Moving beyond the family bond

‘You need to diminish yourself in order not to lose the love of others’. 
This is a well accepted, toxic belief, passed down through generations, from mothers to daughters, fathers to sons.
It is the belief that you betray your kin by stepping out of the family bond that keeps you small and on hold. 
The bond I am talking about is not the free, loving connection between family members, but the hidden bonding that is forged by guilt and the need to cover up old, unprocessed wounding from the past. 
The loyalty towards your parent’s woundedness is a powerful one, urging you to not move beyond their unhappiness by stepping into your own, authentic power and freedom. It is like a silent contract binding you to the responsibility of healing your mother or father, of meeting their inner needs and easing their pain, feeling selfish and cold if you don’t. 
This bond is a strong one, and is still keeping you on hold nowadays because deep down you believe that the source of love is found in it. This belief, having its roots in early childhood, includes the idea that if you are able to heal your parents, you heal the source of love. When you heal the source of love, you will be loved and seen again.
Stepping out of the family bond, even when it keeps you trapped in feelings of guilt and powerlessness, feels like stepping into a void, evoking feelings of deep fear and not belonging, of doing something fundamentally wrong. Not only the family bond tries to pull you back into place, also cultural you are deeply encoded to never leave the clan, especially not the parents.
This is because we do not know that the source of love was never out there, but hidden in ourselves, hidden in the heart of our being. 
The source of love you are looking for is inside. You’ve heard it before, but it is meaningless until you are ready to move beyond old safety. 
Finding this source means letting go of the guilt you took up as a child and shift your focus, shift your center of gravity from outside to inside. It means listening to your inner needs and becoming an inner parent for your wounded inner child. This is not selfish, but an act of love that will set you and your loved ones free.
You cannot heal the inner wounding of your mother.
You cannot heal the inner wounding of your father.
Let it go.
You can only heal yourself by seeing through beliefs causing self loathing and feelings of unworthiness. Only you can come home in who you are, fully and totally. It is your natural state; you are meant to be home. You are meant to answer your inner calls, meant to meet your needs and enjoy your own, free voice. 
And once you do, you open the door wide to that inner source of love that was actually never yours to own. From this source love flows without a price tag, without limits or sacrifice, love that is not given or received by you but just flowing freely, as it always has and always will.

The denial of love

Could it be that loving yourself is the portal to that abundant, unconditional source of love we all have inside us? That source that you came to look for outside of yourself but that was always waiting to be discovered right here, as the essence of your own being?

Somehow you seem to have learned the opposite; that you need to turn away from your own self in order to be a loving person. 

You learned to make yourself unimportant, silencing your truths and aspirations, making yourself invisible in service of needs that were not your own. It is still a widespread, deep embedded belief in our culture that it is a good thing not to pay too much attention to your feelings, your longings, especially not to your inner woundedness, but to simply carry on instead, be strong and not a bother to others. 

This kind of loving is in fact a deep denial of the nature of love itself. It has a price, it urges you to sacrifice something precious, installing a feeling of shortage instead of abundance, of shame and guilt whenever you pay attention to your inner needs and dreams.

How can something that is loving for you be unloving for someone else?
How can being happy and powerful stand in the way of someone else’s happiness and strength?

How to take care of yourself

How can you take care of yourself?
By taking care of yourself. 

Not the “taking a hot bath and have piece of chocolate because I deserve it” kind of care, but real care.
Listening to your inner hurt, your small and big fears, your feelings of unworthiness and believing you are unlovable. Listening and understanding, being there for yourself by gently holding those feelings and let them speak up. What is your hurt about? What made you feel small and invisible today?

In this quiet, sincere attention your fears will come to rest. You will realize the untruth of your inner child’s beliefs, beliefs forged so long ago but that still trick you into feeling guilty, ugly or ashamed.
Sit with yourself like you would sit with a wounded child. Offer her or him safety, respect, and as much love as you can muster. No longer invest in taking sides against who you are, criticizing your moves and expressions. This healing will never come from outside. No person, no circumstance, no achievement will ever be able to fill this gap inside. Only when you begin to listen and care for your own woundedness, choosing unconditionally for who you are already, can you rest in your self.

It may take time and dedication, but when the gap closes, incredible love and ease flow in, not because you are finally good but because you finally love who you are. Your story falls away, your anxiety no longer holds. It was always your own self hatred that created your inner suffering. Without it, your natural state, one of ease and clarity, begins to shine effortlessly. This is perhaps the greatest freedom you will ever experience.

Find it now

There’s a deep longing in all of us to feel connected, to feel that warm reassurance of being together andnot alone. 
We have this longing because we feel somehow separate from others, drifting, on our own little island, with a hurting heart. We long for warmth, for natural beingness, for being part of that big body of existence, rich and fluid and alive. We long for being ourselves, without questioning each step we make: are we doing things right, are we meaningful and loved enough?

It is like we cut ourselves loose, severed our hearts, head and limbs from something life-giving, and drifted into space, away from the mothership. We feel lonely, we do not know who we are, and believe we somehow are supposed to manage this life on our own.
It is a painful illusion. We feel separated, and reach out to feel connected again. But the gap that we try to bridge, that gap of hateful beliefs about ourselves, will keep us right where we are, hungry for scraps of love and validation that are thrown our way.

Truth is, we are connected already. We are inside the mothership, safe and sound. We never left. We are warmly embraced and inspired by each other, from moment to moment. The painful illusion of separation is indeed an illusion, held in place by the mistake that we are unlovable in our core.

What do you believe about yourself this very moment?

Become aware of your thoughts, of the sensations in your body.
Where do you believe love is to be found? In the way other people look at you? Out there somewhere? In the future? In the past? In some unreachable place that is definitely not your own home? 
Find it now, here, in your belly, in your heart. Fill yourself up with it, claim it, hold it, be it. Stop pretending that you are any less than love and clarity, and come home to who you are.

The willingness to meet painful feelings

Loving yourself is not just about reminding yourself you are lovely.
It also means being willing to meet your painful feelings.

And that can be quite challenging ;-)

Because sometimes our painful feelings are clear, but often they seem to float just under the surface.
The reason is that we all have our ways to dismiss our own fear, our feelings of unworthiness or shame. It is like an automatic reaction that kicks in when we start to feel less than somebody else. Or threatened in some way.

We tend to ignore our hurt, get cynical and angry towards others or get lost in the belief that we are a total failure. In fact, we build a wall around our hurt in order not to feel it so much.
It is not such a good trick, because we still feel shit and now forgot why.
So what is the loving thing to do when you do not know why you feel bad? When you are caught in a “I don’t feel good but let’s soldier on” mood?
Listen harder. Take your time, allow all your feelings to speak up, also the ones that dismiss your hurt.
the irritation that wants your sadness to be quiet
the self hatred that tells you you are a failure 
the anger that tells you it is the fault of so and so
Come to clarity about why you feel shaky, depressed or lost. 
Dig up that toxic belief that you mistakingly kept on believing and that’s keeping you feeling small and worthless, even today. It always lies at the bottom of our suffering.

I am not lovable
I have no right to be here
I am a burden to others

And when you found it, all you need to do is open your heart to that unloved spot and fill it to the brim with your compassion, your warmth. Take care of it, finally, and embrace it with all your love. It will feel so good!

Glowing heart

See that glowing heart under the surface?

Perhaps faint and muffled, covered with unbelief and worn out thoughts. 
Perhaps hidden by a layer of dust; countless grey particles of discouragement and self-doubt.
Perhaps buried under stories of self loathing and shame.
When we do not focus on our love and goodness, on our innocence and purity, on our joy and happiness, we will not see it.
Our hearts stay out of sight, tucked away under a colorless blanket of disbelief.

So shift focus. Right in this moment.
Focus on your heart, that never stopped being perfectly alive, shiny and bright.
Focus on your inner brilliance, your inner warmth.
It is your birthright, your true nature.
It may hurt to shift this focus. Because you will also become aware of the stuff that covered it for so long. And in becoming aware of it, it’s easy to get distracted, to get lost in what you didn’t get and feeling powerless and sad because of it.

Then focus again. 

Find that glowing heart under the surface, that source of brilliance that you are. In its light, old beliefs will melt, simply because they cannot hold themselves up any longer.

Saying no

What about saying no?
Say no to things that do not feel right, that bore you or are not of interest to you.
Say no to that party that you do not feel like going to, say no to people that bring you down. 
Say no to people that suck you empty.

Say no to your mother when you feel no.
No to that party of friends you never felt you belonged to.
No to things that do not speak to you.
Say no when you feel you need a break.
No to your children when you need time for yourself.
Say no when your body says no.
Say no because you can.
Be true to truth, make it priority.
Enjoy no.
Your true self will love it.
Your inner child will be delighted.
From there every yes is a full and radiant one!