult has to limit the actions of the wounded self – who is, after all, just a child or adolescent trying to be safe. Imagine how safe you would feel if you had a powerful spiritually connected loving adult making the decisions regarding your highest good rather than your wounded self just trying to control!

Following your guidance rather than following the fears and false beliefs of your wounded self not only take practice, it takes an act of surrender.

But to many people, the word “surrender” sounds scary. When you surrender to your guidance, are you losing yourself or gaining yourself?

My clients often say things to me like:

“I’m afraid if I open to my guidance, I will be told that I have to do something I don’t want to do,” or “When I think about opening to God, I feel terrified, like I will just vanish,” or “I’m afraid that if I stop my self-judgments and open to guidance, I will just sit around all day, doing nothing and accomplishing nothing,” or, “I will be weak and easily taken advantage of,” or “I’m afraid if I open to guidance, I will discover that there is nothing there – that I am truly alone.”

Where does all this fear of surrender and letting go to guidance come from?

Our ego wounded self is naturally terrified of surrendering to guidance. Our wounded self just wants control over getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe. Our wounded self, which was our survival mechanism when we were young, is terrified that if we surrender and open to being guided by our guidance, we will lose ourselves.

The reason the wounded self believes that we will lose ourselves is because the wounded self believes that it is who you are. But this is completely untrue. The wounded self is our constructed, conditioned, false self. It is made up of the false beliefs that we absorbed as we were growing up. It is a fabrication that we created to try to feel safe and has nothing to do with who we really are. It is terrified of losing itself – of losing the control that it has tried so hard to develop all these years. The wounded self knows that if you open and surrender to your guidance as your source of information, it loses control that it believes it has. Since this is the last thing it wants, it tells you lies to stop you from opening.

So what really happens when you surrender? Far from losing yourself, you will gain yourself. You will discover who you really are – your essence, your true, core soul self. And the energy of the wounded self does not vanish. This energy, which has creatively managed to get you through your life so far, is now available for true creativity. The wounded self gets a new job!

Far from being told to do something you don’t want to do, you will become aware of what you do want to do – of what brings you joy. You will feel excited about your life and the “What ifs…” won’t stop you from pursuing your dreams.

Far from sitting around in bliss all day, you are filled with creativity and aliveness. You might be doing the same work, but now it is not from fear and the need for approval, but to express who you are. Rather than being less motivated, you become more motivated to fully express all that you are.

Far from being weak and easily taken advantage of, you move into your true power – the power to take loving care of yourself and to speak up for yourself and to take some risks to create a purposeful life. When you open to guidance and discover the incredible being that you are, you no longer need others approval to feel worthy and lovable. As a result, you no longer need to try to control others by giving yourself up.

Far from discovering that there is nothing there, you will discover that you are never alone. You will discover that your guidance is always here, always supporting you in your highest good, always letting you know each moment – through your feelings – when you are thinking and behaving in ways that support your highest good, and when you are off course.

When you choose to surrender to guidance, there is a loss, but it is not of your true self. When you surrender, you gain your self – your power, joy, peace, and ability to manifest your dreams. What you lose is your fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, judgmental-ness, and insecurity. Is this really a loss!?

Remember in the Wizard of Oz, the wicked witch wrote in the sky, “Surrender Dorothy!” Obviously, the witch wasn’t talking about the kind of surrender I’m talking about. She was talking about Dorothy surrendering to her darkness. You can surrender to the darkness of your wounded self or to lightness, peace, love, joy, and wisdom of your higher guidance. Dorothy did not surrender to the witch nor did the Scarecrow, the Lion, or the Tin Man. And, in being guided by his love for Dorothy, the Lion got his courage.

Golda Meir said “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” This is what happens when you open to and surrender to the wisdom of guidance rather than to the fear of the “What ifs…” of your wounded self.

When you give your guidance the reins of your life rather than your wounded self, then you can start to peel away and heal the layers of the wounded self.

Those of you who have been on a healing journey for a while know that healing is a process, not a destination. I often say it’s like peeling an infinite onion – we keep finding more and more layers of the ego wounded self.

Don’t despair because this is how it’s supposed to be. This is how it is for all of us.

We have all built up layers and layers of false beliefs and strategies to control our world, as part of surviving childhood. We further “perfect” these strategies in our adult relationships until something happens that lets us know things aren’t working. At some point – perhaps when you have everything you thought would make you happy and you still feel empty, alone, anxious, or depressed – you realize that something needs to change. Or perhaps you have problems finding a relationship, or problems with kids, or marital problems, or you become ill, and you realize that your life isn’t going to be fulfilling if you keep doing what you are doing. Or perhaps there is something you really want to do, and you are allowing the “What ifs  ” to stop you.

That’s when you might seriously start on a healing journey. 

When people first discover Inner Bonding, they are often relieved, hopeful, and excited – which is great.

But after a while, they may feel discouraged because it seems that the more work they do, the more there is to do. They started doing Inner Bonding believing this is the answer – and it is – but not in the way they thought. They thought that if they just do this for a while, their life will permanently improve. But this is like saying that if you exercise for a while and then stop, the results will be permanent. Or if you pay loving attention to a child for a while and the child is happy, the child will remain happy even if you abandon the child. It doesn’t work this way,

Because life is continually changing and continually offering us challenges, the practice of Inner Bonding is a moment-by-moment process.

For example, you do your inner work to learn to love yourself as a single person and then you get married – and now you have a whole new set of challenges with a whole new set of false beliefs and control issues and “What if’s   ” to heal. Each life change unearths new false beliefs and control issues – having kids, kids growing older, job issues, changing jobs, health issues, friendship issues, moving to a new location, and so on. The one thing we can count on is that life continually changes. And with each of these changes, you can go with what your guidance is telling you, or you can let your “What if’s   ” stop you.

I no longer kid myself that I’ve healed all my false beliefs and control issues. I’ve accepted two important aspects of life:

One if that there are certain issues that come up over and over, and each time they come up, I do a little more healing. We each seem to have a few key issues which trigger our wounded self. In my current life, I’m far less triggered than I used to be, but there are still remnants of my wounded self that pop up occasionally.

The second is that spirit seems to have a way of bringing new issues into our life. Just as everything is going smoothly, something new happens that propels us into a new level of inner work, and we discover yet another layer of the infinite onion. I used to resent this but now I’m grateful for it, because this is how I can continue to learn, grow, and heal the false beliefs and control issues of my wounded self.

By accepting the journey of peeling the layers of the wounded self, resistance is gone.

Now I say, “Thank you God for this incredible journey of evolving my soul in my ability to love and experience joy. Thank you for all the opportunities you bring my way to heal the blocks to fully loving. Thank you for the sacred privilege of being in a body on this difficult planet so that I can continue, day-by-day, to move more and more toward Oneness with you – Oneness with the love, peace, and joy that you are.”

I hope you let go of any goals of ‘getting there’ and become fully enamored of the process.

Often, people are confused between the voice of their wounded self and the voice of their spiritual guidance. It’s important to understand the kinds of things that your guidance tells you and what your guidance doesn’t tell you.

One of my clients asked me:

(quote) When I first started trying to connect with my spiritual guidance, I found it telling me quite a disturbing thing – that I didn’t have long to live. Upon pressing for more detail, it told me that I had just days to live. Upon further questioning it told me that I would actually die on Saturday. (A couple of months ago now – I have survived to tell the tale!) As Saturday approached, and my anxiety grew and my spiritual guidance assured me that it had only said this to jolt me into action to decide why exactly I wanted to live and that I wasn’t actually going to die. Now I’m afraid of connecting with my spiritual guidance because I found that experience quite traumatic. Was that my spiritual guidance talking? Is that how spirit operates? (Unquote)

No, that is not how spirit operates at all. That is how the wounded self, masking as spirit, operates. Spirit never tells us things that scare us and would never try to ‘jolt’ you into action. Whenever you hear something that scares you, you need to know that it’s your wounded self, making things up to try to control something.

So what kinds of things does our guidance tell us?

My experience with my guidance is that she never imposes anything on me. She answers my questions in a way that makes me feel calm and peaceful rather than scared. She never tests me, and she would never tell me disturbing things or try to jolt me. She is unconditionally kind, caring, comforting, supportive, wise, compassionate, loving, and powerful, and she never judges me. I would not know how to live my life without her.

A common question I receive is, quote, “I attempt to communicate with my higher guidance every day, but how can I be sure that what is being relayed to me isn’t just my own ego?” Unquote.   

We have been blessed with a fail–safe system of knowing what is right and true for us. Part of our soul exists within our body and communicates through our feelings – this is our inner child. The rest of our huge soul is all around us and communicates through thought and images that we receive when we are open to learning.

Imagine your soul as a huge bright energy – a spark of the Divine-that-is-Love. Imagine that your body exists within this energy and this energy exists within your body. Often, when I’m preparing to do my morning Inner Bonding process, I say, “I am within Love and Love is within me. I am within the Universe and the Universe is within me. I am within God and God is within me.” This helps me to feel centered and connected with my source.

When I receive a thought or image, I check in with my feelings to see if it feels right. When it does feel right, then I know it is from my guidance. If something about it doesn’t feel right, then I’m suspicious that it is coming from my ego wounded self. I keep staying open, asking my guidance for clarity. When the thoughts and images I receive line up with what feels right inside, then I know I am on the right track.

It’s staying in touch with our feelings that lets us know when we are on or off track. When we feel peaceful and full of love inside, we know that we are taking loving care of ourselves. When we feel anxious, depressed, angry, shamed, or jealous, we know we are abandoning ourselves. Our guidance is here to guide us in what is loving to ourselves – this is what our guidance is here for. This is what our guidance tells us – what is loving to ourselves and others – what is in our highest good and the highest good of all.

One of my favorite quotes is by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” When we quiet the voice of our wounded self and not listen to “What if…”, and when we surrender to the love and wisdom of our higher guidance, our heart opens to joy. Joy lets you know that you are feeling your oneness with the Divine. You have the choice to stop letting “What if…” stop you from what would bring you joy and instead open, surrender, and listen to the quiet voice of your guidance, always guiding you toward your inner peace and joy.

I invite you to learn to connect with your spiritual guidance with my 30-Day video home-study course, Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom.

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

And we have so much to offer you at our website at

And, if you enjoyed this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you tell your friends about it, and if you give it a review wherever you heard it.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

©Dr. Margaret Paul and Inner Bonding® Educational Technologies, Inc, 2023

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