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.

The 5 C’s of Cultivating a Loving and Thriving Relationship

In order to have a loving and thriving relationship, a couple needs to have a good energy flow and synergy. These 5 C’s: Chemistry, Common goals, Commitment, Communication, and Consensus are vital in cultivating a loving and thriving relationship.

As a therapist and life transition coach, I’ve worked with many couples struggling with relationship issues. Most often the issues revolve around: ineffective communication, mistrust, lack of common goals, and the need to be right, which interferes with consensus. 

Each of these C’s is important and each will enhance the other C’s. The 5 C’s seek to enhance  connection, cooperation and effective problem-solving. They each offer opportunities to improve the level of respect, trust; and boost the feeling of being valued, understood and supported in the relationship.

The following offers more details on how the 5 C’s help to cultivate and maintain a loving and thriving relationship.

1. Chemistry: Is the natural and mutual flow with and between each other. It’s not just about physical or sexual attraction. A big part of chemistry is the desire to know more about other the person. In this desire to know more, you are truthful with each other; being open, curious, accepting, and respectful, even playful as you interact together.  

You acknowledge the connection and spark, and allow it to unfold with honesty, openness and willingness. You are mindful to the possibilities the relationship offers, while being patient and attentive to the process of coming together, not being focused on an expectation or certain outcome. Focus on an expectation and/or outcome disrupts the natural flow, energy and synergy between the two of you.

2. Common goals: Goals give our life meaning and increased value. Developing shared direction and goals, offers your relationship deeper meaning and connection. Competing goals and directions create tension and conflict, this is conditional love. Unconditional love and conscious relationships allow for individual goals and needs. Yet, there is equal importance to the value and connection of shared desires and goals. You must be aware of not letting individual goals diminish common goals. The key is the importance of finding the balance with your individual and the relationship goals.   

3. Commitment: A commitment is simply an agreement or pledge to do something in the present or future. A relationship commitment is the agreement to love, be open, willing, accepting, and be faithful in and to the relationship partner. The true intent of Commitment is to create increased satisfaction, understanding, flexibility connection and choice. It’s the conscious choice to put your energy toward the relationship, not just the “self.”

Commitment is the willingness to give of the self, without losing the self in the commitment. We choose to surrender to love. In this concept, surrender is not about losing or giving in/up, as our ego would see it. This type of surrender is to gain or benefit much more than we would lose or need to give up. Its intent is to compliment the self in relationship, to enhance the self through the relationship.   

Commitment can be difficult for some, because it can take you out of your comfort zone. The following list can be reasons why a person can be fearful, avoiding and struggling with commitment.

  • You perceive and believe the personal “self” will be threatened or intimidated because of the commitment.
  • If one perceives and believes that making a commitment is risky, and believes the sacrifice will result in losing more than will be gained.
  • A perception and belief of loss of personal and/or professional freedom.
  • If you need certainty, a commitment can seem like stepping into the unknown, creating uncertainty and a feeling of loss of control.
  • Feeling of vulnerability, that my partner will discover my flaws and weakness, and not see me as good enough.
  • A damaging experience from a past relationship. Where either you or your partner was traumatized, taken advantage of, rejected, betrayed or humiliated.

4. Communication: There are times in relationship when one intentionally or not, said or did something and it impacted the other in a negative/hurtful way. We can get triggered by this and go emotionally unconscious, so we get reactive, defensive, or passive (shutdown). In this, communication will get confusing, distorted and misunderstood.

 A big part of effective communication is to stay aware, to respond, not react, and to seek to understand the other. We often want to be heard more than to listen. The biggest communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. If we focus more on our reply; we’re not focused and listening to the other person, so we won’t really understand them. We are more focused on them needing to understand us.

The most important part of communication is listening and seeking to understand, to ask questions for clarification and increased understanding. When you feel listened to and understood, you feel validated and valued. True?

Good communication enhances understanding, trust, and connection. It also leads to more effective problem-solving when conflict arises. Be as clear as you can in your expression of needs and intensions. Speak in terms of “I” not so much “You.” Another cause of poor communication is assuming or mind reading. This only leads to misunderstanding, confusion, mistrust and conflict. Good communication strikes a healthy balance with the goal/our intention and the relationship.

If you or your partner is too focused on the goal, you will likely be more aggressive and demanding in the communication process. If you are too concerned with the relationship i.e. don’t want to hurt their feelings or cause conflict, you will likely be more passive and/or passive aggressive in your expression and actions of your needs.

Neither the aggressive or passive communication style is healthy or productive. The aggressive communication approach is you win-partner loses, and the passive approach is you lose-partner wins. Thus relationship cooperation and consensus becomes an ongoing challenge.

5. Consensus: Is about cooperation-seeking the win-win, and is the result of a conscious and unconditional relationship. Consensus keeps in mind and balance the importance of both the goal/end in mind, and the relationship. It allows for mutual opinions and ways of being. There is dialogue, negotiation and compromise. Consensus is about power with. 

Consensus is a struggle to achieve if the need for power-over and need to be right is dominant. Self and shared responsibility and accountability are keys to creating consensus. Consensus requires effective and respectful communication skills, flexibility, and openness to understand the others point of view; while expressing your own view. It requires the ability and willingness to find the common ground. Honoring your individual differences and working with your similarities, builds consensus.

In closing, it’s important to pay on-going attention and focus to these 5 C’s. Relationships like life, change, and situations happen that can impact any of these C’s in unproductive ways. So being aware of how life situations can impact these C’s is vital and an act of love, caring and concern for the relationship, and the two of you in it.

 

Are you struggling with any of these 5 C’s in your relationship? Please contact David Schroeder if you would like assistance with your relationship issues and how to work through them. David offers life transition and relationship 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 your relationship during difficult times.

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: http://transitionpathways.com or through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

To Improve Your Relationship: Understand this Gender Difference

There are several differences between men and women, some are obvious, some are subtle. Realizing, accepting and working with this particular gender difference can make a positive difference in the way you relate to each other.

Conflict and frustration in relationships often occurs simply because, we don’t understand why our partner thinks and acts a certain way. When it comes to thoughts, feelings and emotions there will typically be a difference in the way  men or women go about relating with you.

This gender difference impacts our ways of communicating, problem-solving and over-all interactions with each other. It stems from the way we perceive and relate to our thoughts, feelings and emotions; and the need we have with our partner in relation to our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Men and women have thoughts, feelings and emotions; and these are important and not to be denied or discounted. Having acknowledged this, due to biological factors and social conditioning, one gender is typically more connected and concerned with thoughts, while the other gender is more connected and concerned with feelings and emotions.  Here’s the basic difference:

In general, the feminine aspect, typically (women) is more likely concerned with having their Feelings and Emotions respected.  The masculine aspect, (men) is likely more interested in having their Thoughts respected.

It should be noted, that some women may have more of the masculine aspect; and have a stronger desire for their thoughts to be respect. Some men might have more of the feminine aspect; and have a stronger need for their feelings and emotions to be respected. 

Women in general, come from their right brain, the intuitive and emotional side. They also come more from their heart center. So they are more concerned and value their relationships. Because of this, women in life and in their relationships will more naturally relate to and from their feelings and emotions.

On the other hand, most men are in their logic and thinking state, come from their left brain. So they relate to thoughts, in logic oriented ways of being in life and in their relationships. As a way of connecting, men relate more to their occupation and status (position).

For example: In social settings, women will typically, talk more about family and friends, social concerns (relationships/heart). Men generally, will converse more about their occupation, sports, objects i.e. cars, boats, women, money (logic/head).   

It’s not about who is right or wrong, with this way of being and relating. It is the way the genders are wired and conditioned to be in the world, and relate to each other.

It’s not about needing the other person to think, feel and be how I am. This is control and creates a love relationship that is conditional.

It’s about seeking to understand the other person as best I can, learning to accept this difference. Being willing to learn how best to relate and interact with this difference. This is unconditional love. 

A part of you, wants your partner or friend to be like you are. However, life is about contrast, in order to know one, we need to experience its opposite. That’s why we have male and female, light and dark, sorrow and joy.  Neither is really right or wrong it just is “the nature of things.”

It’s about accepting and honoring our differences, and working with them.

Gentlemen, out of love seek to understand, step out of your comfort zone. Take time and effort to connect more with your partner’s feelings and her deeper emotions, even if it doesn’t seem natural or logical to you. Connect your heart to her heart.

Ladies, out of love, get into your man’s world, honor his thoughts and work at seeing his logic as best you can, even if it doesn’t make sense or seem natural to you.       Don’t wait for your partner to make the first move. Authentic love, asks us to take the initiative, to seek to understand the other. If you both work at seeking to understand the other, you find the common ground within the differences.

Unconditional Love seeks the common ground, to accept, honor, and learn to interact within the differences, and enhance the similarities.  

What are your thoughts or feelings on these gender differences?  Feel free to comment below.

 

Are you struggling with understanding and working gender differences? 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 JustBeLove  Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

A Valentine’s Day Message

So another Valentine’s Day is upon us. Like Christmas, many scramble to find the perfect gift for their beloved, to show their love and how much they care. Love is a beautiful thing. The expression of unconditional love and acceptance is a gift beyond measure. As I express in my book Just Be Love, I define divine love as the unconditional love and acceptance of the spirit of all that exist. In the spirit of us, the soul essence of us is expressing itself in human form. The divine loves and accepts this spirit/soul in whatever form or formless state it may express itself. The ultimate of love, I’ve come to appreciate is freedom. The divine’s love is freedom, that’s why as human’s we have this gift called, free will. Whatever name you give the divine, call it God, Buddha Allah, Kristina, Jesus, Mohammad, etc. the name is not the point. The point and the message is clear, no matter the religion, culture, gender, belief or language of each of us. This power greater than ourselves freely loves to love. Divine love is always present and present in all ways.  

Whether you are in relationship with another person or not this Valentines’s Day, it need not matter. However, societies and ourselves in it, can make it matter, to the point of much unhappiness, even despair. This is a great error, similar to the error of attachment to our self-created story, as if it were life itself. What does matter is the relationship you have with yourself, and with the universal source of love and goodness. This love is always present, even when we don’t feel its presence and/or we deny its existence. This love is not defined by human struggle nor by our beliefs about life.  For the energy of divine love is existence. Without it, nothing else would exist, including you and I. 

So Just Be Love this Valentine’s Day. Give yourself permission and the opportunity to freely love to love. I ask: Can you be your own valentine today and to all you meet this day and everyday? For love is all we are, and what we truly seek to return to.

Thoughts on Human Love

It’s been said, Love is just a word until someone gives it meaning. Many of us have different meanings to love, because of our different experiences with love. For some love is to be guarded against, maybe even avoided due to painful experiences around love. Feeling betrayed, rejected or abandoned. Many learn to please others in hopes of love and acceptance, only to deplete themselves by giving so much, yet forgetting themselves. Some people act out a “crime of passion” toward a love gone wrong. Hurting the one they love or themselves, because love was denied. Others have even become ill, even died from a sad/broken heart, due to lost of a loved one. For others love means joy, passion, and sense of connection, so they’re eager to connect not just with people, but to the fullness of life.

Love can build up our sense of self, creating an emotional and physical high on life, or can put us down into a deep dark hole of loneliness and despair. Our brain is wired for love; we yearn for love, acceptance and approval.  Human love is a drive and can be seen as a quest. To love someone, for someone to love me, and see me “as enough.”

Love is one of the most powerful emotions. Yet, I believe love is more than an emotion. Its a state of consciousness. The higher our level of consciousness is with love, the greater our willingness and ability to offer love, support, nurturing and forgive an unloving act.

Questions to consider: What does love mean to you?  What meanings have you constructed about love? Do you have a belief and meaning about love that is including, accepting, supportive and offers freedom?  Or is your belief and meaning about love, excluding, judgmental, and a barrier to love and be loved?  

 Feel free to leave a comment.

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. My practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential.  My book Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

 

What is Eros and Agape Love?

The Ancient Greeks had two main words to describe love, Eros and Agape.
Eros Love, is the most common way human’s love. Eros love is physical, passionate, sensual; a desire, a longing for another, but in an egotistic and objectified way. In Eros love, we struggle with freely loving just to love. With Eros love, I make the other my love object; and responsible for my happiness. Eros love is conditional, and is the love of need and feels it lacks. One has a desire to be loved, but with expectations to the one they say they “love.”  This type of love, loves to get something a payback, they form relationships based on “you owe me.” This love is always comparing and seeking what it appears to be more satisfying outside of itself. So we are rarely satisfied in relationship with another, because I may struggle with insecurities and self-love, I make people and things outside of me, responsible my happiness and contentment. 

Agape Love is spiritual divine-centered love. With Agape love, one has the awareness that it was created in the image of God, and this knowing dissolves any concept of separation into oneness. Agape love has no needs and makes no demands; its intent is offering understanding, and unconditional love, acceptance and good will. This love is the truest form of intimacy, a love without measure.  With Agape love the perception and belief of a threat or an enemy dissolves. For you see others as a reflection of yourself, so you see love as the teacher and opportunity to higher awareness and soul growth. The search for love ends, when I have the awareness that I am love,       I remember who I am. This is the desired freedom we seek. It’s the journey of the soul in human form.  Agape love is not about falling in love, this is Eros love. Agape love, is rising as love, to ascend in the energy and awareness of love, because love is who we are.

Signs Eros Love:
If you are with someone, who appears judgmental, controlling, demanding; presenting conditions to loving i.e. I’ll do this if you do that.” This is the withholding of love to get my own needs met, with little concern for the other person. If you need someone, to the point of losing yourself because you need them, you are being conditional or maybe in your neediness and dependency you can more easily be controlled and taken advantage of in relationship.  With others, if you need to be right more often than not, you are offering Eros love.  If you believe being with someone will make you happy, your love is Eros, because in time, you will make the other person responsible for your happiness, causing you to be more unhappy and unfulfilled. If you bounce from relationship to relationship, have had affairs; use food, alcohol, or porn, etc. to cope with and find satisfaction within a relationship; you are consumed in the unsatisfying love called Eros. 

Signs of Agape Love: 
Pure love, divine love is freedom. Agape love, offers a sense of freedom to the other person. You have a good awareness of self and a confidence, which allows you to be strong, yet flexible in the relationship; without losing yourself or pushing the other away. Your love is more unconditional and you value accepting people with where they are at; without judging or needing to change them.  One can easily compromise without a sense of feeling slighted or that you’ve gained the upper hand. Agape love is not a power over the other person; you embrace a relationship that is more inclusive and work toward having power-with the other person. You view your relationships as learning and growing experiences, especially during difficult/challenging times with this person. You often say to yourself within relationship experiences: “What is this person teaching me?”  “What am I to learn from this experience?”

Agape love is heart-centered. This type of love, offers awareness, acceptance and compassion to acknowledge that sometimes for the highest and greatest good, a relationship is no longer healthy and constructive. So out of love I set myself and you free, in forgiving and appreciative ways. Love is freedom and freedom is love.

The way to Agape Love: Is to first and foremost understand, accept and have the awareness that you are love. Reconciling our wounded past gets us on the pathway to this higher understanding and acceptance of the love that we are. This allows us to be more accepting and offer loving kindness to others.

Free your ego of selfish needs and wants. This minimizes the degree of conditions and expectations of how love should be. Divine love is the unconditional love and acceptance of the spirit of all that is. Pure and Agape love is free of conditions and expectations. This is the way to rise as love, happiness and freedom.

Which type of love do you think you express most often, Eros or Agape?  What makes this so? Which type of love would offer you more happiness and peaceful relations with others? Why?   Your answers are appreciated to these questions. Leave a comment about this blog.

 

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.  My book Just Be Love is available through my websites:transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

 

Is your Heart Open or Closed To Love?

In my book, Just Be Love, I write about the importance of the heart as the seat of love in the human body and its experiences. The heart is one of the most important sensory organs in the human body. In the fetus, the heart starts beating before the brain is totally formed. The heart has its own neurons, as many, if not more than the brain. The heart may well be the true brain of the human body, since it is sending as much information to the brain in our head as this brain is sending to the heart. The human heart’s electromagnetic field is five thousand times more powerful than that of the mind. 

The heart holds the energy and expression of love. Imagine there is a doorway to love within the human body, and this door is through the heart. For many people, due to difficult and painful life experiences, love can seem to have gone wrong or broken apart. The heart can become guarded, even closed to protect the wounded self. When the heart is emotionally closed so is the door, and we can become fearful and cautious. So we’re not free and happy within the chambers in our heart. Then the mind follows the path of the heart, through fear, avoidance, resistance and non-acceptance of “what is.”  A closed heart contributes to a person becoming resentful, bitter, isolated and depressed. It’s like a dark prison, which we ordered ourselves to be confined to. Our inner judge; for various reasons saw fit to impose this self inflicted sentence, as a way to make sense of something that perhaps makes no sense or seems so unfair to us. We experience such inner torment and pain, which this prison seems to offer safety and security, as only a distorted illusion can do. Research has shown, we can become sick even die, from a closed, sad and lonely heart.

When the heart is open, we are free and vibrant, love flows within and through us, as a free flowing energy exchange called, giving and receiving.  An open heart is an including heart. Love is inclusion, fear is exclusion. An open heart is one that has found acceptance in “what is.” Acceptance is often the pivotal step toward freedom from the grips of grief, resentment, depression, anxiety, addiction, you name it. To put it simply an open heart is a free and loving heart, and is a way to expand the mind in possibilities. An open heart values the importance of expressing gratitude and appreciation. It allows for compassion, reconciliation or forgiveness to be. An open heart is the key to unlock us from the self-imposed prison we may be confined to.   

I offer 3 tips to open your heart to love and goodness. These can help alter your life in heartfelt and liberating ways.

  1. Be in Appreciation, Gratitude and Care, Toward Yourself and Others: This creates heart coherence i.e. balance, peace and harmony within the heart center; which will transfer to a calmer, more positive impulses, responses and behaviors from our brain.
  2. Do Your Inner Work, to Reconcile, the wound and/or grief of your past. Your heart does not create coherence i.e. openness, balance, peace and harmony, if it’s closed, bitter or sad. 
  3. Be Love: Allow yourself to accept you are love. In this gift of acceptance, give yourself permission to do acts of loving kindness to yourself and others, without conditions or expectations.

 

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.  My book Just Be Love, is available through my websites:transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you and yours! Let us make Love and Kindness the reality in 2017. Its time!  Are you with me?

 

Living Life as a STAR

As I wrote in my book, Just Be Love, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of being a STAR. It’s not about the star in the sky or being a movie or sports star. It’s about being a personal star in the game of life. Being more in our higher mind and heart-centered, rather than our in our ego and intellect state. The acronym for star in this case is to:  
  Surrender
  Trust
  Allow
  Receive                                                                                                     

Surrender: The STAR’s meaning of surrender, is not about giving in or giving up. It is not about focusing on what we believe we may lose; which is the human ego’s version of surrender. The spirits view of surrender is to let go of our human will and way, to the divine will and way. Spiritual surrender is the willingness to yield to the greater power and knowing, with the intention of gaining or benefiting for our highest good.

surrenderOne of the most difficult things for the human ego to understand and do, is to surrender its will to the divine will. Human nature is such that we tend to focus more on what we believe we will lose. We struggle to focus on the benefits of change and its call of surrender, so we become fearful and anxious, leading us to be protective, resistant and reactive. We want the status quo and to stay in our comfort zone. This is a primary reason why human’s struggle so with change and growth. There is no higher awareness and growth in the comfort zone and status quo. Change and transformation is a dynamic process, not a stagnant pond. Many of our life experiences call us to spiritual surrender-to accept the things we cannot understand from our human perspective. To surrender is to trust.


Trust
: Is openness and willingness, a sense of faith and hope in divine will and way. It is to believe in the divine’s loving guidance and grace. Faith is trust in the unknown and unseen, the things we desire, but are yet to be in physical form. Faith is a sense of hope, and hope is about the future, thus waiting. Our sense of trust and faith are tested in times of unknown and uncertainty. Trust is accepting that the divine universe always has our back and highest good in mind. Trust is the foundation of relationship building, and requires us to be vulnerable. With trust we can allow.

Allow: Is to accept and let life unfold within us and for us. It says ‘Yes” to love, life and the higher wiser self. To allow is to stand as a mountain, yet flow like water. Both the mountain and the water surrender, trust and allow, through strength, courage and flow. To allow is to be free of judgment and expectations, with no need for control or power-over. To allow is to receive.

Receive: Is to open ourselves to the gifts and wonders of the universe. Can you allow yourself to receive what the divine and your soul desires for you?  Many of ththe difficult and painful life experiences we have, are intended for us to receive unconditional love, acceptance and freedom, as we move through the struggle and pain. To receive requires us to feel worthy and deserving of the gift. We receive through the people, places and experiences that makes up our life. From the higher soul perspective, our life experiences offer us opportunities to be a STAR. To: Surrender, Trust and Allow, is to open our inner pathway to Receive divine love, goodness and truth.

A Higher Meaning of the Term Soulmate

soulmate-image

In popular culture, dating sites, and various relationship writings, there is a common phrase used, called: Find your soulmate.  Like many words or phrases there can be a variety meanings or interpretations of what soulmate means. However, in order to truly understand the meaning of soulmate, you must be open and willing to think out of the box. But first let’s look at some definitions of soulmate from the dictionary.  “A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.”  “A person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament.”  “A person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs.”  “A person/s who is compatible with one other in disposition, point of view or sensitivity.” Each of these definitions speaks to being compatible with another person, but not with the one we live with 24/7, which is our self.

Many of us have the belief we aren’t lovable or enough or that we are incomplete, flawed, not whole. We struggle with finding meaning and inner happiness and peace. Our belief and sense of separation from that power greater than ourselves, along with feeling separate from other souls playing the art of human beings like us, takes us on the search for love and worthiness outside of ourselves. All this creates the illusion that I need someone or something to complete me, than I will be happy and content.  It creates barriers to attracting the partner or friend that can dance with us in life.

Society, through dating sites or pop culture articles, says this is how you find that person who can complete you. Ultimately, they do a dis-service to the readers and customers. They sell you on the idea and illusion that you are incomplete, and so the only way to completeness and happiness is by finding Mr. or Ms. Right, i.e. a person outside of yourself.  This thinking and believing is the main reason we struggle so much in relationship.  Your completeness and happiness will never be found outside of yourself.

c1e26f65a1658df0b4c9f629fff8ee06What would you say, if I told you, you are already complete; you are already whole, good enough, and especially loved. See I told you that you would need to think and believe out of the box. You come from a source that is greater than you and this source is love and complete. Since you are a creation from this source you are already love, goodness and complete. You have likely just forgotten this, because that’s part of what aspects of a soul chooses to do, forget, in order to take on their life experiences. What I call “Spiritual Amnesia.”  Our path back to remembering is an inside job, others assist us along the path, but we alone choose to remember ourselves as love and goodness or not.

Having said this, on the spiritual level, it my understanding the term soulmate means: The reunion with the lower (ego) self to the higher divine self. Than with this inner marriage/union, we unite back to the holy one (God or whatever name fits for you), the creator of all. To find your soulmate, is to connect with and reconcile your ego, wounded, and shadow self. Doing this you will connect more fully with your true and divine self. You unite back with your soul. You become more curious, conscious, and engaging with yourself and life, this creates intimacy within you. You begin to have a deeper more fulfilling connection and relationship with your soulful self, i.e. the essence of you. You mate with your soul; hence you found your soulmate.

By way of this inner union and reunion with the holy one, you can then more fully attract a soul or souls outside of you to dance in healthy and constructive partnership or friendship with you.