The Struggle With Loneliness

Many of us seem to struggle with loneliness. But why? In my book, Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. There is a chapter on Love and Loneliness. I mention there’s a contributing factor to many illnesses today, and this factor is one you would likely overlook.

It gets little society attention, yet  research is showing it’s impacting our lives in  subtle and tragic ways. I believe the number one illness today is: Loneliness – Social Isolation.

A disconnect with ourselves and each other creates quiet, yet dangerous traits of social divide and discontent.

For many people today, there appears to be a greater strain and avoidance to connect with ourselves, each other, and with our Source (divine). The consequences of this disconnect for us and our planet’s well-being is becoming more apparent and more critical with each passing day.

Studies are now showing, the loneliness factor is a link to many major illnesses and disorders, such as: high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, depression, etc.

In addition, loneliness contributes to many forms of addictions, like: drugs, alcohol, gambling, obsessive internet use and internet porn. Even crime and violent behavior toward others and/or self like: mass shootings or suicide have a connection to loneliness.

Lonely in Relationship

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.—Mother Teresa

Many people in relationship or friendships often speak of being lonely. Not cared about, not understood and/or appreciated for who they are, and what they offer to the relationship.

Two Relationship Fears

There are two common relationship fears:
1. The fear of being Alone.
2. Fear of being Smothered.

Most people with stay in a unhealthy relationship due to fear of being alone. However, people will likely leave a relationship or friendship sooner, if they feel they are being smothered in it.

Fear keeps us stuck in what we don’t want and is unhealthy for us.

Fear of loneliness often keeps people in loveless and unhealthy relationships. People stay in what they believe is familiar, for this is perceived as safe and secure. However, it’s really a false sense of security.  Staying in what’s familiar, yet unloving, unhealthy, perhaps even dangerous; will in time weaken our immune system. Thus, making us more susceptible to physical and/or emotional struggles and dis-ease.

The Avoidance of Self

Many people go into relationship as a way to avoid themselves. I don’t love or value myself, so I make the person I’m in relationship with, responsible for my happiness. They are in my life to full my own inner void of discontent.

To make others responsible for my own happiness, is a setup for disappointment, conflict and much discord in the relationship.

If we don’t first and foremost love ourselves and have a degree of inner happiness, we will consciously and especially unconsciously, create expectations and conditions as to how the other person is to love and be in relationship with us.

There is a paradox when it comes to the concept of relationship and loneliness.
The reality is, all relationships end, ultimately in the physical sense, with death. So at some point we will be alone in the loss of a relationship. It is through being alone, however, that we have the opportunity to learn to have a loving, accepting and compassionate relationship with ourselves.

When you can be alone and not be lonely. You will have learned self-love and inner contentment.

For when we are loving and accepting with ourselves, we have filled our inner void. We are comfortable with ourselves. So we are not needy or dependent on others for our happiness and contentment. We then will freely extend this love and acceptance to others. This is the hallmark of a quality and healthy relationship.

We can be happy in a relationship, but the person we are in relationship with; is not to be made responsible for our own happiness. That’s our own inside job.

My Own Contemplation

In my 25 plus years in the human service and development fields. I’ve concluded that the main reason for one’s feelings of loneliness is spiritual disconnect, i.e. a loss of faith and connection in a power greater than one self.

This disconnection manifests itself in the unwillingness and/or avoidance to connect with Source. This in turn, creates a loss of faith and belief in oneself. This disconnect with self and a higher power, will than manifest into the disconnect of meaningful and healthy connection with others.

This disconnect, results in seeing the world and one’s life through the lens of fear, separation, neediness and unworthiness.

I believe spiritual disconnection and the loneliness that comes from it, are the result of being defined by our ego’s self-created negative story, which we repeat to ourselves and others.

Spiritual disconnect also creates a lack of awareness and the openness to explore and ultimately answer the fundamental spiritual questions: Who Am I?  Why am I here? What’s my purpose?

When we feel no relationship with Source, these questions seem to have little meaning and merit to explore and answer. Without the recognition that we come from love and the infinite Source of the universe, we can neglect a meaningful sense connection, sense of purpose or direction in life.

We have a void in the awareness and appreciation of the spirit within us; which creates low self-esteem (the perception and belief of separation, the loss of the spirit within).

The Illusion of Separation

The perception and belief of separation is the main driver of our ego, its a created illusion, we can make very real. Separation and loneliness doesn’t exist.  The reality is, we are included and surrounded by an infinite universe and all that makes it be. We are the universe and the universe is us.

Just because someone in your life, rejected you, abandoned you, betrayed you, etc. doesn’t mean the entire world or universe did the same. Our ego and shadow aspects tends to project an ‘all or nothing”,  “I feel it, therefore I  believe it” belief system, that creates a “must be true” way of being and living.

We are called within our wounds and belief of separation to acknowledge, we have forgotten the truth of our essence. We are called to open our eyes and heart more fully to see and embrace the higher truth.

We are included, we do matter… We are Love, innocence and goodness. This is our remembering. 

Loneliness and Our Well-Being

On physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual levels we are designed to connect with each other, our world and universe. Relating is part of our essence as a human energy system.

Research, indicates that loneliness has become a social epidemic. It’s affecting our health and sense of well-being, leaving many to feel alone, deprived and powerless.

Driven to Distraction

There is another dynamic happening that contributes to loneliness―the explosion and abundance of technology―the way we connect, communicate and entertain ourselves. Advances in technology, have in one sense been very helpful, but the more we’re driven to connect through computers and iPhones, we lose a sense of personal understanding, of our need for each other and for real, genuine human connection. These distractions have increasingly created superficial connections with each other.

Recent studies tell us that our iPhones, computers and video games are subtle yet dangerous obsessions, leading to addictions for both adults and youth. Studies show that when people’s iPhone or computers are taken away for three or four days, many of the subjects had withdrawal symptoms similar to someone who has a gambling or drug addiction.

Without the use of the phone or Internet, the subjects became anxious, easily agitated and depressed. Many people obsessed with cell phone or Internet use are doing so to escape loneliness and boredom. Yet, it’s making them more isolated and unhappy.

Distraction seems to be a common and acceptable norm today. Have you noticed yourself or seen others sitting next to each other, and their conversing by texting each other. Or one person is talking trying to converse with the person next to them; while the other person is on their phone texting or looking at their email, not paying attention to person they are physically next to?

Research shows the average person looks down at their phone 150 times per day, this amounts to nearly 4 years of their life. That’s just your phone, if you included looking at your laptop iPod, TV, etc. How many more months or years are added to looking down?

Our man-made distractions are diversions from the infinite love and connection available to us. These distractions and diversions can cause us to have a sad, lonely heart, and may lead us into states of anxiety and depression. Our distractions are superficial ways of finding meaning and purpose in our life.

Create Balance

To reduce the negative effects of these distractions, and enhance quality human connection, the value of balance becomes apparent.

To create balance we need a sense of connection and support. We are first and foremost spiritual beings. So we must create time and opportunity for genuine connection.

Here are some helpful tips for creating this balance and meaningful connection:

  • Be aware. Discipline yourself to strike a healthy balance between the use of technology, your interpersonal relationships and work commitments.
  • Commit to more face to face time/interaction rather than just Face time through social media use.
  • Integral to maintaining this balance is commitment to periods of quiet reflection and spiritual retreat, either alone, in groups or both.
  • Take walks or other mind, body, spirit practices, i.e. meditation, yoga, gardening.
  • Look up and reach out to your neighbor, your world and the universe.
  • Get to know your neighbor and be a good/helpful neighbor.
  • Join or start a meetup group, volunteer, throw a party.
  • Live more from your heart-center. Practice gratitude and be of service.
  • Connect with your feelings and emotions and learn from them.
  • Love and support yourself, others and our planet. As spiritual beings, we are designed to create soul-full communion and meaning in our lives.

In Closing

Our current times of stress, uncertainty and extremes call us to a deeper more accepting and compassionate connection with our self, our neighbors, our planet and our Creator.

We are called to create healthier balance between use of technology and true social connection. Life and its experiences invite us to come together in love, acceptance and unity.

Loneliness is the result of distractions, judgment, fear and exclusion.
Connection, however, is grounded in love, attention, acceptance and inclusion.

The universe exists through inner connectedness and community. We yearn to experience a deeper connection and intimacy with Source, ourselves and others—it’s where we come from—our human nature within our divine nature.

So out of love, reach out and connect – touch someone. This promotes a happy, healthy life and friendly planet.  Namaste

 


Are you struggling loneliness and self-love? Are you struggling with grief from lost of a loving relationship? Help is just a phone call or email away. Please contact David Schroeder if you would like assistance with your acceptance and change issues and how to work through them. David offers life transition and spiritual growth counseling and coaching in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at 
transitionpathways.com. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and move through life transitions.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey is available through online book stores: balboapress.comamazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

References:

  1. Brigham Young University. Medical Research: Strong Relationships with Friends/Family Decreases Risk of Death. www.pr.com/press-release/251477. 2010.
  2. Holmes, Leonard. Loneliness Impairs the Immune System. www.mentalhealth.about.com/od/research/a/lonely/flu.htm. 2005.

 

She Desires Connection & Love – He Desires Freedom & Space

There are several gender differences between men and women. However, there is one gender difference that is often neglected and misunderstood. Which if not understood and addressed; will create misunderstanding and conflict between the couple.

In this blog, I offer you the gender difference and dynamic of love and freedom. In order to have a healthy and thriving relationship, this common dynamic, is critical to understand and work through with your partner.

A Gender Difference Often Overlooked and Misunderstood

Typically, the women desires connection and love in the relationship. And generally, the man is seeking freedom, i.e. to be free of restraints and obligations of the relationship.

Generally, women thrive on a sense of connection with a partner, their children, friends and family. Who they are with is important and valued. The female is the nurturer and takes on a sense of responsibility and accountability to the relationship.

Is it true ladies, that in an intimate relationship, your desire is for deep and trusting love? You want to be able to relax with your partner in giving love and being loved. You want to feel valued and know you are special in his eyes and heart.

With men, they typically relate more to status, especially in their work. Us men, we assume our partner relationship is working, just by the fact that we are in it. However, many men feel overwhelmed and flooded by the obligations and responsibilities that they perceive as demands of relationship, and needing to please his partner. In this, men will desire and need the feeling of space and freedom.

Fair to say men, we struggle with deep and intimate love, it’s confusing, overwhelming and darn right scary?

Generally, its often the man who perceives, thus fears relationship commitment, because he may view it as a loss of his freedom. Men tend to avoid love and true connection in relationship, by way of having a “man cave” being overly involved with work, their toys, sports, or hanging out with the guys.

The need for freedom and space is often a way for him to process his feelings and frustrations of relationship, and his way of trying to figure the relationship out.

The freedom that many men seek, however, is really the fear of love and intimacy, disguised as freedom.

She Comes More from the Emotional and Heart-Centered Side

Women want their thoughts respected, but more importantly, she wants to be listened too, and also have her feelings acknowledged and respected.  This is a way she feels loved, supported and connected.

Men Mainly Need Their Thoughts Respected

Typically, men are not that connected with feelings. Many men look at life and relationships more from the logic side, he wants “to fix” things when you are hurting. Most men, take things literally. That’s why ladies, men often can’t read what you are thinking or feeling, because they are more literal in thinking. So when you say to your man, didn’t you realize what I needed? The answer most often will be “no.”

Out of fear and need for control, many men have learned to close off their heart. They have a difficult time connecting with their partner on emotional and intimate levels. Boys to men learn growing up: “boys don’t cry”, “suck it up”, “be a man.” We are programmed to wall off our feelings; so we lose touch with them and healthy ways to express them. Feelings become something more to fear and avoid than express. Or the expression is more destructive than healthy.

Boys to men, learn through competitive sports, their occupation and perhaps going to war, that there’s no strength in feelings, this will not give you the competitive edge and being too emotional will get you killed on the battle field.

So they learn to fear their feelings, to deny and bury them. They become more safe and free in their logic and thinking mind, not so much their intuitive and heart-centered state. This becomes a sense of freedom to them, yet it’s really a tragic society programming, in which the boy to man loses touch with the deeper self. Which in turn impedes on the ability and willingness to connect more deeply with the female.

So ladies, if you don’t tell him in a basic and literal way what you need or don’t need, they most likely won’t intuitively know what you are thinking or feeling.

Don’t assume your man knows what you are thinking/feeling, for he doesn’t or he doesn’t trust or believe in what his intuition might be telling him. He goes more by the logical and survival thinking parts of his brain.

The Dynamic of Love and Freedom

If the dynamic and dance of the female desire for love and males desire for freedom is not acknowledged, understood and addressed in the relationship, this dynamic often becomes a major cause of relationship problems and conflict. When the man is driven more toward space and freedom and the women is driven toward connection and love, neither has their needs met.

So confusion, misunderstanding, and perhaps resentment will likely surface between you. He is threatened by the intensity of her desire for love and her willingness to offer love. She is threatened by his lack of attention to her and his emotional disconnect with her.

Love and freedom are connected parts of a whole, each requires the other. A lack of love harms freedom; a lack of freedom harms love.

Realize in the desire for love or freedom, neither is right or wrong. Some of it is biological and much of this is learned behaviors, due to society and family programming.

The Key

The key is for men to accept their emotional disconnect, while learning to become comfortable with their own feelings again, and the healthy expression of them. To understand and learn to appreciate the women’s desire for connection and love. To practice, connecting and loving her unconditionally and without fear.

If you spend too much time and energy in the man cave, at the office, or with the guys, she will be unhappy, angry and feel disconnected and unloved. You will in time lose her.

Ladies, the more you hound him, the more confused, scared, angry and avoiding  he will become. He will go deeper into his cave to protect himself.  So just wait at the door and encourage him to connect with you.

Men, your role is to come out of the cave, sooner rather than later. The longer you avoid her and preoccupy yourself, the more she perceives this as: you don’t love or care about her. This will cause her to likely nag you even more. She does this because she cares about you and the relationship.

Men, You Should Worry More When She Doesn’t Nag You

Men, when she stops nagging you or testing you for your love and connection, this may be a sign she’s moving away emotionally and physically from the relationship. Meaning, she’s likely having an affair and/or has decided to end your relationship.

Love Making

The experience of love making, is a classic example of the women’s desire for connection and love. And the man’s desire for freedom which comes through sexual release i.e. release of anxiety through sexual release (ejaculation) equals freedom from life’s anxiety/pressure.

For most women, love making is more about the foreplay, kissing and cuddling before and after intercourse. This is how they get aroused, create connection and experience the giving and receiving of love.

For most men, however, we desire to get right to the act of intercourse, with little time needed for the foreplay. We just want the freedom that comes from the release. After the release we often go fast asleep, leaving her physically and emotionally disconnected, perhaps even feeling used.

In Closing

Seek to explore and understand this relationship dynamic and interplay of love and freedom. Its a natural dynamic, even gay and lesbian couples will have this interplay of love and freedom. As one partner will likely desire more freedom, while the other desires connection and love.

The more you understand and accept this love or freedom need and dynamic, the more likely you will be open and willing to balance these needs between the two of you.

Ladies as nurtures, its important to love and care for yourself as much as you may love and care for others. The greater your self-love, the less dependent you will be for others to love you. As the women is more loving and secure within herself. This offers the man a degree of freedom to be himself, have his need for space.

The man, for his part should recognize the importance and desire for his partner to feel his sense of connection and love to and for her. As the man learns to be comfortable with deeper connection and love, he will begin to feel more comfortable with loving her more openly and freely.

Remember guys, she desires you to apprecaite her and hold her in your thoughts and heart. This will help her feel relaxed and free in loving herself and loving her man.

For love is freedom and freedom is love. 

 

Your comments are welcomed, and sign up to receive future blogs below.

 

Would you like to improve your relationship dynamic and interactions? I’m just a phone call or email away.  David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed clinical and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit David’s website: transitionpathways.com David’s book, Just Be Love is available through online bookstores: balboapress.com/bookstore,  amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

Living from the Heart: Understanding Heart Coherence

We live in a world, where the intellect and needing things proven is given high value and praised. This is all well and good, yet it creates a void of heart wisdom. Understanding and placing more value on the power and intelligence of the heart, would assist us in solving problems from a higher level than where they were created, and help create a more peaceful world individually and collectively.

Many people out of protection from the difficult and painful life experiences, wall off their heart for protection from further hurt. To close off the heart is to kink our vital life force energy and vitality. In this, we can become fearful, resistant, angry and closed to love, goodness and abundance. It blocks the higher wisdom and confidence to assist us in life’s journey.

Research over the past 10 years, most notably by the institute of HeartMath heartmath.org, tells us, that the heart is really the brain’s of the human body. Due to the fact that it has its own neurons, as many if not more than the brain in our head. That there is more communication going on from the heart to our head and rest of the body as there is communication going on from our head to heart.

The heart is the most powerful and intelligent organ in the body. Energetically the heart’s electrical field is 60 times greater in amplitude than one’s brain waves.

The heart is also the seat of our true and higher awareness. I like to think of awareness as a step above and beyond consciousness. Because, consciousness needs awareness, but awareness does not need consciousness.

This is true, due to people who have a near death experience or are in a coma state, they are not conscious, yet they are very much aware of what’s happening in and around them. As they often share this when and if they come out of the coma or near death state.

Did You Know?

  • The heart is the first organ formed in the fetus, it starts to beat before the brain is totally form.
  • Using an average of 80 heart beats per minute. The heart beats approx. 4,800 times per hour, That’s over 115,000 heart beats per day and 42 million beats a year.
  • Your heart pumps out 2 ounces of blood with every heartbeat. Adding up to nearly 2,500 gallons of blood daily.
  • Your heartbeats with enough strength to shoot blood a distance of 30 feet.

The Human Energy System

Energetically, the heart is the mediator and divine line of our seven main energy centers. These seven main energy centers in the body are called Chakras.
Our three earthly energy centers (chakras) are below the heart chakra and there are three heavenly energy centers (chakras) above the heart.

The heart can be seen as the anchor to our humanness (earthly lower chakras) and the bridge to our higher and wiser heavenly chakras.

Many spiritual teachers and masters from many spiritual traditions, place much value and attention to the heart.  The book of Proverbs states: “As a he think it in his heart, so is he.” What we think and hold in our hearts has much more power and influence over us, than what’s in our mind; specifically our lower ego mind. 

So What is Heart Coherence?

  • The state of heart, mind and emotions being in energetic alignment and harmony.
  • The state of positive, physical, mental and emotional stability and self-regulation.
  • The state of being in the thoughts of Appreciation, Gratitude, Compassion and Care.

Heart Coherence Meditation

Doing rhythmic and focused breathing, in through your nose and gently out the mouth. As you become relaxed and centered, while staying with the breath, begin to focus your attention on your heart, breathing into your heart, allowing it to open. Now focus on the words and their meanings of: Appreciation, Gratitude, Compassion and Care. This meditation opens the heart, steadies the heart rate; creating a deep relaxed and peaceful mind.

The more you practice this meditation, the easier you can get into heart coherence in daily life, without meditation, just by focusing on rhythmic breathing and going into thoughts of: Appreciation, Gratitude, Compassion and Care.

Benefits of Heart Cohearence

  • Deep relaxation
  • A steady heart rate
  • Feeling of being grounded, centered and connected
  • Allows for clear thinking, improved confidence and positive problem-solving
  • You become more open, free, accepting and caring to yourself and others
  • More focused on what’s truly important and healthy in life. You choose to focus more on what sustains you, not what drains you.

 

In closing, the importance today with balancing being in our intellect (the thinking state) with being in our hearts (the emotional state), is vital to one’s health and well-being. Being in the thoughts and actions of Appreciation, Gratitude, Acceptance, Compassion and Care; is part of the path toward expanding one’s awareness, living a more authentic life and spreading kindness to the world. Its part of humanities evolution and growth as spiritual beings, having this human experience.  

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed clinical and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit David’s website: transitionpathways.com David’s book, Just Be Love is available through online bookstores: balboapress.com/bookstore,  amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

Don’t Just Fall in Love – Let us Rise as Love

Want to understand a higher version of love?  Read on.

Love is the essence of our soul energy, and the quest of the human condition. We are wired for connection and love. However, some people struggle with loving themselves, so they seek love and acceptance mostly from outside of themselves. Making others the object of their belief, that they “lack” and therefore, “need.” Hence, the ego concept and desire to “Fall in Love” comes to be.

To be loved and seen as worthy in the eyes and heart of another person; is the search many pursue. Yet, on the spiritual level, to fall in love, is to lose the self for another. This often creates a difficult and painful ego trap. It can create a relationship dynamic and behaviors of the need to please, for love and attention. Or the need for control, to be right, and have power over another. This is conditional love – a love by possession.

Consider, from the higher soul level perspective, there is no need or lack. Need and lack, are ego perceptions and beliefs, so an illusion. Given this reality, I ask: Do we really need to fall into something we already are? We come from the energy of love, so love is who we are. Our true quest should be: To Awaken and Rise as Love.

Love is Freedom

True and divine love is unconditional and offers freedom. To awaken – To Rise and Just Be Love, is to be Free.

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, said it well: “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”

As human consciousness evolves, we are moving into higher dimensions of awareness and being. With this evolution, we are expanding in our understanding and experience of the higher knowing of love.

When we have the awareness: “I Am Love”, the search for love ends. In this paradigm shift, let us consider: Rising as love, is not about who we love. It’s that we love. Because love is who we are. 

With this knowing, it’s understanding that it’s not the Christ energy coming down to earth again. To awaken and rise as love, is individual and collective humanity, ascending in the energy and consciousness of love; to meet our beloved masters in the higher dimensions.

The Sufi leader and teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan said: “The higher you rise, the wider becomes the margin of your view.”

To rise as love, is to surrender our ego-centered will, in order to have the wider and more expanded perspective. It is to embrace and ascend in the energy and will of divine love. Divine love for me means: The unconditional love and acceptance of the spirit of all that is.

In this, we discover our beloved – the one we originate from. We also reunite with our soul, as our lower self transcends and unites with the higher self. Thus we mate with our own soul. This I believe, is the true meaning of the term: Soulmate. In this sacred reunion, we rise and expand in higher awareness of love and self-worth.

The Way to Inner and Outer Peace

To rise as love,  is to align with the divine father-mother, and embrace the oneness of all that is. To rise as love, is to offer acceptance, loving kindness and compassion to ourselves, and all that inhabits the earth. This creates the opportunity to form peaceful community with our fellow soul sisters and brothers.

So, let yourself, Rise as Love. This will be the remembering of your innocence, your worth and divinity. This is the path to inner peace, which creates peace on earth. It’s part of what souls in human form are here to do, while in this earth school.  Rise as Love & Peace, David

Please, share your thoughts or comments on this blog.

 

Want to learn and experience ways to rise as love? I’m a phone call or email away, to assist you. David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit David’s website: transitionpathways.com David’s book, Just Be Love is available through online bookstores: balboapress.com/bookstore,  amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

 

Gratitude: A Buffer to Life

Expressing gratitude, is a way of offering thanks and appreciation for what one has. It sees the glass half full, when life can seem half empty. This is especially critical in times of difficulty and pain. Gratitude, is a way to bring in some light into a dark and troubled time. Looking for and expressing gratitude is one of the most effective ways to move out a negative mood and move through a difficult situation. Gratitude opens our hearts and expands the fearful and limited mind, to one of appreciation and greater potential. Gratitude keeps us in the present moment.

Love is the way I walk in gratitude – A Course in Miracles  

The attitude of gratitude, cultivates self-worth and strengthens our connection to the divine and loving universe. It’s a way of showing care and appreciation toward someone or something, that what is offered is not taken for granted. An attitude of gratitude sparks, hope and desire, fosters commitment and determination.

With gratitude comes acceptance of what is, which demonstrates that we see the gift and the lesson within what was once a hardship. Gratitude allows us to see the situation from the soul and higher perspective. Acknowledging that despite the hardship and uncertainty of life, the universe always has our back.

Offering gratitude, is a way of expressing love and gives one the feeling of abundance. For when we give gratitude we receive, knowing, we’ve touched life and perhaps another human with loving kindness. Gratitudes fosters connection and relationships.

To be in gratitude is to focus on what sustains you, not what drains you.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward

Being in gratitude, offering thanks and kindness; should be part of our everyday practice and living. As Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas not far away. Let us be more mindful to take a few moments each day, to pause from our hectic lives; to express words of gratitude and thanks for what we do have in life. 

The simple things in life, what’s often called, (simple abundance) are often the things that truly offer the greatest pleasures and deeper meanings.

Giving gratitude each day, is a way to build your own physical, emotional and spiritual bank account. It’s a way to keep going through life’s complexities, changes and uncertainty. Gratitude is a buffer in life, and a way to inner joy and abundance in one’s life.

May your Thanksgiving be full of gratitude, joy and abundance!!

Leave a comment: What are you thankful for? Name 3 things you are grateful for in your life?

The Drama We Attract in Our Life

Do you ever wonder why you have drama in your life?  The answer to this question may relate to two factors:

1. You were born into a family.

2. The nature of life, is experiences. And many of our experiences revolve around interactions and relationships with people, especially family. Within these experiences, we develop core beliefs about ourselves, about relationship and life in general.

For your life experiences, especially in childhood, begin to shape and create your belief system and behavior patterns. We learn to take on a particular role in what’s commonly called the “Drama Triangle.”

The concept and dynamic of the “Drama Triangle” was first conceived by Dr. Stephen Karpman https://www.karpmandramatriangle.com/ in the 1960’s as a social model. Karpman’s triangle has been adapted for use in structural analysis, which defines roles people take on during conflict situations; also how it can become our go-to defense and protection mode in time of stress, change (uncertainty) or conflict. In recent years, Lynne Forrest https://www.lynneforrest.com/ has done much research and work with the drama triangle and she has some excellent information on this topic and its dynamics.

The 3 roles or faces in the triangle are the: Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor.  A person has one default or go-to role, but participants can and do switch roles depending on their perceptions and what gets triggered in them, while experiencing situations and interactions. As we experience life, it’s common that we all have played these roles from time to time.

Some people are so use to drama in their life, they view this as normal and a way of life, because they experienced this from early on in life. For some, if there isn’t drama going on in their life, they unconsciously will create conflict, so as to have drama, i.e. a sense of “normal” in their life.

Some who struggle with depression, will create a repeated pattern or cycle of depression to conflict/drama and back to depression. A person who struggles with chronic depression or victim energy; the conflict and drama part of the cycle moves that depressive energy perhaps into persecutor or fighter energy, which makes the person feel more alive for a time, until they fall back into the depressive part of the pattern.

Below, I offer a brief description, the mindsets and behaviors of the 3 roles in the triangle dynamic. I also offer some insight as to what’s needed to move oneself out of a particular role in the triangle. Included in the middle of this blog is a diagram of the drama triangle and the transformation to empowerment i.e. ways to step out of the particular drama roles.

The Victim: The victim is the central figure in the drama triangle, by their actions and reactions to stress, change or conflict. Their stance is: “Why me”, “Poor me”, and “I hate myself.” Behaviors: They are very needy, feeling and belief of helpless, hopeless, fearful, negativity, worry, complain, low self-esteem, and focus on self. They are very self-absorbed, yet have little to no awareness of this. They often feel rejected and/or abandoned. Yet, they have abandoned themselves, by way of not taking stock in themselves, not believing in themselves and their struggle with doing for themselves.

Victims often emotionally and physically drain others around them by their neediness and negativity. They have little to no physical or emotional energy or motivation. This creates the need for others to do for them, because they feel and believe they can’t do for themselves. Victims, use guilt and the projection of helplessness to manipulate others, especially a” rescuer” into doing for them. The victim needs a rescuer to come to their aid. So they will attract rescuer energy through their interactions and relationships.

The Rescuer: The rescuer’s stance and line is: “Let me help you” – “I can do this for you.”  The rescuer is the helper, and becomes the enabler in doing for others at the expense of themselves. Rescuer behaviors: needy, avoiding of self, focus on others, high energy. Rescuers have a strong need to be needed. If they are not helping others they feel guilty or shame. Rescuer thinking and behaviors usually comes about due to past experiences where they felt helpless or inadequate to assist someone.

To compensate, for this feeling of inadequacy and believing, “I should have done something or more.” They now make it their mindset and mission to “save the world.” and live to assist others in all ways and forms. They live a rapid pace in thinking, speech and behavior. The rescuer actually takes on this role as a way to avoid facing and dealing with their own struggles and problems. To protect their low self-esteem and insecurities their way of building themselves up is by constantly helping and doing for others.

Many people go into helping professions, such health care, teaching, customer service, entertainment,  as a way to avoid looking and dealing with their own struggles and pain.

The rescuer needs the victim to do for them, so they will often attract victim energy through their interactions and relationships. This gives the rescuer the perception of being of service, being needed. Rescuers often project a sense of entitlement to help others and speak of their sacrifice in order to help/save others. Due to their strong need to avoid themselves and conviction to assist others, they can become the “Martyr” as they sacrifice for others.

The Persecutor: (a .k. a. Fighter or Bully) Stance and mindset is: “I need to win.”  “It’s your fault.” “I hate you.” The Persecutor is angry controlling, critical, blaming, rigid, oppressive, and authoritative, feels entitled and needs to feel superior. The Persecutor struggles with taking responsibility for the way they hurt others. In their mind they feel justified, because they believe others deserve to be hurt, because they themselves are hurting. They often have past wounds of betrayal and injustice. Since the Persecutor was hurt in the past, they see a need to protect themselves in aggressive and demeaning ways. They view the world as a hostile and dangerous place. In order to survive, they need to be the aggressor and have power-over others.

The Persecutor needs the victim in order to have the power-over feeling and someone to blame. The Persecutor is also hiding their own insecurities and low self-worth. Their way of building themselves up is by tearing others down, especially emotionally, by put downs, sarcasm, etc.

How the Drama Unfolds

Consider, most of humanity is either in the victim or fighter energy and consciousness. As humans, with an ego, we struggle with taking responsibility for how we’ve learn to be in the world. We play the “Blame game.” Or we take on too much responsibility, owning more than our share.This is playing the “Shame game.” Shame and blame are the drivers of drama triangles dynamic.

Initially, a drama triangle unfolds when one person takes on the role of a victim and another person takes on the role of persecutor. The victim then feels the need to enlist other people into the conflict. This need invites a rescuer to enter the situation. These enrolled players take on roles of their own that are not fixed, and therefore various scenarios can occur. For example, as a situation unfolds into conflict, the victim might turn on the rescuer, the rescuer then switches to persecuting and the drama is in full swing.

From Victim

In reality, each role or face in the triangle: the persecutor, rescuer, and the victim, are all victims, just with different styles and ways of expression. Each role is acting out in selfish and entitled ways to get their own needs meant and reinforce their belief system. Each role with their mindset and behaviors in the long run, not only hurts or drains others; more importantly, they hurt themselves. Additionally, the role players, each have their own struggles and difficulty, with effectively coping with stress/change, effectively problem-solving and having healthy interactions and fulfilling relationships.

Each person playing the different roles struggles with guilt, yet on a deeper level each role actually struggles with shame. Although at first they wouldn’t admit this. You might be asking: What’s the difference between shame and guilt? In simple terms, guilt is what I’ve done or haven’t done. Shame is who I believe I am. Shame is much more paralyzing and in the energy of shame we need to protect ourselves more. Many say its guilt they are feeling when it’s really shame, because of who they believe and thus become in the experience, the emotions and beliefs they generate from the situation.

This diagram below, shows the 3 faces of victim-hood. The Victim is consumed and defined by their wounds turned to pain, becoming helpless and hopeless. The rescuer is the shadow mother – the caretaker, doesn’t want others to feel or be in pain. Rescuer seeks to fix the problem/pain. Which really is about avoiding their own pain and hardship. No growth come from this.  The persecutor is the shadow father energy, which needs to get even, to inflect pain, through anger and aggression.

The bottom part of the diagram is the way to transformation and empowerment. Each person chooses to take on a role that is more empowering both for themselves and others in the conflict or changing life experience.

The Transformation to Empowerment

Transformation happens, when each person openly acknowledges and admits to themselves and to someone else, their role in the drama triangle. With this acknowledgement, we begin to move toward acceptance and from this acceptance we begin to move forward. We begin to take responsibility for how we’ve shown up in life. This creates a sense of inner relief and creates the opportunity for change and transformation to happen.

Move from Victim energy to Creator energy:
 Person realizes the pain of being helpless and hopeless (victim) is greater than doing for themselves. The creator, now chooses to be the creator of their life, rather than a victim in their life. They take responsibility for how they’ve learned to show up in life, and choose to embrace a “can do” mindset and attitude. Creators, seek to reclaim their inner power and confidence through reconciling the wounds and negative self-beliefs of their past. Choosing now to not be a victim of their past, rather to learn from their past and no longer be defined by it. Creators, choose to live their true potential in the now. They recuse themselves and reclaim, the love, innocence and goodness they are.

In pushing into and engaging in their low self-worth and sense of powerlessness, creators, move from hopeless to hopeful, from powerless to empowerment. They understand now, they are the creator of their experiences and responsible for their own misery or happiness.

Move from Rescuer energy to Coach energy:
Person realizes in avoiding their own struggles and pain, they are creating more pain for themselves. They can openly see and admit that helping others, has been about the avoidance of self. Rescuers, come from fear, often feeling inadequate.  All this shows the rescuer,  how much they don’t love themselves.

The role of coach, plants seeds of possibilities for others, without needing to rescue or fix others. They realize the importance of rescuing themselves from the denial and avoidance of their own struggles and inner wounds. As the coach, they begin to build their self-worth more from the inside-out, rather than just outside-in. The coach, understands that taking care of the self is not selfish, it’s actually an expression and act of self-love. This is a fundamental way of helping others. Love your neighbor, as you love yourself. What you do “to” and “with” yourself, you do to the relationship you have with others. When we have our own inner house in order, we can more effectively be there for others. Our self-worth and happiness is not dependent on others. Here again, it’s about changing from the inside-out.

Move from Persecutor energy to Challenger energy:
This person has reconciled their inner desire to control and demean others. The persecutor to challenger, sees how they have been hurting others. Because, they themselves have been hurting deep inside. They take responsibility for their wounds, rather than making others responsible for this. Confronting and challenging themselves  to be a better, more loving version to themselves.  In the words of a greater master and teacher. The Persecutor to challenger, now acknowledges and accepts the log in their own eye, as they were before condemning the stick in their neighbor’s eye.

The Challenger, more confidently walks their talk,  gains respect  (rather than demands respect)  from others by leading by example. They move from the position of needing to be superior as way of hiding their insecurities to being open and authentic with others. Being a challenger, one is more comfortable with vulnerability and how this leads to greater trust and connection with others. They now challenge, rather condemn others to be a better version of themselves by speaking their truth with words of encouragement and peace. Modeling the way, rather than condemning the way.

In closing, understanding and reconciling our core negative beliefs about ourselves is crucial. Changing the story or narrative we’ve created about ourselves, in relation to our life experiences, is also important. This is the work towards knowing, healing and mastering the self. Furthermore, when we are aware of (know) how the players in the drama are created through our beliefs about ourselves within life experiences; especially those in childhood. This creates the opportunity to realize how we get caught up in drama. From this awareness, we create the willingness to transform ourselves to more healthy ways of being with conflict and change.

As expressed in the Transformation to Empowerment part of this blog. This transformation, allows us to effectively avoid or remove ourselves sooner from much of the potential drama in our life.
                 To know the self, is to empower and transform the self.

 

Need coaching or counseling with your relationship struggles, I’m a phone call or email away, to assist you. David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit David’s website: transitionpathways.com David’s book, Just Be Love is available through online bookstores: amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

12 Benefits of the Power of Acceptance

In uncertain times, we struggle with trusting the process of life. We are fearful, so we want control, we want to know the outcome, yet we tend to predict a negative outcome ahead of time, while bypassing the process of “what is.” All this feeds our fear, the sense of powerlessness and loneliness, which fuels depression and anxiety. 

Could it be in these uncertain times, that our individual and collective shadow aspects are being exposed more than ever? Could it be the contrast of light as love and dark as fear, is coming more to the forefront; to be recognized and reconciled within us individually and collectively? Sure seems like it to me, how about you?

Transformation and growth always comes from the uncertainty and the struggle. Creation and renewal comes from darkness.

Uncertainty, is a lesson and opportunity to practice Acceptance. So in uncertain times, we are called to the act of acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean you like or agree with “what is.” Acceptance, is to just be present to it. To be in the thoughts and behaviors of love and compassion with what is, rather than fear, resistance and resentment.

When we resist, deny, avoid or blame, we delay the opportunity for our happiness and growth. 

If we are unhappy and unfulfilled: we haven’t asked and more importantly answered an important question: What’s happened in my life that I’m not accepting?

Acceptance is to ride the wave of uncertainty, without losing yourself in the unknown of what is. Acceptance is shedding our will and way, and aligning with the divine power and will. With the knowing, we will gain more than lose, as we trust and allow in the power greater than ourselves. 

Acceptance is getting to know and understand our neighbor, from their perspective, not just our own. To respond, rather than react to differences and conflict.

The following are 12 Benefits, of why Acceptance is Powerful and of Value:

1. Acceptance is a sign of spiritual maturity.

2. Acceptance is being present and mindful to an experience without being defined by the experience.

3. Willingness and understanding lead the way to acceptance. Acceptance is wisdom in action.

4. It embraces the acts of spiritual surrender and willingness of “what is” creating realistic neutrally and non-attachment to experiences.

5. Acceptance, as spiritual surrender; magnifies our connection to the divine, and to love. Which restores hope, and allows for a higher meaning to life experiences.

6. Acceptance is an act of love and courage. Accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change what I can. Furthermore, it moves you from powerless to  Empowerment.

7. Acceptance transcends denial, creates emotional calm and inner peace. In addition, it widens one’s perception.

8. What we Accept – we Conquer. What we resist – will Persist.

9. Acceptance is a forward moving energy. It allow us the opportunity to rise above our struggles. 

10. The willingness to accept another’s and our own imperfections, is to discover the perfection. Perfection in divine terms means: To have Compassion for. The divine has compassion for all that is. 

11. Acceptance leads to Compassion, which allows for Forgiveness or Reconciliation.

12. Acceptance begins to transform fear, sorrow and bondage to love, joy and freedom.

With acceptance, comes tolerance, resilience and confidence to weather life’s uncertainties and difficulties. I close with my quote, which seems to fit during times of uncertainty. Realize, the choice is always ours, as to who and how we want to be in times of uncertainty. I choose Understanding, Acceptance, Compassion and Forgiveness, for they equal the power of Love!

 

Are you struggling with accepting some life experiences? Are you anxious and/or overwhelmed by change or uncertainty? Help is just a phone call or email away. Please contact David Schroeder if you would like assistance with your acceptance and change issues; and how to work through them. David offers life transition and spiritual growth counseling and coaching session’s in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and move through life transitions.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love is available through his website: transitionpathways.com or through online bookstores: amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

7 Traits of Spiritual Maturity

To write of spiritual maturity, let me begin by offering my definition of this term. Spiritual maturity is the willingness to be the student, a disciple to higher spiritual awareness (consciousness) and growth. It is the willingness and openness to explore the higher realms of the self and the universe.

Over 2000 years ago a famous spiritual master and teacher named Jesus said: Be in this world, but not of this world. I believe these words mean, while you temporarily live in this world (on earth), realize there is so much more to you and the universe, that is a part of you, and you are a part of. To illustrate this point, science now knows that 96% of the universe is invisible to the human senses. The way I take this, what we think is real and all there is, is only a fraction of what we and the universe are all about.  

We are spiritual beings, having a human experience. Which means, within and beyond our temporary physical body, we are eternal formless fields of energy, that we call a soul. Spiritual maturity is the remembrance of our soul and the yearning and desire to rediscover the soul and our divinity within it. It is to move in body and mind from the limited, to the unlimited of ourselves and the universe.

The following are 7 traits of spiritual growth and maturity:

1. Search for Higher Truth: Living here on earth, you can begin to yearn and feel for something more. That there is more to this life than what’s learned from family, traditional school, religious systems, government, etc. Shaking the old, what was once made true in order to discover the truth.

What’s true, will not surpass the test of time. What’s true will change over time. A truth will always surpass the test of time. The truth will not change over time, its eternal.

The Sufi teacher and spiritual leader, Hazart Inayat Klan has said this about truth: “When a person looks at the ocean, he can only see that part of it which comes within his range of vision; so it is with the truth.”

Spiritual maturity is about questioning and challenging the status quo. On an individual and collective level, many people struggle with change; we want safety, steadiness, certainty and predictability. This is adhering to the primitive part of our brain. That is all about survival and keeping safe.

We struggle with the unknown and uncertainty. However, there is no higher understanding and growth in the status quo.

The person on the spiritual path is often not going so much with the mainstream society. For they realize the truth won’t be found at Walmart or watching the Fox network.

2. Concerned about what’s Going on Inside of You: On the spiritual path, you begin to realize the importance of doing your inner work, to reconcile, release and re-frame what has been blocking your true happiness, potential and spiritual growth. You pay greater attention to your feelings, emotions and beliefs and how they trigger unproductive behaviors and outcomes.

One understands you cannot heal what you do not feel.  Engaging in your feelings, emotions and beliefs is the higher road, to better understand yourself in relation to your life experiences, and how you have learned to show up in life.

You are aware and accept, that what comes up for you within difficult experiences and people in your life are your teacher and opportunity to higher learning and growth. As a result, you are not as easily caught up in the victim and/or conflict or drama energies, and there destructive thinking and behavior patterns. You respond more than react to life situations and people around you.

In addition, you’re not as distracted by mundane aspects of life, which only seek to interfere with your growth. Therefore, your focus, is on connecting back to your soul and seek to understand why you have come to earth in this life time, what is it, you are to experience and resolve in this life journey?

Your experiences and people in your life create a student and teacher dynamic in order to experience and learn life lessons. You ask soul searching and life affirming questions like: What’s my purpose for being? Who am I? Most importantly, you go after the answers.

You begin to have different priorities in life and your values can shift as to what’s important vs. what’s no longer needed in your personal and/or professional life. Consequently, there’s a desire and willingness to listen more to your soul and heart, what I call the soul-heart, its pulse and nudging from deep within.

This soul pulse and nudging often wants you to step out of your status quo and comfort zone. So it creates fear and uncertainty. Many don’t say “Yes” to the call. They just go about their life. Than 5 or 10 years later they have regrets of not going with that calling of the soul pulse, as it seems more clearly now, where the soul was intending to lead you.

3. A Prayerful and Mindful Person: A spiritually growing person has heightened awareness of the value and practice of prayer throughout the day, as a way to commune with the higher power, whatever name you may call this.

They also practice meditation as a way to listen to their higher self and divine source for guidance and direction. They value what I call the 4 I’s of: Innocence, Intuition, Imagination and Inspiration to assist them on their spiritual journey. They listen to, and follow. the soft still voice of their intuition/higher self; more then the loud and self defeating voice of their inner critic i.e. lower, ego self.

4. Practice the Actions of Acceptance, Compassion and Forgiveness: The spiritually mature person understands the importance of Acceptance, Compassion and Forgiveness. They realize these are acts of love to the self and others. These loving actions, generate inner freedom, peace and gracefulness in life. 

With the practice of acceptance, compassion and forgiveness, one is sensitive to both their own needs and the needs of others; while setting healthy boundaries.

The spiritually mature person, lives as much from their heart, intuitive and emotional part, as from their head and logic side.

5. A Peace Maker and of Service: True spiritual masters are peace makers, and value peace over conflict. They seek to do no harm, thus understand and practice patience and tolerance, to achieve this end. In their communication they speak their truth with words of peace. 

Those growing spiritually, humbly seek to serve others, for the betterment of others and society as a whole. They receive as they serve, because their mindset is on loving kindness and willingness, not sacrifice.

6. Full of Love, Passion and Joy for Life: You remember you come from love, so you are love. Embracing this love, allows for passion with life, and a joyful heart. You freely spread this love, passion and joy to others. Having childlike qualities, you love to laugh and be playful, not taking yourself in life too seriously. You understand and see the lesson and meaning to life experiences, both the joyful and difficult ones.

7. Awareness of Being Connected to All That Is: The spiritually mature person understands that everything is made of energy, with a vibration. That everything in the universe is connected and interdependent with each other. So the idea of separation has been reconciled. You see the wonder, the miracle and beauty of all things. You accept the impermanence of life‒things change.

There is an understanding, that darkness and destruction are a part of the divine process and cycle of life. There is life – transition ‒ rebirth. You accept that creation/birth comes from the darkness, the void, and that renewal comes from destruction.

In conclusion, becoming spiritually mature is a conscious choice and a process. Which can be sparked by a crisis, loss, or a yearning for something more in life. It involves acceptance, willingness and determination to begin a deeper exploration of our soul in relation to our human experience.

Through spiritual surrender, the spiritually mature person embarks on working the task of transcending the ego’s will and ways of being, to the will of the divine.

The 7 traits listed, are part of a spiritual practice, process and inner discipline one chooses on the road to spiritual maturity. Once you begin this journey of deeper exploration and higher consciousness. You realize what’s been missing in your life, and you won’t want or need to go back to the old ways of living and being.

Out of love, this opportunity is always there for us to embrace. Having free will, however, the choice is always ours, to go deeper into this journey or not. 

 

Do you desire to discover a higher purpose and meaning to your life?  Are you struggling with embracing your spiritual path or staying on it? Please contact David Schroeder if you would like assistance with your spiritual issues and how to work through them. David offers life transition and spiritual growth counseling and coaching session’s in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and move life transitions.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed and spiritual social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com or through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

 

3 Myths and 6 Truths about Self-Love

Cultivating Self-Love is one of the foundations of self-esteem. The most important person to have a loving and caring relationship with is with you. Self-love is the basis of your happiness, as well as your physical and emotional health. Self-Love is vital toward developing and sustaining healthy relationships with others, or the ability to move on from an unhealthy relationship. If you struggle with loving yourself, you will likely struggle with loving relationships with others. Spiritual truth says: what you to do yourself you do to others.

There are both myths and truths about self-love.  

 3 common Myths about Self-Love:

1. I need to please others: In childhood I experienced and learned that in order to get love, acceptance and approval, “I needed to please others” and I still believe this today. In pleasing others, we tend to forget the self. Over time, this depletes you especially, emotionally, leading  to resentment, unhappiness and overall life dissatisfaction.  

 2. Self-Love is being selfish: Childhood taught me that to love the self, was being selfish, arrogant or egoistical. I became programmed to feel guilt or shame if I took  care of and loved myself, if I said, “No” ‒ set boundaries for myself. We learned to love and value others unconditionally, yet, “conditions” apply to loving ourselves. 

3. Life is 90% what happens to me and 10% what I do with it. This myth caused me to develop an unhealthy and unloving relationship with myself around a difficult circumstance. I become the victim (blaming/hating myself) or the villain (blaming/hating others) because of the circumstance.

Life circumstances can cause us to become sad, fearful, angry, bitter, and resentful. There is a part of us that ultimately needs to blame someone or something for our feelings and emotions. In the end, I either blame you or I blame myself. This blame is judgment, and judgment is simply the withholding of love. Within my difficult situation, I do not love you or I do not love myself. Either way, my wounded self is not being loving. It’s protecting/defending itself or condemning the self. This is fear, not love.

The truth is: life is 10% what happens to me and 90% what I do with it. This means I take responsibility for my thoughts, beliefs, choices and behaviors regarding the experience. This is a more loving, accepting and empowering way to move through life experiences.

6 Truths of Self-Love:

1. You instinctively know your true worth. Question: How easily do you give up your value and sense of worth when things go wrong? People, who love themselves, instinctively believe and know they are worthy and of value.

Within the struggles and hardships of life, they have accepted and learned that life offers a series of problems in the form of lessons, and their life experiences are the lessons. Within these experiences, working with and through their circumstances, they have developed a more positive, self-empowering and life enhancing relationship to their unfortunate circumstances.

They are not defined by the unfortunate experience, rather they see it as an opportunity to deeply love them self, have compassion for themselves and others within and because of the experience.

They choose out of love and a desire for higher learning and growth, not to diminish their self-worth and love of self. They realize the circumstance was a test of their faith and to not lose our self-love, within the difficult experience. They accept it’s not always possible to like yourself or the experience, but you should never give up loving yourself, because of the experience.

The truth is, loving the self is one of the most positive and healthy ways to live and cope with life. To love your self is to value yourself and know your worth. Self-love and worth, naturally spills over to loving and accepting others.

2. Return to the Source of Love: In my humanness I tend to forget I am love, innocence and goodness, due to difficult and painful experiences. I experience, rejection, abandonment, or betrayal, which leads me to feel embarrassment/shame or injustice i.e. the world is not fair. My perception and belief of separation takes shape in my reality.

There is however, another truth and reality beyond what I have made true. There is a source and power within me and all around me that is pure and unconditional love and acceptance. This love is the source and basis of all that exist.

To return to this source is to remember and return to love. It is to remember and return to that which I am‒Love. This ends the perception and belief in separation and returns me back to inclusion.   

Love, innocence and worthiness represent inclusion. Fear, shame and unworthiness imply exclusion. To have self-love is to include myself again.

3. Self-Love creates and builds resilience. Resilience embodies the qualities of flexibility, hardiness and determination. I love and care about myself enough, that I choose to see my circumstances through. So I am open and accepting to my circumstances. Moving away from avoidance, resistance, shame or blame.

To be flexible and adapting, offers me the motivation and determination to change what I can. The greater my self-love, the greater my resilience and willingness to change what I can. The greater my resilience the deeper my self-love.

4. Loving the self without the conditions. The unconditional love and acceptance you offer others, is to be offered and expressed to yourself first and foremost, without conditions or “yah buts.” The airplane ride proves this statement. When traveling by plane, with a small child, the flight attendant says: “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before your child.” Why? Because, in order to keep your child safe and secure, you need to have yourself safe and secure first.

A fundamental way to feel safe and secure is through self-love. Don’t wait for others to affirm you, affirm yourself freely and daily. True happiness comes from the unconditional love and acceptance with all parts of us.

5. All of our experiences are meant to bring us back to love. A difficult spiritual concept to comprehend is the notion that our experiences and the way we move through them, shows us how much we love or don’t love ourselves.

If I don’t love myself, because someone wasn’t very loving or kind to me, I have given away my power and my sense of love to that unloving person and/or experience.

It’s really not the rejection or betrayal by the other person that hurts me. What creates my hurt is the perception, belief and behaviors I take on because of the experience, the story I tell myself and others around the experience.

The key: within an unloving or uncaring act of someone toward you, keep loving and expressing kindness to yourself along the way. Some examples to help with this:

  • Connect with loving/supportive people
  • Write in a Journal
  • Take a warm bath/receive regular bodywork
  • Forgive the unloving words or act, sooner rather than later
  • Take walks/exercise
  • Mediation and prayer
  • Talk with a therapist or coach to sort out truth from your distortions and false beliefs.
  • Practice what I call the 4R’s (see below)

The 4 R’s:  Recognize, Reconcile, Release and Reframe

Recognize: Much of the owning process is about recognizing, becoming aware and identifying or naming where the hurt takes you in perception, feelings/emotions and belief about yourself within the situation. As I see how and where the situation or person triggered my perception, feelings and self-belief, this gives me the opportunity to:

Reconcile: within me where the situation is taking me in my belief about myself. How this belief builds me up‒makes me my best friend or condemns me‒makes me my worst enemy. When I can reconcile within myself, where the situation is taking, me than I can release the inner torment.

Release: To release is to say, believe, and act with confidence and determination to letting go of what no longer serves me. I release my unhealthy mind set and choose now to construct a more self empowering and loving mind set along with actions that reinforce the new way of being.

I choose to let go of the old, in order to create and live the new. I choose to focus on what I will gain and benefit as I embrace self-love, and release self-judgment and sabotaging thinking and behaviors.

Reframe: is the openness and willingness to view the upset in a different way. The mind is limited in perception and belief. We know what we know and we feel, and do what we know. To entertain a different possibility from my current point of view is to open the door to a different knowing. This helps create a more constructive and healthier story and reality‒way of thinking and acting.

To reframe my perception and belief, helps reduce the emotional charge I’ve had around the painful experience. This is an act of self-love within the fact that someone outside of me wasn’t very loving to me. This is a way we return to love and self-empowerment.

6. Can I look in the mirror and see love, my innocence and goodness? Or do I see what I deem as flaws, the bad hair day, the wrinkles, etc? I see my created distorted reflection, not the true reflection in my mirror. The one looking at you from inside the mirror only sees you as love, innocence and beauty. 

Can you accept and honor this truth of who you are? If you can, how would this make you feel in this moment? How would this start your day? What would this do to your state/frame of mind, and your attitude about yourself in life? When you reject the one in the mirror you are excluding her/him. To embrace and freely love the one in the mirror is to include her/him into your life. 

In my book, Just Be Love, I wrote a poem entitled: My Mirror, which illustrates the importance of staying true to the divine reflection of you from your mirror. 

My Mirror

My mirror recognizes and reflects the truth
that I struggle to notice and affirm.
My mirror only sees and knows me as love,
love I struggle to accept and embrace.
My mirror supports and nurtures,
what I choose to judge and reject.
My mirror only ask that I Just Be Love,
with the one who truly sees and knows me.

I look deeply in my mirror.
I see my innocence, perfection and radiance,
I would before hide and condemn.

As I let go of what I thought I was.
I see more clearly who I am.
What a gift I give to myself this day.

Thank you mirror, thank you,
I finally recognize and have found the one,
I’ve been looking for all along.

To come back to loving your self is to cultivate and value the self. You are expressing to yourself, you matter. Thus you find and connect with the one you have been looking for. You come back to the truth of who you are.

 

Are you struggling with loving yourself? Are you pleasing others as a way to receive love, acceptance and approval? Only to find you are more physically, emotionally and socially depleted?  David Schroeder, can help you reclaim the love and goodness you are. If you would like assistance with reclaiming this love and goodness David is here to assist you with his life transition coaching and counseling sessions. He offers in-person, by phone or Skype sessions. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and love yourself again.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com or through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

4 Steps to Changing your Attention and Focus

There is a universal law called the Law of Attraction, which simply says: What you think about, you bring about. In other words what we think about is where our attention and focus will be, this creates a form of energy; thus our experience in that moment. 

In today’s world there is much discontent. Many people are struggling with holding a loving, unconditional and peaceful focus and attention, due to much frustration, resentment and anger, with their personal/family relationships, workplace, government, etc. 

Many people want others to change to their own way of thinking and being. So our attention and focus is on those outside of us. Believing if others change – conform to our liking; this will make me feel safe, loved and happy.   

This way of thinking and being creates a dependence on others for our circumstances and happiness. Making others responsible for our lives, we are either in victim (poor me/I hate myself) energy or fighter/conflict energy (I hate you).

With both of these energies and mind-sets our attention and focus is more in a dis-empowering and negative direction, i.e.in the long run, these ways of thinking, believing and behaving, will create more negative destructive experiences and outcomes, than constructive and positive experiences.

Where your thoughts and attention goes, is where your energy will flow toward. This will be your created experience. 

Much of our degree of happiness, level of consciousness and success in life; has to do with our ability to focus and be attentive to the things that truly matter.

Ask yourself: What would truly contribute toward the growth and life enhancement of myself and others? Your answer to this question, is where your attention and focus is going. Creating the degree of happiness and inner peace you are experiencing.

This quote by the Spanish philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset speaks volumes to the power and influence attention and focus has in our life. “Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.”

Attention is your focus, so like I said with the law of attraction, where your attention goes is who you believe yourself to be, and thus what you will attract in your life.

If you are unhappy and unfulfilled with your experiences and their outcomes, keep reading I offer you these 4 steps to improve attention and focus:

1. Gain awareness of what your attention is focused on. This will begin to show you why you are experiencing the things and circumstances you are. This will also lead you to your core self-belief about yourself, and how you may be unconsciously reinforcing – feeding your core negative belief through your attention and behaviors. This awareness offers you clarity, to what needs to change within you.

2. With this awareness and clarity, change your attention and focus to what you truly desire. If your attention is more on what you don’t want, than you will create what you don’t want, because this is what you are communicating and thus broadcasting to yourself and the universe. The universe will always provide the experience you consciously, and especially unconsciously broadcast ‒ ask for.

3. Be clear and specific with what you pay attention to.
Be mindful, that a part of you wants to take your attention to the negative and self-defeating. This is the fearful and undeserving part of you, wanting to get the best of you and keep you in what you don’t want or deserve.

Become conscious of this defeating aspect of you. Gently counter this with self-love, worthiness and value. With this, shift your focus and attention, back to the good and wholesome things you desire in life.

4. Visualize yourself having these positive and worthy desires.
Like a GPS, despite the wrong turns and barriers that get in the way, the GPS, never loses focus or sight on the destination that it’s programmed to go to. Your heart, as much as your mind is your internal GPS, so allow it to keep your attention, focus and process on what you desire and truly deserve.

With positive attention and focus on what you desire you create awareness and clarity of your process ‒ the steps toward this desire. You create a “Can Do Belief” and mind-set. What you focus on becomes your belief.  What you believe – is what you can achieve. You create the energy, actions and motivation to achieve.

The power of a “Can Do” belief sets the mind and body toward that belief. This offers you the inspiration, focus, discipline, and the determination to achieve.

 

What are your thoughts on this article?  Please leave a comment.

Do you struggle with attention and staying focused on your goals? David Schroeder, can help you reclaim the love and goodness you are. If you would like assistance with learning to stay true to your desire and achieving them, David is here to assist you with his life transition coaching and counseling sessions. He offers in-person, by phone or Skype sessions. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and love yourself again.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. David’s book, Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com or JustBeLove  Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com