Discover that opportunities to choose love occur in each moment, and that loving yourself and sharing your love with others is not about nature vs. nurture, but about nature and nurture. Each moment that you choose to make loving your highest priority, you will feel wholeness and joy.
I want to first share with you my experience with my client, Carrie. I had been working with Carrie on and off for a few months. She had contacted me for help after her boyfriend, Joel, broke up with her, and she worked very hard on learning to love herself – until she got back with Joel. Then her Inner Bonding work stopped, and she went right back to abandoning herself and making Joel responsible for her feeling lovable and worthy.
Now she was back working with me because Joel had broken up with her again, but she was still in resistance to loving herself.
We explored why she isn’t devoted to loving herself – why it’s so much more important to her to get love than to be loving with herself and others. Almost all her behavior with Joel was geared to having control over getting him to love her, and it obviously wasn’t working for her. She was miserable.
While she seemed motivated to focus on loving herself, her underlying motive wasn’t about becoming a more loving person for the sake of her soul’s journey toward evolving in her ability to love. Her underlying motive was still to get love, which got revealed in this statement: “If I learn to love myself, then will I be able to feel loved in a relationship?”
Her agenda in loving herself was still to be able to get love, and this doesn’t work. She won’t keep up the work unless her highest priority is to be a loving person, starting with loving herself and then sharing her love with others.
Have you found yourself in this situation – being motivated to learn to love yourself only when you are unhappy or when a relationship has ended? You might want to explore why love isn’t your highest priority – why getting love is more important than being loving.
Most of us don’t know how to love because we had no role modeling for it. I certainly didn’t know how when spirit first brought us Inner Bonding and I realized that I needed to love myself. The good news is that we don’t have to know how, but we do need to be open to learning how. When you really want to be a loving person, which has to start with yourself, and you want to know what’s loving to you and to others, and you ask your higher self with a sincere desire to learn, ideas will pop into your mind about what’s loving – just as they do with a new parent of a baby when the parent truly wants to be loving with the baby but has no experience with babies.
A few years back, Dr. Erika Chopich and I had a very interesting experience. A major Korean broadcasting company, The Educational Broadcasting System Korea, contacted us to do a documentary with them on anger management, inner child work and personal growth. They came all the way from Korea to film us for two hours.
The producer sat across from Erika and me and asked us questions, and Erika and I spontaneously answered them. One of the questions was about the relationship between the inner child and the loving adult.
Erika answered the question and she said something I’d never heard before:
“People talk about the difference between nature and nurture. The inner child is our nature, and the loving adult is the nurture.”
I looked at her wide-eyed. “Where did that come from?” I whispered between questions. “I don’t know!” she smilingly answered. Felix, the Korean man who was asking the questions, smiled as he took in this information. He was obviously learning a lot and enjoying this time with us.
I love this simple way of understanding the relationship between our inner child and our loving adult: Our loving adult nurtures our true nature!
Our true nature is, of course, the aspect of us created in the image of God – our lovingness, kindness, compassion, creativity, passion, aliveness, joy, gifts, talents, feelings, and sensitivity. It is our beautiful, magnificent true soul self.
Unfortunately, most of our parents didn’t know how to see our loving essence, so they didn’t nurture our nature.
We came into this world full of love and wonder. Instead of nurturing this and helping us expand in our ability to love, many of our parents projected their wounded self on to us, treating us as if there was something wrong with us. When our true nature is not nurtured by our environment, we lose touch with it. Most of us absorbed the wounded selves of our parents or other caregivers, and we learned to identify with our wounded self, coming to believe that this is who we are. The more we develop our wounded self and lose touch with our true nature, the easier it becomes to do harm to ourselves and others. This is where most people are when they start a healing process.
The good news is that while our true loving nature might be buried, it’s not gone. It’s always with us, covered up by our wounded self. As we learn and practice Inner Bonding, gradually developing our loving adult and healing the false beliefs of our wounded self, we become more and more aware of the beauty of our true nature.
Whatever nurtures our true nature is what is loving to ourselves, and it is the responsibility of our loving adult to connect with our spiritual guidance and discover what is most nurturing to ourselves – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As we learn to value and nurture our essence, we create the expansiveness and spaciousness to fully express our love, because our true nature, our soul, is love.
I’ve often wondered why is it that many people feel they know how to love an actual child or a beloved pet, but they often ask me, “How do I love myself?”
The real issue is not so much ‘how’ but intention. Even if it is very important to you to be a loving parent to your child or your pet, you will probably not do a perfect job – whatever that is – but your intention to be loving will motivate you to continue to learn about being a loving parent. You will learn from your mistakes, and you will likely not give up and give your child away or your pet away. You might read about the ‘how’ and keep practicing so that you feel better and better about being able to be loving to your child or to your pet.
It’s exactly the same for loving yourself. When we first start, we don’t know what we are doing. But if we are to cultivate our ability to love and reach a place within where we can give our heartfelt, powerful love to others, we need to take that same depth of love and bring it within.
There is truly nothing more fulfilling than offering others our heartfelt, powerful love. To have that quality of love, we need to open to learning about loving ourselves with our guidance and learn to take loving action for ourselves. This is what allows us to access the heartfelt powerful love that we can then offer to others.
We have so many opportunities in life to choose love over control. Each moment is an opportunity to decide who we want to be – loving to ourselves and others, or controlling, avoiding, and protecting against pain. What if loving were your highest priority? What difference would it make in your life to choose love as your highest priority rather than getting love and avoiding pain as your highest priority? Imagine what our planet would be like if we all chose love as our highest priority.
The challenge is, of course, to remain conscious of these choices, rather than to go on automatic pilot. When I feel anything less than peaceful inside, I know that I’ve gotten off track in my thinking. What a blessing to have such an instant feedback system as my feelings! My feelings are never wrong – they always let me know instantly whether my thoughts and actions are loving or unloving.
When I focus on how blessed and privileged I am for whatever I do in a day, I feel so full of love that I think I might burst! I love this feeling so much! This is what motivates me to stay conscious and in a high frequency – moment by moment. And the more I choose love each moment, the easier it is to remember to choose love in the next moment.
One of my favorite quotes is this one by Emmet Fox”
“It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all…If you could only love enough, you could be the happiest and most powerful person in the world…”
This quote is hanging on the wall in my office, and it always moves me. However, there is twist here that is vitally important: If you love in order to be powerful, then what you are doing isn’t loving.
Here is where the trickiness of the wounded self comes into play.
The wounded self is about a particular kind of power – the power to control others and outcomes. When the wounded self hears that “If you could only love enough, you could be the most powerful person in the world,” then it wants to act loving to be powerful. But once love gets attached to an outcome, then it is no longer love – it’s control.
The huge challenge in life is to love for the sake of love and not get attached to outcomes. The wounded self says that:
- If I love enough then I will get love.
- If I love enough then I will find the relationship of my dreams.
- If I love enough then I will be powerful enough to get rich.
Here is the trickiness of this: These statements are generally true, but if you try to love enough to get these outcomes, then whatever you are doing that you think is love isn’t love.
Our behavior is loving only when we are loving for the sake of loving, not for any expected outcome. If we are behaving in what we think is a loving way, but we have an outcome attached, then even though our behavior may look loving, it isn’t, because that which is love has no agenda. It is unconditional – meaning there are no expectations attached to it and no conditions under which it goes away.
We are truly loving when we are living in this present moment, allowing the love that is God to be expressed through us without any agenda other than for the sake of our soul’s journey on the planet – which is to evolve in our ability to love.
In the light of this, there are a couple of other quotes from Emmet Fox that are relevant:
“You must not allow yourself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought.”
“You must not under any pretense allow your mind to dwell on any thought that is not positive, constructive, optimistic, kind.”
Is it kind to yourself to allow your wounded self to dwell for a single moment on thoughts that scare you, that make you feel anxious, depressed, angry, jealous, shamed, or guilty?
You will not be able to be an instrument of God’s love on the planet and fulfill your soul’s journey until you start loving yourself. If you practice staying in Step One of Inner Bonding, being present in your body, willing to feel your feelings and take responsibility for them, then the moment you feel anything other than peace inside, you can immediately notice your unloving thought and change it to a true, kind thought – not in an attempt to manifest anything, but only for the sake of evolving in love.
Sometimes, having an arsenal of positive thoughts at your disposal is helpful – thoughts such as “I let go and let God”, “God, bless me with your Grace,” or “I am love,” When I say these over and over, they work well for me. I encourage you to find those thoughts and prayers that move you instantly out of your wounded self and into love.
When you detach “love” from outcomes, then the outcome is joy and a feeling of wholeness.
We feel whole when we feel:
- Full inside rather than empty
- Peaceful rather than anxious
- Worthy and lovable rather than unworthy and unlovable
- Generous rather than greedy
- Loving rather than needy
- Happy rather than miserable
- A sense of Oneness rather than separateness
- Inwardly powerful rather than victimized
- Secure rather than insecure
- Faith rather than fear
- Giving rather than self-absorbed
We get to wholeness through being holy, which means that we choose to be instruments of love – expressing God-that-is-love – with ourselves and with others.
We chose holiness, which leads to wholeness, when we consciously and consistently choose the intent to learn about what is loving to ourselves and to others.
We are holy when we are loving, and it’s being loving that leads to wholeness.
However, it is true that we need to be loved to be loving. The common mistake most people make is believing that we need to be loved by a person rather than by our Source. Ideally, we experienced loving care from our parents when we were very young, preparing us for the ups and downs of life. But as adults, even if that parental love is lacking, we have the choice to heal ourselves, finding that love in spirit. When we neglect this healing work, and instead believe that we need another’s love to feel whole, we move into the intent to control getting that love. The moment we control, we block the love that is always here for us.
How would you live differently if you knew that you are being loved each and every moment? If you knew that love was always here for you, what difference would that make in your choices? If you knew that by choosing to love you would feel whole, how different would you be with the people in your life?
Each moment that you choose to make loving your highest priority, you will feel the wholeness that comes from holiness. Any time you are not feeling the fullness of peace inside, your intent is to control and avoid. Your feelings of emptiness, anxiety, depression, anger, and aloneness are telling you that you are disconnected from your source – that you have abandoned yourself and you are disconnected from love.
Our essence feels loved and safe when we are deeply connected with our spiritual source of love. The moment we move out of the intent to love ourselves and others, and into the intent to protect against pain through controlling our feelings, or controlling others and outcomes, we feel anxious. Our inner guidance – our inner child, our true soul self – wants nothing more than to feel connected with our spiritual source of love, and immediately feels lost, empty, alone, anxious, angry, depressed, and scared when we are disconnected from our source of love. It is very scary for our essence to be disconnected from our source of love, and this anxiety is letting us know that we are disconnected.
To get back to wholeness, choose holiness by making being loving more important to you than controlling people and outcomes. The moment you make this choice, you will reconnect with your spiritual source of love and feel the peace and fullness of that connection.
In order to consciously choose love as your highest priority, you need to be aware of your intention. As many of you already know, the Inner Bonding process teaches that there are only two possible intentions in any given moment: the intent to learn about loving yourself and others, and the intent to protect against pain with various forms of controlling behavior.
When you consciously choose the intent to learn about loving yourself and others, your mind opens and becomes a receiver of the information you need to support yourself in loving. Consciously choosing the intent to learn is the most powerful thing we can do. When we consciously choose the intent to learn, we open ourselves to our higher guidance, our source of love, truth, wisdom, peace, and joy.
When we unconsciously choose the intent to control, we shut off access to love and truth. Our mind closes and becomes like a closed-circuit TV – recycling the old information that has been programmed into our mind. We become stuck in our limited mind, operating from the false beliefs that we learned as we were growing up. We become stuck in the past, recreating old hurts that we now manifest in the present and future.
The challenge is to remember to open to learning about love, because our unconscious automatic choice is to control.
Most people immediately, and unconsciously, choose the intent to control to avoid pain, the moment they feel any anxiety. The problem is that the intent to control is self-abandoning, always causing even more fear, anxiety, or depression. Instead of learning about the vital information your feelings are giving you so that you can better love yourself and others, you are ignoring or suppressing this vital source of information.
Consciously choosing your intention is the essence of free will, and it determines much of how you feel and what actions you take. It’s often challenging to remember that we have a choice, moment by moment.
How can you remember to consciously choose the intent to learn? How can you remember, the moment you feel any fear, anxiety, or any stress, to open to learning about what you are thinking or doing that is creating this stress? What can you do to stop your automatic reactive controlling behavior?
First of all, you need to accept that this is a lifetime practice – not something that will occur quickly. We have all been practicing the intent to control for most of our lives, so it will take much practice to even remember that there is another choice.
The place to start is to practice Step One of Inner Bonding throughout the day – noticing your feelings. Perhaps wearing a rubber band that you can snap on your wrist will remind you to check inside to see how you are feeling. You cannot begin to learn about your thoughts and actions that are causing your painful feelings until you are aware of your painful feelings. You cannot stop your addictive anesthetics until you are WILLING to feel your painful feelings and learn how to take responsibility for them.
If you decide that you are willing to feel your feelings, that willingness will lead you to becoming more and more conscious of your feelings. This is the beginning of being able to consciously choose your intent to learn about loving yourself and others. This is the beginning of making loving your highest priority.
We offer many ways to learn to make love your highest priority.
You can take my 30-Day course, “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”
You can learn from our very in-depth online program, SelfQuest, at https://selfquest.com.
For an in-depth and inexpensive way of learning to make loving your highest priority, see my book: “The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance.”
And, as always, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.
I’m sending you my love and my blessings.