The Struggle With Loneliness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lonely in Relationship

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

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

Two Relationship Fears

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

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

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

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

The Avoidance of Self

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Own Contemplation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Illusion of Separation

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

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

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

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

Loneliness and Our Well-Being

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

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

Driven to Distraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create Balance

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

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

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

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

In Closing

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

References:

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

 

Living from the Heart: Understanding Heart Coherence

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did You Know?

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

The Human Energy System

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

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

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

So What is Heart Coherence?

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

Heart Coherence Meditation

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

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

Benefits of Heart Cohearence

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

 

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

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

Where There is Love – There is Joy

This being the season of Love and Joy. I offer this message on how unconditional love leads to Joy.

There are many attributes to the energy and expression of unconditional love such as: Kindness, respect, acceptance, compassion, patience and connection. Inclusion, willingness, openness and freedom are also part of the path to love.

The Energy of Love and Joy

I’ve come to appreciate that the energy and expression of unconditional love, naturally leads one to joy. For where there is love, joy is at love’s doorstep.

According to the “Map of Consciousness” developed by the late spiritual teacher, psychiatrist and author David Hawkins. Joy has an even higher calibration of energy and consciousness than love. Joy offers a sense of inner contentment and completeness. www.map-of-consciousness

From joy comes an even higher energy we call peace, which is to be free of distractions, and the embodiment of oneness with all. Peace comes about, when we make no distinction between ourselves as an observer and the subject, i.e. that which we observe.

True Peace is the Result of Awareness

Awareness, is to have an appreciation for all that is seen and unseen. This allows for inclusion, which ends the created ego illusion of separation.

Awareness and peace, often occurs for a person during their death process. Part of our soul task while in human form, is to obtain and sustain these states of awareness, unconditional love, joy and inner peace, earlier in life, i.e. before our death.

Many people including myself, have had moments of the experience and feeling of unconditional love, joy and peace. Fair to say, our main struggle is the ability to sustain these blissful states.

 

The Paradox of Joy and Sorrow

Joy and sorrow are the light and shade of life; without light and shade no picture is clear.”  Hazrat Inayat Khan, Sufi leader and teacher

To understand and experience joy, we must accept that it’s often realized from our experiences of hardship and sorrow, and working through them. Life is such, that in order to experience and know light, we must have the experience of darkness. So it seems with joy. In order to experience joy, we must have the experience of sorrow.

The paradox of joy and sorrow is the more you discover your joy, the more you will recognize your sorrow; and the parts of you that hold you back from joy.

Joy arrives when we offer acts of unconditional love, especially to ourselves. Having the courage to abandoned self-doubt and be more fearless. The willingness to reconcile the parts of our past, where we hold the resentment, shame, the guilt and regrets. Joy is the result of letting go of expectations and not being too needy.

Joy is in Knowing

Joy is knowing, that love, light and fullness always surrounds darkness, sorrow and emptiness. Moving through our lessons of struggle, with love, grace and gratitude, transforms our darkness to light.

Answers and higher awareness come from the struggle; and when we are ready and willing, joy is there to replace our sorrow.

The nature of love is to view life and our experiences, through childlike eyes of innocence and wonder. Unconditional love amplifies the energy of joy. So too, through our acts of  gratitude and unconditional giving, we receive love, in the form of joy.

Joy comes by acknowledging, we are part of the fabric of the divine universe. We are the infinite universe and the universe is us. Like love, joy resides in both the infinite and the simplistic.

Our Remembering

Can you see and embrace: Where there is Love there is Joy? Just Be Love my friends, and you will discover joy. You will remember who you truly are.

Love, Joy & Peace, David

Please, share your thoughts or comments on this blog.

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

The Mystery and Wonder of Infinite Love

The Eye of Infinite Love and intelligence.
Let this be your master and guide.

 

Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey

Greetings: For those interested in a deeper exploration of love from both the spiritual and human perspective. Check out my book: Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey.  

Inspired by messages from a master teacher. This book is a series of vignettes on ways we forget we are love, through our struggles and painful life experiences. More importantly, Just Be Love, offers encouraging spiritual messages and guidance to remember we are love, innocence and goodness.

Just Be Love, reflects on ways love is familiar to us, and provides inspiring ways to remember love. I take you to the hidden and mysterious places where love is often not realized. The book weaves my personal and professional experience, reflections and insights on love, and the teachings and wisdom of the spiritual masters and poets of many traditions.

Just Be Love, is a human and spiritual journey of looking within, as well as experiencing love through natural wonders, and the appreciation of life from the higher divine perspective.

 

 

 

 

One of my poems in the book:
Love as Awareness
Love is not found in the thought of love

rather in the awareness of love.
It is through our humanity, that we remember our divinity.
It is through our holy breath that we commune and 
communicate with all that is. 
It is for us to remember with higher awareness that God is Love.
And all that makes up the universe is an expression of this Love. “

 

Book is available through the publisher  http://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookstoreHome.aspx
and online book stores: www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com


What some readers have said about David an
d his book  Just Be Love:  More reviews on Amazon.com

Densely packed with great promise and a refrain of love! I found I could open it almost anywhere and dig into its core themes and the power of love. Glad I was directed to this thoughtful volume.  I like fiction

What a gift this book is!  A gift to the hearts of all of us who open its pages. Page by page, chapter by chapter, the author leads us on a journey of a lifetime, to Just Be Love. Those of us who are open to the beauty and grace of this world — and who have the courage also to accept the challenge to find the beauty within ourselves — will find it here.  This work is well written and the message is do-able and life changing, and so I recommend it to you. An accompanying workbook is also available to support the process of inner change laid out so clearly here.  Dorothy

You are a Spiritual Being.  David has written about life-altering experiences and lessons from his heart with the perspective of both a human being and a spiritual seeker. This work will challenge conventional thinking and guide you to explore the deeper meaning of life. All of our life experiences are opportunities to practice acceptance, patience, compassion and forgiveness. Trusting the process, understanding who and what you really are – an expression of the Divine – are beautifully spoken through David’s new book. Trust your instinct if you are being called to read this book. You will come back to it again and again as your spiritual understanding of life unfolds.  Jeanne

A go to book for anyone seeking to better understand all the many facets of love.  This is a beautiful book, one to sink into, meditate upon and cherish. Useful and practical information. Well written with a poetic flow. Many facets of love are discussed with a fresh and inspiring understanding. The message of hope and reminders of our Oneness are comforting in these challenging times.  Jane

Read this book.  David walks us along the path of our soul’s perspective, encouraging us to accept our life as it is and maybe more importantly, what it might not be. He invites us to allow ourselves an opening to Divine Love and forgiveness for our own inner peace and healing. This will then extend to the world of our daily experience. Reading this book once is not enough. Each chapter is a gift that can be savored and, like David’s raindrops in Chapter 34, fall gently on your mind and heart.  Jan

 A Book for All.  I love this book. There is so much good information in it to help with living daily life. This book reminds us that we are on a spiritual journey that we are here to learn what we can and make the most or our time on Earth. I’ve learned in order to grow as a human being I have to let go of some of the old beliefs, stories and habits that I have clung to – in order to love and appreciate who I am. Then to extend that love and appreciation to others as well. The insights and experiences. Thanks David for a great book, and a book I can pick up any time, and turn to any chapter and feel more focused and grounded throughout the day. You are a gifted writer and have offered something that is so needed and appreciated in today’s world.  Kate

In gratitude to you, for taking time to read this blog about Just Be Love. I would be delighted if you felt guided to order your copy soon. Much Love and winds of the Spirit your way, David

Do you desire to explore and evolve with greater love in your life. 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. My practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit my website: transitionpathways.com

 

What is Christ Consciousness?

Living the Christ consciousness here on earth, is no easy assignment. However, as a soul in human form, living and being the Christ consciousness or Buddha nature can be seen as part of our reason for being.

As we experience life in physical form, we tend to forget our essence as love, innocence and goodness. We become defined by our struggles and painful life experiences, as if this is all we are. Our created ego with its shadow, chooses to take us on an endless search of experiencing happiness and contentment by focusing on the material world.

As a result, we forget our source of being, and that we are an expression and attribute of this divine source. We lose sight of our essence that we are first and foremost eternal spiritual beings, having a temporary experience in physical form.

The teachings of Jesuha Ben Joseph, commonly known as Jesus, offer humanity a fresh, yet radical perspective of how to live and be on this earthly plane. It’s important to understand that the name Jesus Christ is comprised of two major components and potentials:

  1.  Jesus in human form, was the personality.  
  2. Christ, was and is the consciousness.           

 

Jesus’s mission in part was to be the expression and model of the Christ consciousness, while in the human personality.  Jesus offered humanity, divine principles. These principles or laws, are principles that govern the universe, so they would naturally govern the earth and those who live here.

To study and embrace these laws, one comes to realize we humans with an ego and shadow aspects, think and live in exact opposition or in contradiction with these divine principles. The awareness and acceptance of this, is the first step toward Christ Consciousness. The second step, is to come to a deeper appreciation of the personality of Jesus as a soul in human form, and the consciousness he was offering humanity through his Christ spirit.

Some of the divine principles or laws are:

  • Law of Love: The energy and awareness of love is what creates and sustains the universe.
  • Law of Oneness: Everything in the universe is connected.
  • Law of Rhythm: Everything vibrates and moves in a certain rhythm. These rhythms create vibrations and frequencies, cycles and patterns, even what we know as seasons.
  • Law of Cause and Effect: Nothing happens by chance or outside of universal laws. Every action has a reaction or significance. What we reap we sow.
  • Law of Attraction: What we think about, we bring about. Our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, words and actions produce energies, which in turn attract like energies. Positive attracts positive, negative attracts negative.
  • Law of Non-Resistance: What we resist will persist and has power over us. True power comes through non-resistance.

 

Back in the day of Jesus:

Leaders of the Roman government and Jewish religion, created a sense of entitlement or “specialness”, so they struggled with Jesus’ teachings of these principles and found him to be too “out there.” They felt Jesus was giving common folks too much inner power. If people bought into Jesus messages and teachings; such as: of you can do the things I do and more, leaders in government and religious systems, would lose influence and power i.e .control over the masses.

Given humanities level of consciousness at the time, it would make sense why church leaders wanted Jesus condemned and put to death. It was due to fear and unwillingness to consider possibilities beyond their limited belief system.  Consequently, much of humanity resisted embracing Jesus’s higher perspective and truth.

 So what is Christ Consciousnesses?

The Center for Christ consciousness defines Christ Consciousness as: “The highest state of intellectual development and emotional maturity.” They state that “Jesus achieved this higher state of being in his human life, and was given the term “Christ” in recognition of his achievement in spiritual status.”

I view the Christ Consciousness as a: State of awareness of our true nature, our higher self, and our birthright as multi-dimensional souls of the universe; experiencing life in the 3rd dimensional physical world .

I also view Christ Consciousness, simply as: Enlightenment, connection and living through our higher wiser self, in alignment with universal/divine principles or laws. Jesus was one of many other enlightened beings on the planet such as: Mohammad, Buddha, Rama, Krishna, Shiva, and Mary Magdalene, etc.

Christ consciousness is coming to know the true and whole self; by reconciling and releasing the struggles and wounds of our earthly experiences. Viewing these experiences, now from the higher divine perspective.

The higher consciousness of the Christ, promotes self-love and self-acceptance, as well as loving and accepting others. This consciousness speaks of the truth, with words of peace.

Our mind and heart, must be in harmony and alignment with the mind and heart of the divine universe. Most of humanity thinks primarily through their lower or ego mind, and at the avoidance of their heart knowing. The ego mind is mostly about safety and survival. It is consumed and defined by unconscious negative thoughts and defeating self-beliefs. Furthermore, it’s  judgmental, greedy, selfish, and driven by need for power, control, resentment and entitlement.

The higher mind or Christ mind, has the sense and experience of being in the “everything” and the “nothing.” It’s not defined by the negative experiences and practices non-attachment. Be in this world, but not of this world.

Ways to live the Christ Consciousness:

  • Practice acceptance, non-attachment and non-resistance, through meditation, prayer, Ti Chi, Yoga, etc.
  • One responds to life and others, rather than react to life and others.
  • You create space for the ego of another person to be. Loving the other’s person’s ego and them, without losing yourself in their actions and reactions.

 

Our 3rd dimensional reality isn’t the true reality:

Christ Consciousness is to learn and master separating ourselves from third dimensional qualities, which rely on our physical senses. Our five senses along with our thoughts are major distractions in achieving higher consciousness and inner peace. Thoughts don’t make us who we are, so the same can be said for our five senses. If you are deaf or blind, you are still you.

Our senses are just a part of your physical functioning mindset and third dimensional reality. It’s what lies deep within the essence of us, the soul of us, that truly defines us. So the Christ consciousness masters the illusions of the third dimension, and dwells in the higher dimensions and realms of the mental and spiritual mind.

Christ consciousness means: One has transcended the limited time and space mind and perspective. To now be and operate from the realm of possibilities – the realm of the Quantum field, beyond time, space and matter. So one is being more in their light body, while living in their physical body.

One views life experiences from a higher more loving and accepting perspective.  Living from the perspective of unconditional love and acceptance of the spirit of all that exists.

In Closing:

With openness, willingness  and commitment, the Christ consciousness is obtainable. It takes the desire and a dedicated practice to strive and arrive at this higher state of being and living.

Living the Christ consciousness, is therefore, a continuous process of experiencing, learning, growing and expanding in awareness and love. This is part of what we are here to achieve as a soul in human form, while here in earth school.

 

Do you desire to move into the Christ consciousness? 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.

What’s the Difference between Religion and Spirituality?

The concept and practice of spirituality is becoming more popular and acceptable these days. Many people, however, struggle with defining the difference between spirituality and religion. I will offer some fundamental differences between traditional religion, progressive religion and spirituality.

I also provide research on the trends of religion and spirituality. Additionally my own thoughts are included, as to the importance of traditional religions being more open to progressive spiritual concepts for their own sustainability.

What is Religion?
The word religion in Latin means: “to bind oneself, to commit oneself.” Religion involves offering duty, a commitment to God and its particular teacher/prophet, such as: Jesus Christ or Mohammad.

Religion is about morals and what’s deemed right or wrong by the religious leaders. The spiritual or religions teacher’s messages are interpreted by church leaders and created doctrines, for man’s understanding and use. These doctrines offer a moral compass, and dictate how people should conduct themselves in order to win favor of God and the religion in general. 

Traditional religion I believe, often stresses the importance of sacrificing oneself as a way to honor and live for one’s God. Religion offers rituals of worship and praise to their God. It is public and group centered in its orientation; designed to be a source of comfort and advice, through a supportive community.

Conventional religious organizations, offer a way and place to worship and praise their God. Providing a structure for connection and friendship. Likewise, offering inspiring and comforting messages, rituals and music.

The churches or temples are beautiful and offer a sense of awe and peace. Religion serves many people well, and reinforces the “group think” and connection need.

Systems, such as: governments, education, corporate and financial systems, have rules and ways the masses are to adhere to, in order for the system to function. These systems require the group to conform, so it doesn’t want you to be different or step out of the norm.

Beginning in childhood, we are conditioned to conform to family and group/system rules and order. On one level, this serves a purpose and is a means of maintaining order within the system. However, it can create subtle, yet powerful ways to control people.

I view traditional religion, as a system, having its own rules and group norms. Generally, religion, like most systems is about conformity to its group rules. It’s not really interested in you becoming self-actualized or liberated‒free. It often struggles with independent thinkers and people being “out of the box.”

In my opinion, the philosophy of many religious organizations advocates the belief: God, is out there somewhere. So you need a third party to intervene with your communion and communication with God.

Traditional religion is a structured institution, governed by hierarchy, which is mostly male dominated and oriented. Today some religious hierarchies remain blinded to the fact, that women are becoming more empowered and have equal merit in their wisdom and capabilities to be religious leaders.

Progressive religious organizations are ones that are breaking the old paradigm, and including women in leadership roles and worship services. They are in general more including, rather than excluding, and embrace the concept of unity, rather than separation.

What is Spirituality?
The origin of “spiritual” is the Latin word spiritus meaning breath. Breathing, is an essential element of human life. Therefore, spirituality like breathing, is part of the essence of living. Other words with this common root include inspire, aspire and to conspire which means to breathe together.

Spirituality is more personal and individual in its philosophy and formats. It takes a more holistic‒body, mind and spirit approach. With an emphasis on one’s well being within their connection to a higher power. It views the divine, is as much inside of each of us as outside of us.

It embraces and encourages three parts or aspects of life, for exploration and discovery:
1. Divine wisdom from a higher power and your own
higher self.
2. One’s connection and relationship to nature and the
universe.
3. The discovery of the true self.

I believe, spiritual seekers have interest in moving beyond their ego; with a desire to live more from their heart-center. Spirituality encourages exploration of the soul and seeks to ask, and more importantly explore life transforming questions, such as:
Who am I?    
What’s my purpose for being here?
What’s the meaning of life?

Spirituality allows you to have control of your own individual journey‒your purpose, beliefs and method. Like the spiritual masters and teachers of many traditions. A spiritually mature and confident person has released the “group think” ideas and mind-set.

They are independent thinkers and doers; sailing on their own spiritual destiny. They are comfortable and adaptable with both personal and group interactions. They have learned the art of non-attachment, so they are accepting and tolerant to the path of others. Additionally, they have no need to convince others of their own spiritual path.

Distinctions between Religion and Spirituality
In my view, a major distinction between conventional religion and spirituality is: Spirituality advocates inclusion, love and unity of all parts of us, our fellow humans, and the earth.

It views the natural world as sacred, and has a child-like curiosity of the universe, and our connection to all that makes up the universe. Spirituality sees the divine/God in all that is. In addition, there is equal honoring and value of both female and male in leadership and teaching roles

Many traditional religions are about fear and shame/guilt, promoting a fear of God/Allah. Advocating separation and exclusion, an “us vs. them” mind-set. If you aren’t of my faith and belief, you are not welcomed and I should refrain from interaction with you.

I’ve come to realize a simple distinction between religion and spirituality is: Religion tells you who you need to be. Where as, spirituality invites you to discover who you are and can be.

There are roughly 4, 200 religions today
Most people believe in only one of these and discount the other 4,199. There are over 7 billion people on the planet today and each one of us likely has a different perception and interpretation of what spiritually and religion means.

I believe the key is the realization that humans and all of life, for that matter are inherently spiritual. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Spiritually affirms there can be many paths to the divine and inner peace. It encourages the exploration of the metaphysical.

“Metaphysics” is the study or exploration of those things and phenomena which are “beyond-the-physical” realm. It’s our connection to all things seen and  unseen.

Spirituality does not necessarily need a building to connect with God and inner peace. Many spiritual people find connection with their higher power and to life in more natural and informal surroundings.

To promote one’s spiritual experience, ways of self-expression and connection with divine energy. Spirituality encourages, meditation, being in nature, participation in a yoga or other self-enhancement classes, and spiritual retreats, etc.. Even preparing and eating a meal can be a spiritual experience with mindful intention, thoughts and practice.

I myself enjoy and encourage my clients (if they choose) in exploring the teachings and wisdom of different spiritual masters and world religions. This makes for a more inclusive understanding and acceptance of others. Which is part of the ingredients of love and world fellowship.

Enlightened Beings
Teachers and prophets: Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad and Krishna were not of a particular religion. Jesus wasn’t Christian and Buddha wasn’t Buddhist. They were spiritually enlightened beings and teachers, who taught inclusion, unconditional love, acceptance, and higher divine truth and ways of being. Particular religions adopted each of these teacher’s as their own. As in Jesus Christ associated with Christianity and Mohammad with Islam, etc.

Jesus for example, was an independent thinker and doer. He was for everyone. He interacted with women, children, the poor and sick. He promoted power-with, not power over. He challenged Jewish law, and broke the Sabbath; he was a rebel/”out of the box.” Church/group leaders were threatened by him, and used their man-made laws to condemn him.

Jesus’ purpose was to offer humanity, a higher dimension of love, teaching divine/metaphysical laws and ways to live a reverent spiritual life.

A Trend Toward Spirituality 
The phrase “spiritual but not religious” has become widely used in recent years by some Americans who are trying to describe their religious identity. While Pew Research Center does not categorize survey respondents in such a way, surveys do find that the U.S. public overall appears to be growing a bit less religious‒but also somewhat more spiritual.

A study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2012 found that the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion has increased from 15% in 2007 to 20% in 2012. One fifth of the US public and a third of adults under the age of 30 are reportedly unaffiliated with any religion, however they view themselves as being spiritual in some way. Of these religiously unaffiliated Americans, 37% classify themselves as spiritual, not religious, while 68% say they do believe in God, and 58% feel a deep connection to the earth.    http://www.pewforum.org/files/2012/10/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf

Changing Times
The latest survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center in 2014, finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are not affiliated with a religion has jumped over six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.

Furthermore, the study suggests, that in some ways Americans are becoming more spiritual. About six-in-ten adults now say they regularly feel a deep sense of “spiritual peace and well-being,” up 7% since 2007. And 46% of Americans say they experience a deep sense of “wonder about the universe” at least once a week, also up 7 points over the same period.

Overall, 64% of religiously affiliated adults say they feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least weekly, compared with only 40% those who are unaffiliated. Even among the “non-believers,” there has been a recent 5-point rise in the people who say they frequently feel spiritual peace (from 35% in 2007 to 40% in 2014).  www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/21/americans-spirituality/

To address this decreasing trend in religious affiliation. Some religious organizations and particular churches; are embracing progressive spiritual concepts into their organizational structure and worship service.

In closing
The concept of spirituality and its practice is growing, especially among younger adults. Research shows people are abandoning fear based doctrines and self- righteous authority figures within the religious structures. As a result, more people are favoring the exploration of a higher truth on their own. Spirituality seems to offer an attractive fit to this new paradigm shift.

As humanity is becoming more globally connected, people have greater exposure to spiritual traditions and ways of living from around the world. A sort of West means East encounter is happening.

People are embracing and including several spiritual traditions into their lifestyle. There is a greater desire to know and understand our neighbor and ourselves, in relation to not just the world and God, but to the wonders of the universe‒our connection to all that is.

Spirituality, with its progressive concepts and teachings provides a vehicle to assist individuals toward one’s divinity.

I believe, if religions are to sustain themselves in the years ahead; it seems important for them to begin to embrace the concepts and ideas of spirituality.

Progressive churches of some religions are realizing the value of incorporating the ideals of spirituality as a way of connecting with people. While offering a more universal and holistic approach.

There is value in taking the productive love based concepts and teachings of religion and merging these with spirituality. Offering an inclusive, love and acceptance based way of assisting individuals on their journey.

After all, we are to expand the mind and open the heart. This is how growth and transformation happens on both the soul and human level.

I welcome your comments.

Are you curious and seeking more information or guidance with your spiritual journey? A gentle resource is just a phone call or email away. Please contact David Schroeder if you would like support with your spiritual concerns and journey. David offers life transition and spiritual growth counseling and coaching session’s in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and move through life transitions.

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

12 Benefits of the Power of Acceptance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Acceptance is a sign of spiritual maturity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

7 Traits of Spiritual Maturity

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

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

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

The following are 7 traits of spiritual growth and maturity:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

3 Myths and 6 Truths about Self-Love

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

There are both myths and truths about self-love.  

 3 common Myths about Self-Love:

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

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

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

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

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

6 Truths of Self-Love:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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