Are you longing for connection? Do you want to experience intimacy and connection with others, and the joy and aliveness that this offers? We all deeply desire connection with others, but what is necessary for us to have this? Discover what you need to do to create loving connection with another.
Today I want to talk about the vital important of connection with ourselves, with others and with our higher guidance.
As humans, we are hard-wired to want to connect with each other. Until 10,000 years ago, all people lived in tribes where families stayed together through the generations, and tribes stayed together, deeply connected with each other and with the planet.
Then, 10,000 years ago, our civilization started what is currently called the agricultural revolution. What changed dramatically at that time is that, as agriculture spread and absorbed the tribes, food was no longer free. Until then, people hunted, gathered and sometimes grew crops, but everyone had access to free food. Once our civilization spread, food became owned by the people who owned the land, and now people had to work for food. What this did was split up the tribes (there are still some left, but not many), and this started a cycle of family and tribal disconnection.
The industrial revolution brought about even more disconnection. People moved out of small rural communities and into cities to work. Whereas, originally, people didn’t have to earn money for food, now people had to work to earn money to survive. In tribal societies, people had a lot of time to get together with each other to connect and to be creative. They were naturally being loving to themselves and with each other. In modern times, most people are very stressed with earning money and don’t have enough time to be with their family and friends and many believe that they don’t have enough time to be loving themselves – which actually isn’t true.
Now, not only do we have to work hard and long to survive, but with social media we are more disconnected than ever. Connection over the Internet isn’t quite the same as spending in-person heart-to-heart connection with each other.
What this has created is loneliness, anxiety and a sense of emptiness. In order to survive all this disconnection with others, we have also disconnected from ourselves – our own feelings. We’ve had to learn to disconnect within in order to manage the pain of our current culture.
In addition, our culture of processed foods and drugs has lowered our frequency and fostered disconnection from ourselves, from each other and from our higher spiritual guidance. It’s hard to connect when we are working too hard, not having enough time, and when our bodies are working hard to manage the processed and factory-farm foods that most people eat.
Life loses its aliveness when we lack connection with ourselves, with our spiritual guidance and with each other.
There is nothing more wonderful than heart-to-heart connection. But in order to have this with family and friends, you need to start by learning to connect with yourself. We deeply connect with others from our heart, not our head, so if you’ve learned to stay focused in your mind to avoid your painful feelings, you won’t be able to experience loving heart-to-heart connection with others.
Author Thomas Moore, in his book Care of the Soul, said
“Intimacy begins with oneself. It does no good to try to find intimacy with friends, lovers, and family if you are starting out from alienation and division within yourself.” –
Thomas Moore puts it in a nutshell. Until we are intimate and connected with ourselves, we cannot experience the greatest joy in life – intimacy and connection with others.
It’s time to learn to love yourself and reconnect.
The disconnection from ourselves creates so many of the current problems in our society. For example, Gretchen is typical of many of the clients that I work with. In our first session she said:
“I’ve been depressed on and off throughout my life. Medication helped for a while, but now all it does is make me feel even more flat and empty. Life seems to have no meaning for me. Nothing looks beautiful. Nothing is compelling to me. I can’t think of anything I really want to do. I’ve tried many forms of therapy but nothing has worked to heal my depression. I don’t know why I’m here on this planet. What is it all about?”
I started my work with Gretchen with an Inner Bonding process:
“Gretchen, please tune into what you are feeling right now.”
“Sad. Empty. Depressed. Pretty much like I feel most of the time.”
“Please breathe into these feelings, getting fully present with them….Can you find a place within you that wants responsibility for being the cause of these feelings?”
“Are you saying that I might be causing these feelings?”
“Yes, you might be. If you are, are you willing to find out what you might be thinking and how you might be treating yourself that is causing them?”
“Well, yes, I am!”
“Your feelings are an inner guidance system. Imagine that your feelings are a child within, letting you know each moment whether you are taking loving care of her, or abandoning her. Now, breathe into your heart, and open to curiosity about what you might be telling yourself or how you might be treating yourself that is causing your inner little girl to feel sad, empty, and depressed. Imagine your higher self as an older wiser aspect of you, and say to yourself, “I invite your love and compassion into my heart.” Then ask your feelings what you are telling your inner child, and how you are treating her that is causing your pain. Now focus inside again and allow the feelings to answer.”
Gretchen’s inner child answered and said: “All you do is judge me, all the time. You are always telling me that I’m not good enough, that I didn’t do something right, and that I’m stupid.”
“Oh my God!, said Gretchen, “I do this all the time, just like my mother did!”
“And what did you want from your mother?”
“I wanted her to hold me, to care about my feelings, to be kind and gentle with me. I wanted to feel a connection with her, but I never did.”
“Isn’t this exactly what your inner child wants from you?”
“Yes! But I never thought that this is something I could give to myself. I thought it had to come from someone else.”
“Gretchen, do you have any kind of spiritual connection?”
“I believe in God, if that’s what you mean.”
“Can you talk with God and also hear God talking with you?”
“I don’t know. I’ve just prayed to God, but I never tried talking to God or listening to God.”
“Try it now. Ask God ‘What is the first thing I need to start to do to begin to take loving care of my little girl?”
“…………..God says to stop judging her – that she is a wonderful little girl and doesn’t deserve to ever be judged by me. God is showing me as a little girl – I was so sweet!”
“How do you feel right now?”
“Good! I feel good! I feel alive!
Gretchen started to diligently practice Inner Bonding and within a short time, was consistently taking loving care of herself. Life took on new meaning, aliveness and passion for her as she learned to love herself. And her ability to connect with herself opened the door to connect with others and share her love with others.
Most therapies do not deal with self-abandonment as an underlying cause of anxiety and depression. Lila, a member of the Inner Bonding website, shared this about her healing process:
“I must’ve gone through dozens of therapists since my first one at 17. Several were even psychiatrists. And they helped … but not in an all-the-way-to-the-very-bone way…. I kept working to treat specific problems, but still felt incomplete once they were solved…. it’s because my inner child needed much, much more than that. She needed unconditional love from me—something traditional therapy somehow couldn’t quite provide….Lately, whenever I think about logical, strategic cognitive behavioral therapy, its techniques and tools, my inner child rebels intensely…..self-love comes first; filling up from within comes first. Regardless of my social status, my financial status, my career status, my marital status, without self-love, I have nothing if I don’t have that…. I know that because of Inner Bonding, I will eventually be able to live a normal life….Meditating with a conscious intent to love myself and Inner Bonding with the same intent is becoming my way of learning to love myself unconditionally—regardless of how other people react to me. And I can see that in loving myself, I also automatically become more connected and loving with others.”
Deeply connecting with another is one of the great joys of life, and is something most of us long for. Deep connection takes away loneliness and gives us the experience of being deeply known. We feel safe and loved when our hearts connect. Research indicates that the happiest people in the world are those who live in communities where they feel connected with each other.
Of course we long for connection when we don’t have it in our lives. But sometimes it seems elusive – even in committed relationships.
Joanie asked me, “Am I being needy when I am longing for connection with my spouse?”
A good question, and the answer is not simple.
If you are longing for connection with your spouse because you are feeling alone and empty inside and you hope that he will fill you up and make you feel worthy and lovable, then the answer is yes – you are being needy.
If you are connected with yourself, taking loving care of yourself and filling yourself up with love to share, then you are not being needy in longing for connection with your spouse.
When we try to connect with another without first connecting with ourselves, not only do we find that we can’t sustain a connection, but we find that the connection doesn’t give us what we hoped for.
When we long for connection from an empty, disconnected place, we are trying to get love, attention and approval. When we long for connection from a heart full of love, we want to share love rather than get love. This is what makes all the difference.
Unfortunately, many people believe that it’s getting love that fills them. They don’t understand the huge difference between getting love and sharing love.
Imagine two empty people. Each person hopes that the other will connect with them and fill them with love. But how can this happen when both are empty?
Imagine one person is empty and the other is full. The empty one tries to get the love that they want from the full person, but the full person feels drained when being with the empty person. Since people come together at their common level of woundedness or their common level of health – which is their common level of self-abandonment or self-love, the full person will likely not be attracted to the empty person.
Two full people who partner with each other are able to connect and share love in a long-term relationship, but two empty people can’t.
How do we get from empty to full, from inner disconnection to inner connection, from self-abandonment to self-love?
By practicing Inner Bonding of course!
The more you practice the Six Steps of Inner Bonding throughout the day – whenever you feel anything other than peace inside – the more you learn to connect with yourself and your spiritual Guidance and bring the love of Spirit inside your heart and soul. We feel full when we are being loving to ourselves rather than abandoning ourselves. When our intent is to love ourselves and share our love with others, our heart is open and the love that is Spirit naturally fills us. When our intent is to protect against pain and try to have control over getting love, our heart is closed to experiencing the love that is Spirit.
If you long for connection – for deep intimacy – start by connecting with yourself and with your spiritual Guidance and you will find connection naturally occurring with another who is also inwardly connected. However, if you are in a relationship in which both of you got together when you were empty, and you move into the fullness that comes from loving yourself, the relationship might go into turmoil. The relationship will get much better if your partner also practices Inner Bonding, but the issues in the relationship might become much more pronounced and visible to you if you fill up with love and your partner remains empty.
Anytime we choose to learn and grow, we need to be prepared for things to change – one way or the other. It takes courage to change your part of a relationship system, but it is so worth it because connection is one of our deepest desires!
When we were born, the most important thing to us was connection with our mother. We needed connection with her body for adequate sustenance. We needed emotional connection with her, or with someone, to feel safe, and to develop the ability to regulate our feelings. Connection with someone was essential to our physical survival and our emotional well being.
When we are fortunate enough to have a healthy experience of connection with our parents, we grow up feeling loved, lovable and safe. But in order to have this healthy connection, our parents or other caregivers need to be connected with themselves. They cannot fully connect with us if they are disconnected from themselves.
To the degree that our parents or caregivers did not role model inner connection with themselves and offer us the connection we needed, it is likely that we not only developed a deep unmet yearning within us, we also missed out on learning how to connect with ourselves. This lack of inner connection, as I stated earlier, often creates feelings of depression and despair within. Connection is such a basic need that without it we feel deeply alone and empty.
Research indicates that strong connections with family and friends – connections that make us feel safe and loved – are essential for happiness and health. People who live in caring communities live longer, happier lives than people who live alone or with others with whom they are not connected.
Too often, we try to fill our need for connection without first healing our inner disconnection. The failure of many marriages and intentional communities is a testament to the futility of trying to create loving relationships and caring communities without first doing the inner work necessary to be connected with oneself. The neediness and controlling behavior that dominates relationships between people who are not connected with themselves is what is responsible for the high divorce rate and the failure of many intentional communities.
In order to manifest our deepest desire to connect in a loving way with others, I hope it’s now obvious that we first need to learn to connect in a loving way with ourselves. What this means is that we need to learn to be present with a compassionate intent to learn from all of our feelings – especially our painful feelings. The moment you reject your own feelings by ignoring them, judging them, turning to addictions to avoid feeling them, or making another person responsible for them, you are disconnecting from yourself – abandoning yourself and making it impossible to connect with another.
Start now to do the thing that will make the most difference in your life regarding your happiness and joy. Start now to practice Step One of Inner Bonding – learning to be fully present with your feelings with acceptance and compassion for them. Then move into Step Two of Inner Bonding – choosing the intent to learn about what is loving to yourself and what is true for you. Start now to take responsibility for your own feelings by moving into Step Three of Inner Bonding – learning what your feelings are telling you about your own beliefs and behavior, and about others and situations – rather than avoiding your feelings. Start now to develop a strong connection with your personal source of spiritual guidance by moving into an intent to learn with your guidance about love and truth, and start now taking loving action based on the truth in Step Five of Inner Bonding. Finally, evaluate, in Step Six of Inner Bonding, how you are feeling as a result of the loving action.
Creating an inner connection with your feelings and your higher self is essential to being able to create a loving connection with others, and experiencing the joy and fullness that comes from sharing your love.
Intimacy and connection are truly what creates the aliveness of life!
Go to https://www.innerbonding.com to access these courses:
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”
Heal your relationship with Dr. Margaret’s 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.
Learn to connect with your spiritual Guidance with Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom, A 30-Day at-home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul.