Do you believe that if you learn to love yourself and you become happy and whole, will you end up alone? Will a partner want you if you are not needy? Were you brought up to believe that taking care of yourself is selfish, and that to be a good person you need to be self-sacrificing? Discover what might be stopping you from learning to love yourself and take loving actions on your own behalf.
As those of you who have been practicing Inner Bonding or listening to my podcasts know, Inner Bonding is about learning to love yourself and share your love with others.
Over the many years I’ve worked with clients and conducted workshops and intensives, I’ve come across some major false beliefs about loving yourself that might be in the way of you taking loving actions for yourself.
I had been working with Kathleen for a few months when we had the following discussion:
“I know that Inner Bonding really works to learn to love myself, she said. “It’s really helpful to me when I do it, but I find myself being very resistant to doing it, and I don’t know why.”
“There must be a very good reason,” I said. What are you afraid will happen if you learn to love yourself?” At this point, Kathleen stated one of the common false beliefs in the way of people taking loving actions for themselves.
“I think I’m afraid that I will end up alone,” she said.
Kathleen was in her late 30’s and was very desirous of finding Mr. Right and starting a family.
“Why do you believe you will end up alone if you practice Inner Bonding and learn to love yourself?” I asked.
“I’m afraid that a man will not be attracted to me if I’m really together and not needy,” she said.
Kathleen had been in numerous relationships that did not work out. Invariably, the man would withdraw, and she would feel devastated.
“Kathleen, all of your relationships up until now have been about finding a man to make you happy. Coming from a needy and empty place within, you are looking for a man to fill you up. The men who are attracted to you are also in the same place, since we come together at our common level of self-abandonment or self-love. So, you want him to fill you and he wants you to fill him, and when you pull on him to fill your emptiness and make you happy, his fears of engulfment get triggered and he withdraws. This has happened to you over and over, and it will keep happening until you learn to love yourself and are no longer needy.”
Then she stated another common false belief in the way of loving herself:
“Well, why would I even need a relationship if I love myself and I feel happy and whole?”
“When you feel happy and whole,” I said, “and you are filled with love inside, you will want to share your love. You will want to learn and play and create with a loved one. Sharing love is one of the most wonderful experiences in life. And when you are healed enough to want to share love instead of get love, you will be much more likely to attract a man who also wants to share love. While the world is not filled with men wanting to share love, these men do exist, and you will have a much better chance of attracting a loving man when you desire to share love rather than get love. And you will be far better off than you are now when you learn how to love yourself and you feel happy and whole within!”
Kathleen could see that if she learned to love herself and make herself happy, then at least she would not be miserable and waiting for Mr. Right to make her happy. She decided to renew her commitment to practicing Inner Bonding and see what happens.
After some months of practice, Kathleen started to notice a change. While she still really wanted a relationship, her reasons for wanting it were changing. After not dating for six months, she signed up on a dating website and started dating again. She was quite surprised at the response she received, which was much greater than the last time she had tried online dating.
“I’m wondering why I’m attracting more and different men this time?” she asked me.
“As I told you, attraction is based on our common level of woundedness or on our common level of emotional and spiritual health. You might not be consciously aware of it, but we pick up others’ energy, even through the Internet. By practicing Inner Bonding, you have raised your frequency and so you are attracting men with a higher frequency.”
Kathleen did eventually meet her beloved. She and Nathan both practice Inner Bonding. They have one child and Kathleen is pregnant with their second. They both occasionally work with me when the need arises.
Obviously, practicing Inner Bonding and learning to love herself did not lead to ending up alone!
Another false belief in the way of taking loving actions for oneself is contained in the question that my clients often ask me: “If I just take care of myself and look out for my own highest good, wouldn’t I be being 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 the left-brain focus on acquiring things and money, with achievements and with recognition, with control and perhaps greed. According to the left-brain self-centered, 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 selfish and 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. This is the job of our ego wounded self and this is what you will do when your intent is to control getting what you want and avoiding what you are afraid of.
But, if you ask about your highest good from your loving adult – your right-brain spiritual aspect, 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 on the earthly level. And it is never in the highest good of your soul to be selfish and uncaring toward others.
When we are asking about what is in our highest good from our 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, selfish place. We came to this planet to evolve our souls in our ability to love and to fully manifest 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 and 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 abandoning 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 acquiring things.
Along with the false belief about being selfish if you take loving care of yourself is another false belief, coming from this question I’m often asked: “In order to be a good person, aren’t I supposed to be self-sacrificing and take care of others instead of myself?”
Many of us were raised by a self-centered, narcissistic parent who, instead of supporting us in learning to take care of ourselves and discovering what brings us joy, expected us to give ourselves up and take care of him or her. When we didn’t do what they wanted us to do, they called us selfish and self-centered, which was crazymaking because it was they who were being selfish and self-centered and then projecting it on to us.
So let’s talk about what it means to be selfish:
- We are selfish when we only consider ourselves and do not consider the effect our behavior has on others.
- We are selfish when we expect others to give themselves up and do what we want them to do, rather than support them in doing what brings them joy and is in their highest good.
- We are selfish when we keep drawing a conversation back to ourselves rather than listening to and caring about what someone else is saying.
- We are selfish when we punish others when they think and feel differently than we do.
- We are selfish when we harm others for our own ends.
- We are selfish when we abandon ourselves and then pull on others for their love, attention, and approval.
- We are selfish when we make others responsible for our feelings of pain and joy.
- We are selfish when we get angry at others for doing what they want to do rather than doing what we want them to do.
- We are selfish when we consistently make our own feelings, wants, needs and desires important without also considering others’ feelings, wants, needs and desires.
- We are selfish when we believe we are entitled to special treatment, such as not having to wait in line.
Now let’s talk about what is not selfish:
- We are being self-responsible, not selfish, when we do what brings us joy with no intent to harm another, even if another person doesn’t like it.
- We are being self-responsible, not selfish, when we support our own highest good, even when someone wants us to do something other than what we are doing.
- We are being self-responsible when we are considerate of others’ wants and needs without giving ourselves up.
- We are being self-responsible when we are open to learning about how others feel and what they want, as long as they are also open to learning about how we feel and what we want, and we are both desirous of supporting our own and each other’s highest good.
- We are being self-responsible when we take care of our own feelings, wants, desires, and needs rather than expecting others to take care of us.
- We are being self-responsible when we support others in doing what brings them joy, even when they are not doing what we want them to do.
- We are being self-responsible when we show caring toward others for the joy it gives us rather than out of fear, obligation, or guilt.
- We are being self-responsible when we have the courage to take loving action in our own behalf, even if someone gets angry with us.
- We are being self-responsible when we have the courage to speak our truth about what we will or will not do, and what we do or do not feel, rather than give ourselves up to avoid criticism, anger, or rejection.
Many of us were taught that if others are upset with us for our choices, we are somehow responsible for their feelings. We were taught that if we continue to do something that is upsetting to another, we are wrong, bad, and selfish. When parents teach this to their children, it has nothing to do with supporting their children’s highest good. It is purely about wanting to control their children into doing what the parents want them to do. When parents do this, they are the ones being selfish, while telling their children that they are the selfish ones when they don’t do what the parents want. As I previously said, this is very crazymaking!
Taking loving care of ourselves and making ourselves happy is the opposite of selfish!
In order to be devoted to the practice of Inner Bonding, you need to move beyond the false belief that taking loving care of yourself is selfish. You need to recognize that, not only is self-love and self-care not selfish, it’s the most loving thing you can do for yourself and others. One of the greatest gifts we can give to our loved ones as well as to the world is our own happiness, inner peace, and joy. Our happiness takes the burden off our spouses, parents, children, and friends, to try to make us happy. People who love us – rather than people who just want to use us – want us to be happy and if we are not taking responsibility for our own happiness, then others might feel responsible for us. I hope you can see that taking loving care of yourself and bringing yourself inner peace and joy is the opposite of selfish!
Our peace and joy also contribute much to our planet. These wonderful feelings have a very high frequency, and therefore contribute to raising the overall frequency of our planet. Our inner peace and joy contribute more to our planet than anything else we can contribute! Imagine what our world would be like if everyone took responsibility for their own peace, joy, and wellbeing! Since harming others never creates happiness and inner peace, our world would become a peaceful place if we each took responsibility for our own happiness and wellbeing, with each of us caring about ourselves and about each other.
Giving ourselves up to avoid being called selfish is not self-responsible – it is manipulative and dishonest. When we give ourselves up to avoid criticism, we are trying to control how another feels about us.
It is important for each of us to define selfishness and self-responsibility for ourselves so that we are not dependent upon others’ definition of us. When, through your Inner Bonding practice, you become secure in knowing that you not only have the right, but the responsibility, to support your own joy and highest good – with no intent to harm another – then you will not be tempted to give yourself up when someone tells you that you are selfish for not doing what he or she wants you to do. When you are secure in knowing that your intent is a loving one, you do not have to manipulate others into defining you as caring by giving yourself up.
Along with the false belief about being selfish may be a false belief about being rude. Clients often ask me questions such as:
“If I disengage from someone who is pulling on my energy by talking on and on, aren’t I being rude.”
A question like this is coming from the wounded self, wanting to control how the other person feels about you, rather than from the loving adult wanting to be loving to yourself and the other. It’s not loving to you to allow yourself to be drained by a needy person, nor is it loving to them to support their talking addiction or their addiction to any form of self-abandonment. Listening to a talking-addicted person, or to someone pulling on you and draining your energy in other ways ,is like giving a drug addict the drug, or a sugar addict a donut, or alcohol to an alcoholic. It’s not loving.
Another false belief is in this question that clients often ask, “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 strong 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 spiritual 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. It’s the wounded self that is weak and fearful and believes that power means controlling others. True power is the personal power that comes through you from your higher self.
You might have many other false beliefs that stop you from practicing Inner Bonding and taking loving action on your behalf, such as:
- I don’t deserve to be loving to myself. Who do I think I am? I have no right to take care of myself. A good person puts others first.
- What if I make a mistake – that it’s not the right action to take?
- What if I really go for it and I fail?
- Putting myself out there is dangerous – better to keep the status quo.
In order to take loving care of yourself it has to become more important to you to be all you came here to be – to fully manifest your gifts, talents, and ability to love – than to maintain your illusion of safety.
A common false belief that may stop you from loving yourself is this statement I often hear from my clients: “I can’t. I don’t know how.” Of course you don’t know how. How would you know how without any role modeling? The fortunate thing is that you don’t have to know how – you just need to be open to learning with your higher self about how. When you have a genuine intent to learn about loving yourself, you will be able to access this wisdom, and through trial and error, you will learn how.
Another very common false belief that I often hear from my clients is “Loving myself won’t feel as good as someone else loving me.” This indicates a huge confusion between getting love and sharing love. Sharing love is one of the very best experiences there is, while getting love, being addictive, is short lived. You will not know the joy of loving yourself and sharing your love until you are willing to learn to love yourself and see how you feel. Even if someone else does love you, if you are rejecting and abandoning yourself, another’s love will never fill you and heal your insecurities and neediness.
Finally, another common false belief that I often hear is “It’s not my job. My parents didn’t love me, so why should I have to love myself?” Well, the reality is that no other adult came to this planet with the intention of taking loving care of your inner child as an adult, so if you don’t, then you will always feel alone and abandoned within.
You will heal these false beliefs when you take the risk of practicing Inner Bonding, learn to love yourself, and take loving action for yourself. When you do this, you will then experience that none of these beliefs are true, and that loving yourself opens the door to inner peace, joy, manifestation, and the sharing of love.
You can find many resources for learning how to develop your loving adult and connect with your higher guidance at https://www.innerbonding.com
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.”