4 Reasons The Term “Soulmate” Is Misunderstood

In a previous blog entitled: “The Higher Meaning of the Term Soulmate.” I wrote of the true meaning of soulmate being: The reunion of your lower wounded ego self with your higher, wiser soul self. Thus you mate with your own soul. In this reunion, you can than attack the soul outside of you that is in soul agreement to be your suitable and complementary mate.

Here’s the fundamental problem people would have with this soulmate concept. Many people are unaware or misinformed about their soul. Some would even deny the existence of a “soul.” So if one denies the existence of their soul, and/or hasn’t take the time and effort to explore their soul. It would make sense why some people have trouble with my definition of soulmate.

Many societies and religions around the world, don’t advocate soul exploration and learning, let alone the idea of soul contracts and growth. When was the last time you heard on CNN, FOX news or Peoples Court, talk of the soul? The soul is not a mainstream topic with social media, in education, healthcare, religion, or people’s general conversation.

So Let’s Talk First About the Soul

I believe, the soul is pure energy, of a higher vibration than the physical body. The soul is the energy and essence of us. For the physical body could not exist without the soul. The soul enters the body at a point of conception and more fully is engaged with the fetus when its heart begins to beat. There is life. When the soul decides to permanently leave the body, this is what’s called physical death.

The soul is simply the formless energetic part of us, which resides in the physical body, some call it the higher self. While there is an aspect of your soul in the physical body, other aspects of your soul energy exist in other higher realms/dimensions in the cosmos.

The soul is the eternal aspect of you. While the physical body is the temporary aspect of you. You are an eternal soul housed in a temporary shell, called a body. Given my view of the soul and its aspects. Here are 4 reasons why the soulmate concept is misunderstood.

1. I Can’t See my Soul. Therefore, it must Not Exist:
Many people believe that if they can’t see, hear, feel, touch or taste something, it must not exist. The soul, being formless energy, would understandably be difficult to detect through any of our 5 senses. Consider the scientific fact, that 96% of what makes up the universe is invisible to human senses.

When we dream, I believe, we are connecting with the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind can be seen and known as one’s higher mind or higher self, so it’s an aspect of our soul working through the mind. When we dream, have a stroke of insight, use our intuition or experience synchronicity, that’s the higher mind. These are examples of the energy and ways our soul is communicating with us.

Many of us dream about a soulmate, we create an image or vision of him/her. I can see my soulmate in my mind’s eye or out there in a photo on a dating site. In these ways we than make the soulmate real. Yet, when we do the same with the communication from our own soul regarding a variety of other life experiences, we tend to deny this is coming from our soul. Does this sound true to you?

2. The Subject of “Soul” is not a Mainstream Topic:
However, the idea of finding “my soulmate” is a mainstream topic and subject of many people’s desire. It’s an unfortunate truth. How in our human ways we have once again gone astray with a spiritual concept. Turning the soul into everything, but what it truly is. Bottom line, there is very little interest, discussion or exploration on the subject of the eternal energy of the soul, what its purpose is, and its value to us in our earthly body and experiences.

3. Most Humans are More Focused on the Temporary:
As humans with an ego, many of us tend to be more distracted and focused on what is temporary, and what we have defined ourselves by. Our job, our car, our outward appearance, our finances, etc. We think these things make up the reality of who we are. However, none of these things will matter when we pass on. So why allow yourself to be so attached and defined by the temporary, at the neglect of your soul‒the eternal you?

4. The Common Belief is:
Others are responsible for your happiness and growth. We believe and say, “When I find my soulmate, I will be happy.” This is a common human assumption and painful error. From the soul perspective, it understands and agrees: “The other,” as a soul, offers your soul/you, the experiences needed for soul learning and growth. The other is not your “enemy or threat.” Rather they are your “opportunity and teacher.” And you are the others opportunity and teacher as well.

Yes, you can be happy in a relationship. However, neither of you are responsible for the others happiness. Happiness is an inside job. This is a major soul issue and lesson that people painfully keep repeating, by way of the “experience of relationship”, until the person “realizes this truth.” Make sense?  To your soul it makes sense. To our humanness with an ego, not so much.

In Closing:

When you connect more with the soul essence of you, you create the opportunity to understand your life experiences and the relationships within these experiences from a higher and wiser perspective. You will see more clearly what the person in the experience was offering/teaching you, and why you made the choices you did. It is important to focus on the eternal, the soul, its purpose/reason for being in this lifetime.

Important to realize, there is often a higher and deeper meaning to our experiences, than the one we organically come up with.

Ask and explore these soul growth questions:  

  • What am I here to experience in this lifetime?
  • What are people, places and my experiences showing and teaching me?
  • What does it all mean for me?
  • What is my negative core belief about myself around these experiences?
  • Are these core self-beliefs and choices acts of self-love or self-doubt?
  • Are my self created beliefs and choices coming from fear or Love?
  • Are these self-beliefs and choices empowering me (creating self-confidence and happiness) or defeating me (creating inner discontent)?
  • What is a higher more loving self-belief I can create for myself?
  • How would this new belief impact the choices I make?

 

The fundamental ways to mate or unite with your own soul.  Is by answering the above soul growth questions, and doing the inner soul work, which includes:

  • Reconciling the wounds from your past, and release the false self-beliefs your lower ego self created from these experiences. Allowing yourself than to reframe these experiences and yourself toward the higher soul perspective.
  • Learning to love yourself again, by letting go of regrets, and judgment of self and others. It’s about remembering and returning to the love, innocence and goodness your soul knows you to be.

In doing soul work, you create the opportunity, to be more self-confident, happier, more loving, accepting and compassionate to yourself. This is to grow and evolve. Which than helps you attract other evolved souls into your life. Creating healthier, harmonious and balanced relationships.

I welcome your comments.

Are you curious and seeking more information or guidance with your personal or spiritual journey? A gentle and helpful resource, is just a phone call or email away.

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.

Earth and Human Changes: Why Its Messing with Me & What to Do?

Have you been out of sorts physically and/or mentally lately? Have you found your relationships and people in general more difficult to tolerate and cope with? Have you found yourself or hear others say: “What the heck is going on with the world?” “It sure seems crazy and it’s messing with me.”

A New Era is Unfolding – Creating a Wave of Change and Unease

Well, here are some interesting insights to those questions. Be open to entertain the possibilities as you read on. For the openness to possibilities is what allows us to change and grow. This article is all about the wave of change and more importantly, opportunities for growth awaiting us all.

A Shift in Consciousness
Humanity, individually and collectively, is currently going through a major yet, predicable change and transition. A shift is occurring in human consciousness with a higher way of being and living here on earth.

It is predicable, because over the course of human evolution there has been a rise and fall of human consciousness. It’s a cosmic event, because we are ultimately connected to the energy and cycles of the universe.

There is a 26,000 year cycle in our universe called the Precession of the Equinoxes, otherwise known as the earth’s movement with the sun and the earth’s wobble through the constellations of the zodiac. This cycle has substantial effects on individual and collective rise or fall of human consciousness and behaviors. As shown in this Sine Wave Diagram of long term history.

Age of Pieces and its Consciousness
For the past 10,000 years the consciousness on earth has been rather dark and destructive. For the past 2000 years the earth has been in the constellation and age of Pisces. The consciousness of this Piscean age on our planet has been about fear, control, manipulation, and power-over. It’s been about us vs. them; divide and conquer; exclusion; “the have” and “have not’s” and masculine dominated.

It’s been about greed. Another way to understand greed is my definition: Greed is Power without Love and Wisdom. It’s been an energy and consciousness that has been more selfish and destructive than selfless and constructive to humanity and the planet.

However, over the past fifty years there has been a gradual shift on the planet. The earth’s wobble has been gradually moving out of the constellation and consciousness of Pisces; into the constellation and Age of Aquarius.

Entering the Aquarian Consciousness
The Aquarian age and its consciousness encompass love, acceptance, compassion, cooperation, collaboration and power-with. It’s about inclusion, unity, fellowship, peace, integrity, intuition, and wisdom. It’s the re-emergence of the feminine energy and striking a balance of the masculine and feminine energies within us and on the planet.

The energy and consciousness of Pisces is losing its grip on humanity. However, we humans struggle with change or losing control. Individuals and systems in power around the world (i.e. governments, religious systems, corporations, even family and personal relationships) are struggling with losing their power and control. In fear, many are hanging on tighter now to maintain their way with people, for their own benefit.

Part of the Struggle is Dealing with Our Shadow
As this shift is unfolding, it’s impacting all of us. We are being asked (and driven) to do shadow and inner soul work toward removing what blocks the love, worthiness and light that we actually are. The ego is our internal police officer, it serves and protects us from perceived physical and especially emotional danger and pain. Its partner, the shadow is what we repress, deny or project on to others, in order to protect and defend ourselves.

Those who resist doing their inner work are having a difficult time navigating and coping with this current shift in energy and consciousness. Those with a strong and resistant ego and shadow are experiencing an increase in mental or emotional and physical difficulties and this is making it even harder to regulate and navigate themselves in constructive ways.

Reconciling the ego and its shadow is vital on both individual and collective levels. For this impacts the functioning of relationships, governments, corporations, education and healthcare systems, religious systems, etc.

Many Systems are in Disarray
Much of the current disarray (in people and systems) is the result of the individual and collective egos with their shadows becoming more fearful and out of control. We see this manifest with dysfunctional decisions and behaviors, which produce less effective results. These people and systems are operating under the old energies and ways. Thus this new age, with its higher vibration and consciousness is not supporting their older way of being.

The current United States President, with his behaviors (way of being) is exposing his ego and shadow aspects in many profound ways. You see the dysfunction and negative effects it creates for him, this nation and the world around us.

I believe Mr. Trump won this presidential election on the spiritual level, not only to expose his own ego and shadow, but more importantly, to call attention to all of us, to look at our own ego and shadow for healing and transcending.

The increase in conflict between super power nations, i.e. United States, Russia and China, are also being heightened now as the shadow aspects of the need for control and power-over creates more chaos and tension now.

Both powerful and “wanna be” powerful countries are showing their political and military might with words and actions. Understandably this creates much uncertainty, worry and anxiety for many of us as we witness what’s happening on the world stage.

However, the consciousness of many is waking up to the fact that you never win a war with war. And focusing on war and terror, does just that, creates more war and terror.

Law of Attraction
The law of attraction in simple terms means: what we think about we bring about. This is true on both individual and collective levels. Individuals, big corporations and countries keep feeding their insanity called ego, by feeding their greed (i.e. money and war machines) at the expense of true peace and harmony.

Many countries have recently (or will in the near future) conduct crucial government elections that have implications for the particular countries direction for years to come. In the United States, we see the heightened clash between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, the right and left.

There is also a heightened exposure of, and focus on our differences. This causes increased exposure and conflict between whites vs. people of color, male vs. female, CEO’s/stock holders vs. employees, Christian vs. Muslim, West vs. East, Religion vs. Spirituality. 

In other systems as well, such as healthcare, conventional medicine vs. complimentary/alternative. In education, public education vs. charter schools. In business, do we take care of the environment (planet) vs. keeping the stock holders happy?

The old consciousness and paradigm of focus on the differences (us vs. them; driven by fear, ignorance, conflict and dis-harmony) is ego mentality that creates the struggle for power, and need to control.

All of this adds up to much unease and discord both individually and collectively. Can you relate? 

The Ways of the Ego
When things are changing, the human ego with its shadow needs to defend, to resist, project and blame. Out of self-preservation, it struggles to hold on tightly to what it fears will be lost or taken away

In order to protect oneself from the change, we do whatever we can to resist and prevent the change.

With the energy and perception of fear, we want our sense of control and power back. Consequently, many make unconsciousness choices and exhibit behaviors that are destructive or violent to others and themselves. This inner chaos with its acting out is becoming more heightened and extreme now.

However, the energy, vibration and ways of fear, struggle with uncertainty, need for control and manipulation will no longer work in this new energy and age.

The degree of uncertainty you can tolerate during this shift will determine the quality of your life. Patience and tolerance will be more useful to you as you move through this change and transition.

The Time for Unity
The current shift is about accepting and honoring our differences, while focusing more on our similarities ‒ finding the common ground.

One way to realize this is to consider this quote by Yogiraj Siddhanath:
“Our soul cry. If earth is to herald the dawn of the new age, let us all realize.
Humanity is our uniting religion 
Breath our unity prayer 
Consciousness our uniting God.” 

How would life on earth be, if we all could adhere to this quote? This is the opportunity and shift before us. But we must make the choice to shift our perception, focus, belief, attitude, and our choices.

We Are Being Called to Move from Fear to Love
In these times of change and uncertainty it is love, understanding, acceptance, patience and compassion that will more effectively help you ride this wave of change and transition. The energy of love, acceptance, patience and compassion will offer you a different perceptive, attitude and choices as you move through this shift.

This is the paradigm shift of the ages; moving from the consciousness and behaviors of Fear to the consciousness and behaviors of Love.

It’s all About Cycles
This great shift of the ages and its consciousness is happening, and cannot be stopped. It’s part of a cycle that the planet and humanity have experienced before. For the earth has gone through many cycles and transitions to get to its current state, and humanity (modern homo sapiens) have also gone through many cycles and transitions over its 200,000 years of existence.

Currently we are experiencing rapid change on many fronts. From advances in technology, information, globalization, change in climate and weather patterns, etc. These changes and their transition process have been predicted by people like the famous 20th century psychic, Eager Casey and ancient cultures like the Mayan’s.

The Mayan’s development and use of a calendar of 7 days and 6 nights, and the 9 levels or cycles of time, with stages/levels of human consciousness. Each level is marked by a turning point in human evolution, such as: higher reason, struggle and movement  toward more constructive use of power, and higher ethics/integrity (See pyramid chart below).

Each level/cycle of time gets progressively smaller and shorter in duration of time. Therefore, time and by virtue, life goes faster and changes are more accelerated and intense. This is where we are currently at and experiencing.

For the Mayan and many other ancient cultures, it wasn’t so much about following time, but rather following the cycle and flow of the universe. As December 21, 2012 neared, many had predicted that the end date of the Mayan calendar was going to be the end of the world or at the very least; we would experience very drastic earth changes.

The end of the world or drastic change never happen. It was later discovered after December 21, 2012, that a more accurate end date of the calendar was October 28, 2011 was the end of the 9th and final level of the Mayan calendar. 

Regardless of the actual end date, the end of the calendar was not the end of time or the world. Instead, it was the end of an age‒the end of a cycle. Moving from Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. This change through the 9 levels has been gradual from the divine eternal perspective, however, as we’ve reached each level time and changes accelerate. By the end of the final 9th level and going forward (where we are now); the vibration on the planet increases, time and changes accelerate more rapidly.  

We were ending one cycle or age and have moved into a new cycle and age. Which seems to create greater speed and intensity of change. Can you relate to this? Consider that the term “New Age” means: “A Span of Time.”  Things come and they go, the pendulum swings from one end to the other end. This is the nature of things. Ways of healing and living that were popular thousands of years ago are now being re-invented and used today.

With this shift in consciousness and behaviors, four things are happening:

  1. Souls are leaving the planet not wanting to be part of the shift (Many people of all ages are dying, some in interesting ways).
  2. People are contracting difficult physical and/or mental symptoms of discomfort or disorders. That conventional medical wisdom is having difficulty knowing how to treat.
  3. Some are losing their minds, committing crazy, greedy or horrifying acts toward others and/or themselves.
  4. While others are waking up, becoming more accepting, loving, helpful and peaceful.

You choose which part of this dynamic you want to be a part of. Yes, we choose consciously or unconsciously. 

All is Right on Schedule and in Perfect Cosmic Order
Everything of Piscean energy and value is now being exposed and challenged. The old ways are being dismantled, and in time will fall away. Its vibration and ways of fear, control and greed cannot be sustained with the new and heightened energies coming from the earth and the cosmos, especially our sun.

This impacts all of us, as we are being rebooted from our DNA outward. This shift is offering us the opportunity to live with greater love, integrity and cooperation.

More of the individual and collective human shadows of denial, avoidance, greed, judgment and corruption are being exposed, true? As fear is the absence of love, judgment is the withholding of love. This can no longer sustain us. This all is part of the process of ascension, what’s unfolding at present. It’s calling us to rise as love and goodness, because Love is who we are.

Shadows disappear, when you remove what blocks the light.

Those dwelling in energies and lower vibrations of victim-hood, or the aggressor, of shame, fear, anger, guilt, or greed‒ create a hell on earth. They will find it increasingly more difficult to sustain themselves in the 4th and soon 5th dimensional energies and vibrations of intuition, willingness, acceptance, love, compassion, joy and peace ‒ creates heaven on earth.

Here Comes the Sun
Part of our awakening to the new consciousness is that the sun is heating up and its solar flares and winds are sending high and intense energy to earth, weakening the earth’s magnetic field. The earth itself is moving to a higher vibrational state known as the Schumann Resonance. A great youtube video on this concept is suggested: “The Schumann Resonance Bursts and Affects on Human Consciousness”, youtube.com/watch?v=RLczNzWBbpE.

This resonance or frequency is rapidly increasing on earth, this along with the sun’s increased solar activity, is taking us all for a wild ride, physically, mentally emotionally, socially and spiritually.

Due to the intensity of these energies and light coming from the sun/cosmos and the earth many people are feeling the effects of this on the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual level. Feeling what’s called “Symptoms of Ascension” such as: lack of focus and concentration, increased frustration/anger, and increased fatigue, changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns.

See this link: more signs and symptoms of Ascension  for more information, or you can Google for yourself: ascension signs and symptoms.

The sun, earth and our higher soul self, are assisting us in this process of Ascension.

Ascension means: to move spiritually, to higher states of consciousness, love, wisdom and peace. We only need to be open, willing and receptive to answer and work the call to ascend ‒ rise as love, innocence and goodness.

I believe “The 2nd coming”, is not about Christ coming down again. It’s humanity (you and I), moving up, rising in higher consciousness and love, to meet our beloved. We rise as love and kindness. This is the 2nd coming – “Coming of Age in Spiritual Maturity“. Make sense?

Flashback
Within the ascension process, for several years I’ve been intrigued by three songs written by two of the Beatles and one by a group called the 5th Dimension. Two of these songs make reference to the sun.

These songs speak to this new cycle and age. The 5th Dimension in 1969 released a song entitled: The Age of Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In. It was referring to the sun and earth’s movement into the constellation and consciousness of Aquarius.

The song first speaks of Astrology; one of the oldest sciences that we have forgotten, but is slowing gaining more attention.

 When the moon is in the Seventh House 
And Jupiter aligns with Mars 
Then peace will guide the planets 
And love will steer the stars.

The song than points to us moving to the consciousness of Aquarius

Harmony and understanding 
Sympathy and trust abounding 
No more falsehoods or derisions.

Golden living dreams of visions 
Mystic crystal revelation 
And the mind’s true liberation.

I take the words of this song to mean: being more compassionate, dissolving greed, living through our heart, our intuition, and transcending the ego mind, i.e. “true liberation.”

The groups name 5th Dimension, speaks of us moving to the higher more loving 5th dimension, as we shed the density, heaviness and destruction of the 3rd dimensional ways.

Let the sun Shine In, was about allowing the “sun” which is often referred to as the Christ consciousness, to shine in, take hold within us. Raise our consciousness; be more responsible and accountable to ourselves and each other.

The Beatles, George Harrison wrote Here Comes the Sun, released in 1969. Which speaks to the power of the sun; how the sun’s energy is changing the climate and consciousness of the planet.  

Little darling, it’s been a long cold winter. 
Little darling, it feels like years since its been here.

My interpretation: We’ve been asleep, in the cold and darkness of winter, unconscious, for several thousand of years now.

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.  
Little darling, it seems like years since its been clear. 

My meaning: The ice caps are melting, the climate, the planet is changing. The fear, coldness and ignorance of humanity is melting into love, kindness and integrity. Humanity is gaining more clarity, higher awareness, waking up from the falsehoods and illusion.

Lastly, John Lennon in 1971 released Imagine, which speaks of inclusion, unity and peace.

Imagine there’s no countries 
it isn’t hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
and no religion, too.
Imagine all the people living life in peace.  

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can 
No need for greed or hunger 
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world.

Lennon’s words powerfully echo the consciousness of Aquarius I mention earlier. The writers of each of these lyrics, nearly 50 years ago, were offering us a message of an upcoming shift of the ages.

What the world could be if we moved from fear and hate, to love and acceptance, from doubt to higher knowing/intuition, from greed and despair to wisdom and sharing?

Creation and renewal, always happens from the darkness. Stronger light, greater love and insight, comes from the struggle, chaos, and the unknown. This is the nature of life.

Helpful Tips for Riding this Wave of Change: 

  • Within the current unfolding cycle, realize it’s a process.
  • So stay focused on the process of being the love you are, and getting your own emotional and spiritual house in order. Now is the time to stay grounded through activities such as, connecting with nature, meditation and other mindful practices.
  • Take time to understand this unfolding change and its intended purpose. Learn to ride its wave, rather than resist or be consumed by it.
  • Do your inner work to reconcile core emotional wounds and negative self beliefs and behavior patterns. This helps raise your consciousness and vibration.
  • Trust in and sharpen your institution. 
  • Connect with others in personal, face to face ways. Love and know your neighbor as you first love and know yourself. See this present time as the teacher and opportunity, not the threat or enemy.
  • Choose openness, awareness and love; refrain from fear, ignorance or resistance. The first choice will assist you in this shift, the second choice will create more struggle for you.
  • Yes, stand your ground/speak your truth with love, words and actions of peace. It’s important to “not to lose yourself” in this transition and ascension process. The intent of this process, is for you “to remember your true and loving self”.
  • When you stay in your process, the outcome will take care of itself. Your eternal soul is about the process; your self-created ego is about the outcome.
  • Know that uncertainty is just the result of change, fear of the unknown, and the transition through it. Learn self-control and self-discipline within the uncertainty. This is changing and controlling the only thing/person you can ‒ the self.
  • Focus on the positive, not so much the negative. Look for what’s good and uplifting,
  • Just be love, acceptance and kindness, to stay in the light. This will help you weather the storm and ride this wave toward a new age and way of being.
  • Understand and accept the cycles of the universe and life. Accept that life is impermanent ‒ things change.
  • Have awareness of your breath, of your thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs. Be mindful of your speech and actions, as you ride this wave of ascending to a higher state of consciousness, love and peace. Be patience, gentle and loving to self and others as we ride this wave.

Our Task Now is to Spiritually Awaken
To be the best version of ourselves. To protect and restore the sacredness of ourselves, our planet, and all that inhabits the earth. Honor and learn from the wise spiritual teachers, the stars and the heavily realms. With these great teachers, we must once again be the student – the disciple of these teachers and higher knowing.  Namaste

 

Are you struggling and anxious with the shift and the wave of change? 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 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.

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

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

The Healing Power of Laughter

Over the years, working with people with emotional struggles and resistance to life changes; I’ve come to appreciate, two of the biggest barriers to happiness are: fear of foolishness & taking oneself too seriously.

Life is a serious adventure, yet the key is to take one self lightly within it. 

When you were growing up, did you ever find something funny and you started to giggle or laugh. Than a parent, grandparent, or a teacher said… Don’t laugh, that’s not funny? Yet, deep down inside you, your funny bone was tickled.

Many people learned growing up, that in order to be mature, you have to be serious. That if you are having fun, you are not being good and you are not doing your job.  We get conditioned to shut down our imagination and our childlike self.

Childlike vs. Childish:

We learned to shut down the part of us that is unconditional, accepting, spontaneous, playful and curious. Creative, patient, flexible, fearless, adventurous and joyful. The result, we become more fearful, doubtful, more controlling and rigid in mind and body.

We give up the childlike innocence and wonder, and as a result, we develop more childish behaviors being: conditional, inpatient, and controlling, demanding, whinny, selfish and unhappy. Or maybe we’ve become timid, doubtful, fearful, and anxious to take risk and step out of our comfort zone.

We learned being vulnerable is risky and painful. You will be judged as wrong and not enough. So you take both life and yourself too seriously, creating increase stress, wear and tear on your body, mind and spirit. 

Life is already full of stress, with our fast paced society, being full of expectations, judgment, the need for instant gratification, the overloaded of information, and obsession/addiction to technology and social media.

Research says that 90% of office visits to primary care doctors today are for stress related problems. Some researcher’s concluded that due our fast pace and information society, that we experience more stress (fight or flight response in different ways) in one year, than our ancestors did in an entire lifetime.

Many people hold their stress in by avoiding, resisting or being critical of self and/or others. This creates toxins in the body and creates distortions in thinking, belief and behaviors, which leads to dis-ease in body and/or mind.

There are only two times during the day that I’m under stress… day and night. Yes, the stress and pressures of life are increasing and getting more intense. The key is too not lose ourselves in it, and not take ourselves too seriously within it.  

The most frequently asked question on earth is. “Where’s the bathroom?” The   most disappointing question we ask when we pass on to the afterlife is … “Why did I take life and myself so seriously?”

Do you know why angles can fly?  They take themselves lightly.

The word humor means to be fluid, to flow.

A child laughs around 300 times a day; many adults laugh only a handful of times a day.

How laughter helps the Mind – Body:

If you laugh 100 times a day, that’s equal to 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Laughter is a wonderful physical and aerobic workout.

When you frown you use 62 muscles just in your face alone. When you smile and laugh you’re only using  24 facial muscles. Point is, it takes more energy and effort to be unhappy than happy. 

Laughter releases a brain chemical called endorphin’s, which is our natural feel good chemical. 

We have cells in our body called T-Cells, that is connected to our immune system. One of the ways this cell is ignited is by laughter, so laughter and joy helps boost our immune system.

In terms of relaxing and re-framing thoughts, a 10 minute laugh is equal to 30 minutes of meditation.

Laughter is a form of mindfulness, it brings you to the present moment. Life and love are experienced in the present.

We need at least 12 laughs and 5 hugs daily to stay healthy.

Both laughter and crying are innate healing tools, and forms of healthy emotional expression and release through the physical body. We laugh so hard we start to cry, and we cry so hard we begin to laugh. One emotion naturally leads to the other.

Think of laughter as your internal Tranquilizer with no side effects.

In our humanness, we have embarrassing moments; we do foolish things, make mistakes and wrong decisions. The key is to do them with enthusiasm. I believe in the positive power of insanity, it’s the only thing that keeps me sane. There are no mistakes… only opportunities for learning and growth.

We all have embarrassing moments, and when you share your embarrassing moment with others, many can often relate to having a similar embarrassing experience as well. You are really not alone in that embarrassment; it just seemed that way at the time.

The loneliness factor is becoming a major illness throughout the world. We can communicate and connect with people easier and faster than ever; yet, because some people can be so judgmental, critical and demanding, we avoid interactions.

Many of us become more isolated to protect or insulate ourselves from the judgment. Others can become verbally or physically aggressive, as a way to protect and defend themselves. Either extreme on this continuum leads to the perception of being judged misunderstood, so we become lonely and unhappy.

Laughter is a great way to connect with people. For humor and laughter, helps break down barriers and builds rapport. Laughter is contagious; when we start laughing people around us often start laughing with us. 

It’s not about using humor and laughter at the expense of someone. The true and divine intent of humor and laughter is to relax us, connect us and help us relate to each other. It’s a way to honor the similarities of each other, and accept our differences.

Humor and laughter helps us put life situations into perspective, to view difficult circumstances in a different light and way. When you change your thoughts and perspective, you change your world. 

Dr. Bruce Lipton said: “The moment you change your perception, is the moment you change the chemistry in your body.”

People often ask me. Does the divine creator have a sense of humor? I say, “oh yes, it loves to laugh and play, the divine has a wondrous playground that the earth is a part of, it’s called the universe.”

In scripture Jesus said: if you want to enter the kingdom be as a child.

What’s love and laughter got to do with healing?

Laughter and being childlike are expressions of love to the self and others. They promote constructive problem-solving and positive ways toward reconciliation and healing. Being childlike, takes you out of the resentment or victim role; moving you toward a healthier and joyful way of living and being.

 

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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

 

 

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

 

Being Love in Everyday Life

Many people ask: How do I Be Love? A part of us makes the concept and practice of love more complicated than it intends and needs to be.  Love can be found and can be expressed in simple yet, powerful and meaningful ways. Smiling at a passerby, listening to a friend who’s stressed, offering a hug and saying thank you, petting a cat or dog; these are powerful expressions of love and caring.  In my book, Just Be Love I offer several chapters of where love can be found, yet it’s often not recognized or appreciated. Consider how nature and the universe displays infinite love, when we take a walk in the woods, sit by a stream, honor the rising sun, reflect with the setting sun, or stand, looking up at the night sky in awe at the parade of stars, or watch a gentle snow fall or rain. These are simple ways of Being, experiencing and living Love. They are expressions of love through the divine, and these examples are ways that ground us to the present moment. Life and love are found and experienced in the moment.

Love is Unconditional Giving. The act of giving, of our time, our talents, possessions, a listening ear, or a helpful hand; are ways of expressing and being love. To freely give without consideration of a loss is love without measure. St. Francis of Assisi said: “The greatest measure of love is love without measure.” Being in thoughts and expression of appreciation and gratitude is one of the highest forms of love and giving, and is a pathway to our own inner happiness and peace.

Love is Unconditional Receiving. Many of us can give freely, and it’s a way we feel loved, accepted and worthy. However, we might struggle, even avoid, receiving openly and freely; due to our inner wounded belief of feeling undeserving and unworthy. The struggle to freely receive without offering something in return is often the result of being made to feel guilt or shame, from past experiences. To freely and openly Receive, is to Give.

Being Love Calls us to Our Imagination, which is the soul/spirit of us, to dare to dream and live the childlike qualities and wonders within us. We are called to embrace and be love, for love is who we are. Love is the innocence of our being. There is sacred wisdom and strength in just Being.

Love is Being Our True Self. To be our true and authentic self, is to let go of outside opinions and judgment, of whom and how we should be. Judgment is the withholding of love, and the way of the ego, critical self.  Love is meant to be including and offer freedom. However, an aspect of love is about setting healthy boundaries with others as a way to prevent being taken advantage of and, is an act of care, concern and value toward the self.  It’s healthy to love myself enough to know when a relationship/friendship is hurting me, more than serving me. So out of love it’s important to set myself and the other person free from what’s no longer healthy and constructive. When I do what’s best for me out of love, I do what’s best for others. Accepting the other person, might not understand your decision and actions at the time.

When We Can Be Accepting, offering compassion and forgiveness to others and ourselves, we are being in the thoughts, energy and actions of unconditional love. Love should be one of our highest guiding principles in life. Love is not a condition to be obtained; it’s a certainty to surrender to. Love calls us to let go of our human ego’s will and surrender to the higher and wiser will of the infinite.

Being Love Means, I seek to keep growing and expanding in my openness and willingness to freely love to love. It’s important to keep learning and challenging myself, in order to be the best version of me. Being love invites the self to look for the good in others, the world and myself, and to view my experiences, especially the difficult ones, from the higher perspective.

Can You Just Be Love? After all love is all you really are.  Questions to consider: What are some ways you can Just Be Love?  What would cause you to be more fearful and resistance of loving and accepting someone for who they are?  What could you do for yourself to release this resistance?   What would be the benefits of this for you and your relationship with others?

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

Forgiveness: Moving Beyond the Injustice

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing tools we have for reconciling and moving beyond from the hurts and wounds of life. It’s also a profound act of love and acceptance, especially self-love. For when we forgive another person or ourselves for a wrong doing, we set ourselves free and we benefit the most from the forgiveness. Despite the healing and liberating power of forgiveness; for many of us, the act of forgiveness is one of the most resisted and thus difficult acts we can offer to others or ourselves.

I’ve come to appreciate the only reason we have forgiveness, is because we make something matter. When we make something matter, we create an intense emotional charge within us. So an unjust “cause” done to us creates a strong “effect”, often having lasting emotional, physical, social and spiritual “effects” on us. The act of forgiveness helps to lower the emotional charge and intensity within us and helps liberate us from the painful experience.

Forgiveness is not about excusing the offense or saying/believing it didn’t happen. Forgiveness is not really about the offender, it’s about the one who is affected by the cause, the one holding on to the anger, resentment, grief. Being trapped in resentment, anger, depression, grief; waiting for the offender to take responsibility and ownership of the hurt toward us, is giving away our own power, inner peace and freedom. The more we can take charge of our own healing without an expectation that the offender needs to say something to us, or do something for us, the more empowered and liberated we can be. The quote by Lewis Smedes speaks volumes about the importance of forgiveness: “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and to discover that that prisoner was you.”

Forgiveness is an act of love, and love is freedom. To forgive is to be free and a way to love. Forgiveness means to go beyond our wounded ego self, in order to free the self. The willingness to go beyond the wounded self is to rise as love, to let go of what no longer serves us, so in time we can be restored to wholeness. 

Perhaps you’re not willing and/or ready to forgive someone. That’s okay and where you are currently at. Forgiveness is not something to be forced upon or to do out of guilt, if you are not ready. One should be open, willing and accepting in order to truly forgive. Human nature is such that, we are all at different stages of willingness and readiness. If this be the case, at least consider the importance of reconciling within yourself how hanging on to negative perceptions, create toxic emotions of anger and resentment leading to paralyzing beliefs and resulting self-defeating behaviors. How all this can affect many areas of your life in ways that are not helpful to you.   

I offer you the possibility and opportunity of considering a process I call “inner reconciliation.” Inner reconciliation is a way of reorienting our perceptions and beliefs about the experience and ourselves within the fact that our life has been disrupted either mildly or severely by a wrongful act toward us. Our ego defenses and beliefs often says: “They wronged us/hurt us and so let’s stay mad, bitter resentful, etc, that way we have a sense of power and control; since we didn’t have power and control during the offending experience.” Our anger, resentment and such, become a lens through which we see ourselves and the wrong doing. Its destructive thinking, beliefs and behaviors we create as a way to keep feeding our hurt and pain, in order to keep it alive and justify it. This is only hurting ourselves now, within the fact that we were hurt by someone in the past. This is unfortunately how victim energy and behaviors begin to take root, and if not tamed and reconciled can become our way of life.

Like grief, forgiveness is a process and takes time, willingness and commitment toward moving beyond what has hurt us and seemed unfair. When we can change our perception and belief about the experience, we begin to change our world and the way we interact in it. The process of forgiveness, like moving through any change we experience in our life, is an inside job. The job and empowerment of moving through what I call the 4 R’s: Recognize: who and how I am being with my current perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, feelings/emotions and behaviors. We can’t change or move beyond something unless we acknowledge it and tell the true to ourselves about ourselves. Reconcile: The willingness to resolve the inner pain and torment. Release: To let go of what no longer serves and benefits us. This offers space for healthier and more empowering possibilities to enter into your reality. Reframe: Is to now choose to see the painful experience, yourself and the offender, in a different and more constructive way. To see the glass more full than empty. This creates the willingness and courage to construct a more positive and affirming belief about yourself, within the unfortunate experience.  

In my own life, I’ve had many opportunities to practice forgiveness in what seemed at first, an unjust cause. I offer two experiences. One, was my wife of twelve years wanting a divorce, at the time it didn’t seem fair and not my choice. I was hurt, angry and frustrated. In time, I came to a place accepting her choice and let go of making her responsible for my feelings and behaviors within the stress and change. She made her choice out of self-love and what was best for her. I also had a choice of how I would move through it and who I wanted to be within a difficult situation. The choice of hanging on to anger, sadness and resentment and such, would only take me down a self-destructive and unfulfilling path. Through accepting the things I could not change, forgiving her and myself, and empowering myself to change what I could, which was only myself, this allowed me to change my situation from the inside out and move on in my life, and be a better version of myself and a father. Years later my ex-wife and I are friends and get along well on behalf of our sons and grand children. 

Several years ago, while driving my car I was hit head on, by a driver who was attempting to pass the car in front of him. The driver of this car was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way and his insurance company settled with me. Several months after the settlement, this man decided to sue me for mental harm. It was amazing that it ended up in a jury trial. I was in disbelief and just dumbfounded how I could be setting in a courtroom on trial for something I didn’t cause. Fear, anger, and uncertainty filled my days waiting for the court appearance and the verdict. I was found not guilty. A part of me with its voice inside me, understandably wanted to turn around and sue this guy, and many people suggested this. But another voice inside said, let it go, just let him be, he’s an old unhappy man, no need to put more fuel in the fire. I had compassion for this man and his struggle with needing revenge and justice, while not acknowledging and accepting he was in the wrong. He taught me, you never win a war – with war. So I forgave the error. In his need to get back at me, he was unaware of what his anger and resentment was doing to himself. I was at peace and moving on with life.

This man was after all, another teacher and opportunity for me through this difficult life experience. Through his actions, he was offering me the opportunity of learning and practicing the gift of moving beyond the injustice and my wounded self, toward acceptance, compassion and forgiveness.

You see, when you realize we have choices within difficult, painful and unjust experiences to see the offender as the threat and the enemy or the teacher and the opportunity. Depending on how you view it and think about it, is how you will experience it. What we think about we bring about.  When we can accept and understand that our experiences are really our teachers and opportunities to practice acts such as: acceptance, compassion and forgiveness, we take the high road with love, creating the willingness and commitment to move beyond the hurt, and learn the lesson for soul growth and self-mastery. Is this an easy task to get too? No. Is forgiveness a liberating and life changing act to engage in, that offers higher meaning? Yes, for sure. Life isn’t meant to be easy, it’s meant to be meaningful.

Questions to consider: Why might you struggle with forgiveness?  What would be the benefits of forgiveness for you?  How does acceptance and willingness aid the forgiveness process?  Feel free to leave a comment, share your answers to above questions, and/or share your experience with forgiveness.

 

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