Do you have the courage to love both yourself and others, or is the pseudo-safety of control more important to you? Discover why it takes great courage to learn to love, and why it’s so important to make love your highest priority. Loving holds within it the greatest joy and the greatest pain in life, but without it, life is empty. If you feel some inner emptiness, it’s likely because you are allowing fear to stop you from loving yourself and others.
Some heartbreaking events in the world led me to do some deep work with my guidance to explore why so many people persist in being devoted to controlling, rather than to being on the soul’s journal of evolving in their ability to love themselves and others.
I asked my guidance, “Why? I need to understand why these people keep focusing on trying to control in the face of so many negative consequences. What are they so afraid of? What are they trying so hard to avoid?”
This is what my Guidance said to me…
They are afraid of many things. They are afraid of engulfment, of being controlled and losing themselves. They are afraid of rejection, of failure, and of feeling the existential pain of life of helplessness concerning others and events, and of loneliness, heartbreak, and grief. But the bottom line under all this fear is that they lack COURAGE. They lack the courage to forge ahead and risk the pain of rejection and failure, rather than close their hearts to try to avoid pain.
In their minds, it is easier and safer to withdraw, to pull on others, to turn to addictions, and to judge themselves to get themselves to do it ‘right’, in order to try to control how others feel about them. They believe that it is easier and safer to rely on their own minds rather than open to their higher mind, and that it is easier to try to control themselves and others, rather than open to learning about loving themselves and take the loving actions on their own behalf and on behalf of others.
It takes courage to trust your feelings, to surrender to your higher self, to risk loss rather than continue to try to control. It takes courage to have an open heart, which you have when your intent is to learn about loving yourself and others and risk your heart getting hurt.
“But” I said, “they are so miserable, so needy, so anxious and depressed. Why is it worth it to them? Over and over, I hear that they don’t want to risk feeling the loneliness and heartbreak of rejection and failure. Are you saying that the underlying issue is they lack the courage to feel these deeper painful feelings?”
Yes, this is what I’m saying. When you are feeling lonely around others, it is because they lack the courage to risk feeling the pain of rejection and failure, so they close their hearts to loving themselves and others. When you feel connected with someone, it is because love is vitally important to them, which gives them the courage to open to learning with their guidance about loving themselves and others. People with courage take the risks of honoring their own knowing, even if others don’t like it. These are the people who value themselves enough to take loving care of themselves emotionally, physically, and in all other areas.
While some of the people who are devoted to controlling appear to be strong, they are coming from fear and lack of courage. They convince themselves that their strength is in controlling rather than loving, but actually they are coming from weakness rather than strength. The immediate loneliness you feel in your heart lets you know this. You must trust this loneliness.
“But,” I said, “I feel this with most people. So, the truth is that most people lack the courage to love rather than to control?”
Yes, that is the sad truth.
This was a sad, yet very important truth for me to accept. For me, it takes courage to honor my loneliness as vital information, rather than kid myself into believing that someone is open when they are really closed and protected. It takes courage for me feel the heartbreak of others’ lack of courage, and to feel the helplessness of knowing that I can hold up the mirror, but I can’t force them to make loving more important than controlling.
Writer Ambrose Bierce wrote that, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” ~
I find it sad that it takes courage to love ourselves and others. But the truth is that our culture has come so far from our natural way of being – which is to love ourselves and others – that now it does take courage, a lot of courage, because many of us have been programmed to believe that being ‘selfless’ is being good, and that being loving to ourselves is selfish. We’ve been programmed to believe that if we ignore our own feelings and needs and attend to the feelings and needs of others, then we will be seen as good, and we will be loved. But attending to the feelings and needs of others while abandoning ourselves isn’t loving to ourselves and is controlling toward others, because of the agenda to get love.
As I’ve said in previous podcasts, loving the spark of the Divine within you, your soul that is created in the image of God-that-is-love, is about cherishing your intrinsic gifts, and sharing them with those you love. When you are truly loving yourself, you would never be selfish because it’s very unloving to yourself to be selfish – which is to not care about the effect your behavior has on others, and to ignore others’ feelings and needs, and to expect others to give themselves up for you. Loving yourself is what fills you with love to share with others. You don’t have any love to share when you are abandoning yourself.
Selflessness is actually the opposite of loving yourself – of knowing who you are, knowing the beauty and greatness of your soul essence. Anyone who has been selfless knows that it eventually leads to feeling depleted and depressed, because when you are giving to others without also loving yourself, you end up feeling empty inside. When you give to get love, others generally receive without giving back.
If this is what you’ve been doing, it takes great courage to focus on loving yourself and letting go of caretaking others to get love. Those to whom you’ve been giving, in order to get their attention and approval, may become angry at you for what they perceive as you abandoning them. They liked your caretaking and they may not even know how to be with you in supporting your own and others’ highest good. So it takes great courage to weather their wrath and perhaps even lose them.
It can be so scary to do this, that only when loving yourself becomes more important to you than your fear of rejection and loss, will you open to learning about what is in your highest good.
This is where I was 37 years ago when spirit brought us Inner Bonding. I was quite ill and knew that if I continued to abandon myself by caretaking others, I would die. I was terrified of losing those I loved, but even more terrified to get sicker. My desire to be healthy, alive, and manifesting my gifts gave me the courage to begin learning to love myself.
If you are anxious, depressed, and lonely, and you have been selfless rather than self-loving, you might consider that being selfless and abandoning yourself to get love and approval, isn’t working for you.
I hope you let go of your old concepts of selflessness and selfishness and have the courage to learn to love yourself, fill yourself with love, and share your beautiful intrinsic gifts with others.
There is no doubt that it takes courage to take the risk of loving. One of my favorite quotes is in The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis. Here is what he says:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
So, do you have the courage to love?
In my work with individuals, couples, and parents, I see many people who do not have the courage to love fully. Some choose not to be in a relationship for fear of loss. Others choose not to have children for fear of loss. Some do enter relationships and have children but hold back, being too afraid of not being able to survive loss if they should lose their loved one.
They think they are safer by not fully loving. They don’t realize that their emptiness is from NOT loving. Living with a sense of emptiness is a very sad way to live. Better to feel the grief, heartbreak, and loneliness of loss than to live an empty life due to choosing not to love.
I want to encourage you to take the risk of opening your heart and loving. After all, this is what life is all about! If you hold back on loving due to fear of loss, you miss out on the greatest joy that life has to offer.
The word ‘courage’ always makes me think of the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. I love that he does whatever he needs to do to free Dorothy. His love for her is so strong that it overcomes his fear, and in taking brave actions on her behalf, he finds his courage.
I once worked with a man who had been in the armed service as a parachute jumper. As part of his job, he would courageously jump into enemy territory. Yet, when it came to feeling his feelings, he had no courage at all. He was so terrified of his feelings that he lived his life numbed out, which made it impossible for his wife to connect with him. He was working with me because his wife had said she would divorce him unless he opened his heart to love. But, since love and pain are in the same place in the heart, to open to his love for her, he also had to open to his pain, and he was very scared to do that. He said early in our work together that he would rather risk his life in enemy territory than risk getting emotionally hurt. It took great courage for him to open to the deep pain of abuse that had been buried in him since he was a child.
Look inside and see what you have not had the courage to do regarding opening your heart to love:
- Are you relationship avoidant out of fear of engulfment – of feeling trapped?
- Do you keep yourself isolated for fear of rejection?
- Do you resist learning to love yourself out of fear you can’t do it?
- Do you avoid personal growth out of fear of finding out something about yourself that you don’t like?
- Do you avoid opening to a spiritual source of love and guidance for fear of finding out that nothing is there, or that nothing is there for you?
- Do you avoid speaking up for fear of being wrong and being rejected?
- Do you try to get by with acting loving without actually opening your heart?
There is no doubt that it takes huge courage to risk opening your heart and loving.
It doesn’t take courage to do the easy stuff – the stuff that doesn’t scare us. It takes courage to do what it is what we are afraid of, and that’s what opens the door to joy.
Courage isn’t something that happens to us – it’s a choice. It’s a choice to have the courage to learn to love ourselves and share our love with others. It’s a choice to do our Inner Bonding work to heal the fears and false beliefs that are in the way of loving.
Making this choice is very important when it comes to parenting.
Most of us really don’t like it when someone is angry with us. We don’t like it when someone goes into resistance to helping us when we need help, instead of caring about us. We don’t like it when someone withdraws from us, disconnecting from us and shutting us out. We don’t like it when people make demands on us and do not respect our right or need to say no. Many of us will do almost anything to avoid the soul loneliness and heartache we feel when people treat us in angry, resistant, demanding, and uncaring ways.
It takes great courage to stay loving to yourself and others when faced with others’ angry and closed behavior. It especially takes courage when the people you are dealing with are your own children. But unless you have the courage to come up against your children’s anger, resistance, and withdrawal, you may give yourself up and not take care of yourself to avoid their uncaring reactions. The more you deny your own truth and your own needs and feelings, the more your children might disrespect and discount you.
Your children may become a mirror of your own behavior – discounting you when you discount yourself, disrespecting you when you disrespect yourself. The more you give yourself up to avoid your children’s unloving behavior toward you, the more you might become objectified as the all-giving and all loving parent, who doesn’t need anything for yourself. When you do this, you are role modeling being a caretaker and teaching your children to also be a caretaker or to be an entitled taker.
On the other hand, it is also unloving to yourself and your children to expect your children to take responsibility for your wellbeing. It is unloving to demand that your children give themselves up to prove their love for you or to pacify your fears. It is unloving to demand that they be the way you want them to be, rather than who they are. It is unloving to set limits that serve to make you feel safe as a parent, rather than limits that support their health, safety, and wellbeing. When you behave in this way, you are role modeling being a taker, and teaching your children to be a caretaker, or a taker like you.
The challenge of good parenting is to find the balance between being there for your children and being there for yourself, and to role-model taking personal responsibility for yourself, rather than being a caretaker and taking responsibility for your children, or being a taker and making your children responsible for you.
Your decisions need to be based on what is in the highest good of your children AND yourself. If your child wants something that is not in your highest good to give, then it is not loving to give it. If you want something for or from your children that is not in their highest good, then it is not loving for you to expect it. It is loving to support your children’s freedom to choose what they want and to be themselves, as long as it isn’t harmful to them or to others, and as long as it doesn’t mean giving yourself up. Your children may not learn responsible behavior toward others when you discount your own needs and feelings to support what they want. Your own freedom to choose what you want, and to be yourself, needs to be just as important to you as supporting your children’s freedom and desires.
On the other hand, if you always put your needs before your children’s, you are behaving in a self-centered, narcissistic way, which limits your children’s freedom. You are training your children to be caretakers, to give themselves up for others’ needs and not consider their own.
The challenge of loving parenting is to have the courage to role-model behavior that is personally responsible, rather than being a taker or caretaker. This is your best chance for bringing up personally responsible children. However, you need to remember that you cannot do everything “right” as a parent, that your children are on their own path, their own soul’s journey. They will make their own choices to be loving or unloving, responsible or irresponsible. You can influence their choices by being loving to yourself and them, but you can’t control them. They have free will, just as you do, to choose who they want to be each moment of their lives. All you can do is the very best you can to role model loving, personally responsible behavior – behavior that supports your own and your children’s highest good, and well as the highest good of all.
I’ve always been a very courageous person in many ways, but I feel very sad that I wasn’t courageous as a parent to my three children. Inner Bonding wasn’t given to Dr. Erika and me until my children were 12, 15, and 17. Until then, I was a caretaker for them and for everyone, role-modeling completely disrespecting myself and my own needs. Not knowing how to love myself, I wasn’t a loving role-model for my children. Like so many of my clients, I so wish I had known about Inner Bonding before having my children. I would have been a completely different parent, and my children would have greatly benefitted from my loving role-modeling.
However, it’s never too late to heal and you might always have some influence on your children, even if they are adults. I’m delighted with the wonderful relationship I have with my granddaughter, who is so much like me. She loves being on our ranch and we love having her here, and it feels wonderful to be able to be loving with her in a way I was not able to be with my children before practicing Inner Bonding.
I’m also deeply gratified at my ability to love myself and share my love with the important people in my life, and with others who are open. I’m so grateful for Inner Bonding, which has been deeply life-changing for me. I’m grateful for my inner peace, my lightness of being, my creativity, my health, my high energy, my clear mind at 82 years old, and my laughter and joy. I know I would not be experiencing such a blessed life if I hadn’t had the courage to practice Inner Bonding and learn to love myself and others. I continue to practice Inner Bonding all day, every day, staying tuned into my feelings, listen to them and taking responsibility for them, and staying tuned into my higher guidance, asking all day long, “What is loving to me now? What is in my highest good and the highest good of all right now?”
If you are resistant to learning to love yourself and share your love with others, I encourage you to consciously choose courage. I encourage you to not allow fear to get in the way of learning to love.
When you choose the courage to love, you will find yourself deeply motivated to practice Inner Bonding, learning to love yourself so that you can share your love with others, and experience the greatest joy in life.
I hope you take advantage of all the free and paid resources we have for you at https://www.innerbonding.com.
I hope you also take my 30-Day at-home Course to learn to love yourself. “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”