Do you ever think that life would be less of a struggle if only people treated you better, or if your circumstances were different?
You’d be so much more at peace if only you didn’t worry so much about the future, or have so many regrets about things you did or didn’t do in the past.
You could feel so much more joyful if only you had better relationships with people who were more mature, loving, and thoughtful.
You ruminate on the possibilities for your life…
If only you could meet someone who loved and appreciated you, you would stop feeling inadequate and self-conscious…
If only your kids would take some responsibility and listen to you, you’d stop worrying about them…
If only you made more money and didn’t have so much debt, you wouldn’t feel so trapped…
If only your partner stepped up, you could stop feeling resentful…
If only you’d stop beating yourself up all the time, you’d stop feeling ashamed of yourself…
If only you could stop eating unhealthy foods, you wouldn’t feel so powerless over your body…
There’s always some reason why your life isn’t as relaxed and easy as you wish it were.
You’re fed up and tired, and you’re tired of being fed up!
Why can’t life feel easier? Why can’t you get along better with people? Why is there always something that gets in the way of your happiness?
In this article I’m about to tell you why, and I bet the answer will really surprise you.
Why will the answer surprise you? Because it’s going to challenge some assumptions you’ve probably had your entire adult life about the cause of your discontent.
You’re unhappy because people aren’t treating you with love and respect.
You’re feeling down because you have “less” than others, or because you’re stuck with personal or physical challenges.
And you’re discontent because you’re too “weak” and can’t say no to substances, food, and people.
But no. NONE of these reasons are the real reason why you don’t feel at peace in your life and completely self-assured.
That’s because all of these reasons are superficial. They are merely the symptoms of what’s really going on beneath the surface of your relationship conflicts and personal failings.
What your unhappiness, strained relationships, unwanted habits, and internal conflicts really indicate is that you’re in deep, emotional pain.
But you either don’t know it, or you don’t fully understand it.
And even if you do know about your deep emotional pain, you have no idea what to do about it.
When you don’t know you’re in deep, emotional pain, you’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s say that something happens and you get annoyed or offended.
Or nothing happens and you get antsy and restless.
You don’t like the way those unpleasant sensations wash over you, so you deny, distract, and deflect the feeling away.
Like most people, you’re not even consciously aware that you’re doing this most of the time.
How do you deny, distract, or deflect?
You just march to the refrigerator for something sweet or the pantry for something crunchy. THAT will soothe your boredom or your anger, you think.
You text your best friend to vent. You want them to tell you that you’re right, and you want them to agree. That person IS a jerk! THAT will make you feel justified…and calm you down.
You’ll pour yourself a drink, or go outside for a cigarette. You just need to relax, for Pete’s sake.
But these are all ways of pushing the unpleasant feelings down, so you don’t need to face the scariest, biggest, most disempowering feeling of them all:
But fear of what?
You may be thinking, but I’m not afraid of anything. I’m just ticked off right now because my partner is being clueless…or my boss is being inconsiderate…or the bank screwed up my loan papers…
I understand. You are under the impression that others are responsible for what you’re feeling.
And those feelings of anger, anxiety, shame, whatever they are, are simply a reaction to the world around you.
But they’re not. They’re a reaction to what you believe about yourself in that moment:
That you’re worthless.
The mere thought that any of those statements may be true is gut-wrenching. Whatever it is you think you’re experiencing, underneath the unpleasant sensations is FEAR. You’re afraid because if you’re really unworthy or unlovable, you believe you won’t survive.
As children, we sensed that being loved and accepted by our parents or caregivers was tantamount to our survival. Without them, we couldn’t take care of ourselves.
If they left us alone in the crib, or ignored us, or scolded us, we didn’t know what to make of that other than there was something fundamentally wrong with us, or that we were unworthy of love.
We therefore equated being ignored, scolded, or left alone by parents, caregivers, or by teachers, peers, or religious leaders, with a loss of love (abandonment, and therefore peril), so we’d do or say things in order to feel safe.
We lashed out, blamed others, said yes when we really meant “no,” we yelled and screamed, we cried and whined.
We wanted to numb ourselves to those scary feelings.
As adults, we still employ those same dysfunctional coping strategies that we learned as we were growing up.
We people-please. We act passive-aggressive. We don’t stand up for ourselves. We act like martyrs. We rage, blame, or threaten. We shut down, withdraw, or isolate. We drink, smoke, do drugs, overeat.
So you see…
You haven’t been taking loving care of yourself. You haven’t allowed yourself to face your deepest, scariest feelings and deal with what’s underneath them. You haven’t been there for yourself.
You’ve been denying, deflecting, distracting…
You’ve been self-abandoning and you don’t even know it.
And until you’re able to do what it takes to be more loving to yourself, you’ll always be stuck in discontent, blaming something or someone for your malaise.
But there is a solution to all of this.
There’s a way to stop the dysfunctional strategies and self-abandonment.
There’s a way for you to show up for yourself and be your own best friend and advocate.
In other words, there’s a way to love yourself that can help you heal from your anxiety, shame, anger, malaise, irritability, and self-doubt.
It’s contained within a process that I co-developed many decades ago that has since helped countless people heal their deepest emotional pain and miraculously transform ALL aspects of their lives.
The process that I created with my colleague and friend Dr. Erika Chopich to help clients address the underlying emotional pain that’s at the root of almost all relationship conflict, inner struggle, and discontent is called Inner Bonding.
It’s a 6-step process that brings to light the false beliefs driving your painful feelings and dysfunctional patterns and coping mechanisms. It then helps you determine the specific actions you need to take in order to be more loving to yourself, which in turn heals the underlying emotional pain driving your self-abandonment.
Teaching this process of Inner Bonding has been the highlight of my 50 year (yes, 50!) career showing clients how to take action with regard to self love by listening to their inner guidance and taking responsibility for their feelings.
Now I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible. Almost everyone can benefit from learning about how to take action on self love and heal the dysfunctional coping strategies we use to distract ourselves from anxiety, malaise, and other painful emotions.
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When you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll learn more about how to be loving to yourself. When you’re loving to yourself, your entire life opens up and blossoms:
You’ll get along better with everyone in your life.
You’ll have an easier time setting boundaries with toxic, abusive people.
You’ll finally see and appreciate the beauty and joy in your life that has up until now been stifled and muted by your emotional pain.
ALL aspects of your life will improve, and you’ll finally thrive like never before.