Today we're going to talk about how to create and cultivate true self-love, the single most important ingredient for finding your beloved–and keeping love alive. When it comes to learning self-love, I cannot think of anyone wiser and more helpful than my dear friend Margaret Paul, Ph.D., the co-creator of Inner Bonding.
Get ready to learn real tools for deepening your own self-love and transforming your search for love!
Resources and links
- Links to books, resources and courses mentioned in this episode can be found at the bottom of these show notes
Introducing Margaret Paul
Ken: Hello, everybody. Welcome to Deeper Dating. Today we're going to talk about self-love, how to create and cultivate self-love, which is the most important ingredient for being able to find your beloved. I cannot think of someone better, wiser, more insightful, more wisdom filled around this subject than my dear, dear friend Margaret Paul, the co-creator of Inner Bonding. I'll tell you a little bit about Margaret Paul in a moment, but I want to say first is that this subject is indescribably important for all aspects of our lives, and hence just as fully for the wiser search for love. This is what Margaret has focused her entire career on, is that deeper understanding.
Ken: Dr. Margaret Paul is a bestselling author and a relationship expert, and the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding self-healing process, which is recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette and countless other people, myself included. She's appeared in numerous radio and television shows including Oprah. Her book titles include
- Do I have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?
- Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by God?
- Healing your Aloneness
- Inner Bonding
- Diet for Divine Connection
Scroll to the bottom of our show notes for links to these.
Margaret has successfully worked with thousands of people around the world and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years and changed countless lives including my own. I'm just very grateful and excited that we're going to get to dive into this incredibly important subject with the wonderful Dr. Margaret Paul.
Margaret: Thanks, Ken. It's great to be here with you.
Ken: It's great to have you here. Today we're going to do some deep work for our listeners, so that when they leave this podcast and this video, they're going to really be able to have some very real tools for deepening their self-love and changing their search for love as a result of that. Margaret, could you tell us about the importance of true self-love, and how it's found, and how it's not found?
Margaret: True self-love is actually vitally important for all aspects of life, but especially in relationships because first of all, we attract at our common level of self-love or our common level of self-abandonment. If we want to attract somebody who's going to love us, who's going to share love, we've got to learn how to become that person first. We've got to learn to become our own beloved in order to attract another beloved because if we're abandoning ourselves, which most of us learn to do as we were growing up, and I can talk about the four major ways. Would you like me to talk about the four major ways people abandon themselves?
Ken: Sure. Let us briefly know about that. That's important.
Major ways people abandon themselves
Margaret: Most of us have learned these four ways without realizing that it's self-abandonment.
We stay in our heads
One of them is that we learn to stay up in our head rather than be present in our body because when we were little we couldn't manage big feelings. Big feelings were overwhelmingly, so we learned to go up in our head, but our feelings are in our body. Let's say that you have a child who comes to you feeling upset and instead of attending to the upset you just go play on your computer or something, you go up in your head. That child is going to feel abandoned, going to feel rejected. That's what happens with our feelings. We can call our feelings an inner child, and we feel rejected on the inner level when we stay up in our head, and we ignore our feelings.
We judge ourselves harshly
Margaret: Then another thing that most of us have learned to do is judge ourselves harshly. You're not good enough. What's the matter with you? You'll never make it. You're going to end up on the street. You're ugly, you're fat, whatever it is. We go on and on with self-judgment believing that this will motivate us to do better, but all it does is really make us feel anxious, make us feel depressed. Again, if you had a child you treated that way, that child would feel terrible, would feel unloved, and rejected, and abandoned. That's what happens on the inner level, and this is the cause of so much pain. Then we don't realize. We don't realize we're the cause of the pain.
Margaret: Let's say we judge ourselves. We end up feeling anxious. Then we turn away from the anxiety. Instead of moving towards it, instead of being open to learning and saying, "What am I telling myself? How am I treating myself that's causing this?" we may then turn to various addictions. I'm anxious, I better eat. I better have a drink. I better smoke a cigarette. I better watch TV. I better go try and have sex, whatever it is. I better go shopping, whatever it is to avoid the feelings.
Ken: Let me just interject here that it's so clear that this is the hero's journey because this is a journey of bravery, and dignity, and authenticity. What I love about your work is you don't shy away from the truth, that we have to answer these questions, that we have to embody our feelings. Go ahead. I just wanted to acknowledge the power in that.
Courage to move towards our feelings rather than away from them
Margaret: Yeah. It takes courage to move towards our feelings rather than away from them, to embrace them, and learn from them. Again, if you had a child, the child was upset or anxious, and you just went and grabbed a drink, that child is going to feel rejected. Again, that happens on the inner level.
We make somebody else responsible for our feelings
Finally, one of the big ways in relationships is that we make somebody else responsible for our feelings. Instead of taking care of ourselves, valuing ourselves, learning to truly love ourselves, we say, "No, I'm not okay unless that person loves me, that person approves of me." Once again, the child analogy. If you had a child and said, "Look, I'm not going to be the one to love you. You've got to go and press that person. If they like you, then you're okay." That's going to create all kinds of stress in the child, all kinds of pressure.
That's what happens on the inner level. We pressure ourselves and say, "That person has to define our worth. That person has to make us feel safe and worth," instead of learning to do that for ourselves. Then when we're abandoning ourselves in all of these ways, we're going to attract somebody who's doing the same thing, and that's going to create an unhappy relationship.
Mystery is the essence of learning and growing
Ken: Yes, yes, so true. You know, just to say a few things about this, I just want to acknowledge the presence of mystery in this because when we do this step of embracing our feelings and being in our feelings, there is a mystery. There's a sense of I can't. I just can't do this. There's a discovery that happens in that process. We actually discover who we are by embracing the mystery of how am I going to bear this feeling? You give us a pathway to get through that potentially very terrifying situation there.
We look to others for acceptance
Then I also want to say that there's a mystery with other people because often when we abandon ourselves and look to them for acceptance, there's an interrelationship, and we don't do all the work ourselves. We do it in relationship to them, but that involves being able to embrace ourselves first and then reach out and honor our needs in the context of the relationship as well as there. I'm just acknowledging such mystery and learning, such things happen when we do this that we don't have the answer to when we start.
Margaret: If we didn't have the mystery, life would be very boring.
Ken: You know it.
The ego wants predictability
Margaret: The mystery is the essence of learning and growing. It brings the juice into life and the juice into relationships, but the wounded part of ourselves, that ego part of ourselves wants predictability, doesn't want mystery, wants to know what's going to happen and predict everything, and control everything. That's the problem.
That's also the part of us that can't handle our feelings. When we say to ourselves, "I can't handle this, I can't bear this," we have to realize that we're operating out of this ego wounded part of ourselves who's a child or adolescent, and who can't manage our feelings.
As people learn and practice the inner bonding process that I teach, they learn to developer what's called a loving adult self who is open to learning, curious, loves the mystery, and is able to access our source of love, our higher wisdom, whatever that is for a person that's what gives us the strength and the resiliency to go in and learn from our feelings rather than avoid them.
How to be a loving adult
Ken: How can you create this loving adult? How can our listeners, how can our viewers take the next steps in the journey after doing what you've done to actually develop a connection with a loving adult self especially those people who feel like, I have never had that. I have always been endlessly criticizing myself.
Margaret: I asked that question too. When spirit brought in this six step inner bonding process, I thought
"Okay, I'm supposed to be a loving adult, but I have no idea how to do that."
My parents didn't role model that. We can look around society. Where's the role models for loving adults? That's when we realized that we have to be able to access a higher source of wisdom. This is not so hard as people think it is because we live … Science has actually proved that we live in this energy of love and wisdom. It's here. The space around us is not empty. It's filled with love and wisdom, but it exists at a higher frequency than we normally operate at. In the inner bonding process, there's only two intentions. One is the intention to protect against pain, shutting down, abandoning ourselves, avoiding it any way we can, which lowers our frequency and makes it impossible for us to access that wisdom. The other intention is to open to learning about loving ourselves.
Diet can play a role
Margaret: When we truly open to learning, and we keep our body fairly clean with good food rather than a whole love of junk food, which bogs us down, then we can raise our frequency high enough. It's not actually that hard. People are amazed that if they're eating pretty well, and they're open to learning, and they start to ask questions even if they're just asking the air questions like, what would be in my highest good right now? What would be loving to me right now? What's the truth about this situation right now? You start to get answers coming in.
Ken: You actually do. I want to chime in here and really validate that. Some of the steps in the inner process, and steps that I teach in my inner mentor work, which are the communication between your current self and a higher self. When you just do that, when you just set up a communication, you will be amazed at how you bypass the circuitry of self-criticism. You go into this zone of wisdom that is so readily available. For all of those of you who don't eat well, I want to tell you that yes, it raises your frequency to eat well, but even if you're eating McDonald's, you can still do this process, and you will get insight. The insight might be to eat a little bit better at certain points, but don't wait for that to do this process of this kind of inner dialogue.
Eating well will make it easier
Margaret: Yeah. Now the thing is that eating well will make it easier. One of the things that I discovered because it's been really important to me to have what I call at will divine connection.
That's what my new book Diet for Divine Connection is about. It's beyond junk food and junk thoughts to at will spiritual connection. That's what I've wanted. I wanted to feel it all the time, to know I'm never alone, to be having that information come in all the time. If you want that, you can have it, but then you have to have the discipline to eat well.
Other than that, if you want it here and there, if you want to ask it and open to it, that's great. Like you said, it can come in, but living with that nonstop connection is truly an amazing way to live. It's so different than how I used to live where I used to try and figure out what was right for me, and what was going on, and what should I do? What's the best thing, and how to make decisions, and all that? I don't do that any more.
The search for love and how this applies to dating
Ken: Yes, and that's a wonderful thing. As you grow in this process that we're talking about, that will come easier and easier to you. I want to now talk about the search for love and how this applies to dating because dating is one arena where our pain and our self-criticism gets activated so often. If we're saying that the core of the wiser search for love, and that's what we're all about in this podcast and in this work is the wiser, more effective search for love, how Margaret, does this translate to the search for love? What can single people who are listening do to actually directly be able to shift their search for their beloved with these ideas?
Step one of inner bonding
Margaret: First of all, if people start to practice step one of inner bonding, which is staying present in their body, this is where there feelings are. This is where their inner knowing, their intuition is. If they're in their head, and they meet somebody, if they're already abandoning themselves, and somebody comes on really strong and is very charming, and wants a relationship right away, and says the greatest things, and tells them how fabulous they are, they might not be able to tune into the level of narcissism that might be going on there. They may be very vulnerable to somebody like that, and they open, and they get hurt.
Ken: Beautiful, incredibly important point.
Tuned into ourselves
Margaret: It's really important that we have to be tuned into ourselves. We have to be present with ourselves because that inner guide, our feelings are a source of inner guidance. If we're disconnected, then how do we know what's happening?
Ken: That's right, that's right. Folks, take this in. This is really big. All of you daters, when you're dating, move out of your head because your head is going to be telling you am I attracted to this person? Is this person attracted to me? What is this person's resume like? Does my hair look okay, et cetera, et cetera? When you go down into your body, you will pick up wisdom. You will get a feel of what the energy is like between you and this person. All daters out there, listen to this. Drop down into your feelings because you'll get hugely different information than you will from your head.
Margaret's Course: Attracting your Beloved
Margaret: Yeah. I just finished teaching my 30 day course, Attracting your Beloved. I'm getting feedback from people saying, "Wow, this is such a different experience to go out with somebody and not be thinking about, what are they thinking about me, but to think about how do I feel with them? What am I picking up? Do I enjoy being with their energy? What's happening here?"
Ken: Yes. If nothing else, this nugget is gold, and it's life-changing. There's obviously so much more, but I just want to highlight this. This is a beautiful, beautiful tool for every one of you to take into your search for love.
Knowing who we are inside
Margaret: Right. If people practice getting in their body being present, then they're going to have that intuition. They're going to know. If they're also learning to love themselves, to bring that love inside, learning with their higher source who they are, these core gifts that you talk about, which are so important. If we don't know who we are inside, if we don't know these beautiful gifts that we might have grown up discounting, judging. Sometimes it's the most beautiful parts of ourselves like our sensitivity, our creativity.
If we don't know who we are inside, then we're going to make that person responsible for defining us.
Ken: That's so true. You know, Margaret, even in your words, just those words, folks, those words, knowing who you are inside. It evokes a feeling of love. It evokes a feeling of self-appreciation. It's a self-love question.
Margaret: Right. When you're operating from not that place of neediness where you need somebody else's attention or somebody else's approval, but you're operating from that place where oh boy, I love and value my beautiful gifts inside of me, then you're not going to be abandoning yourself with that person. You're not going to be saying, "Look it, this person is giving me all this approval and all this attention. This might be the right person for me." It might not at all. If you're really, really connected to yourself, you would know that.
The Pratfall effect
Ken: Absolutely. If you spill soup on your blouse or your shirt, you might have a moment where you get upset at yourself, but when you do this process you'll come back to your innate value. If you say the wrong thing, the same thing because dates are full of slip ups. Here's actually a really interesting point. There's something called the Pratfall effect, which is that if you make some kind of ridiculous mistakes in dating, that's actually something that can endear you to the other person. Having this voice of kindness that you're describing, Margaret, is just huge. In the strange land of dating, it's invaluable. Tell us more.
Talking about kindness
Margaret: Talking about kindness, one of the things that we stress in inner bonding is moving out of that self-judgment and into compassion and kindness. Compassion is so important for ourselves. If you make that mistake, you don't want to be beating yourself up. You want to be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Other people are going to reflect how we treat ourselves.
Ken: Yeah, that's true. That's true. How much dating advice do we get that captures this wisdom? Not too much.
Margaret: No, not too much at all. People don't realize how treating ourselves gets reflected to other people.
Ken: Well said.
Why it's so important to learn to see and value, and love yourself
Margaret: That's a big reason why it's so important to learn to see and value, and love yourself. It was amazing to me, Ken, what happened when I started loving myself because I didn't used to be treated well, not by my family. I just wasn't treated well, and I didn't know. I was such a nice person. Why shouldn't people treat me well? I was so self-abandoning. I was a caretaker. I was taking care of everybody else completely abandoning me.
I was thinking that if I caretake other people, then they'll care about me not realizing that giving myself up and trying to take care of them was a form of control. Nobody likes to be controlled. It's a subtle form of control, and so people would treat me badly. It was like I had a sign on my back that said, "Kick me." I was kicking myself. I was ignoring myself. As I learned to love myself and value my core gifts, then people started treating me well. It was really amazing.
An entirely different approach to the search for love
Ken: Margaret, you're actually talking about an entirely different approach to the search for love that is literally based at its core on true self-love.
Margaret: That's right, that's right. It was so interesting, a little story here. I was once conducting one of my five intensives, and there was a man there that his wife had said, "You have to come" because he'd been having affairs. He talked about the fact that he could when he was with a woman he could tune into exactly what she needed to hear. He had that capacity to tune into exactly what she needed to hear. Then she would go to bed with him.
He revealed all of this in the intensive, so everybody knew that he knew how to do that, but a couple weeks later some of the women came to me and said, "Look, I know what he's doing, but he's doing it to me. He's so good at it that I'm getting pulled in." What I said to them is, "That's an indication that your needing to see those things in yourself." He's tuning into what you're not seeing in yourself. It's like you're hungry for somebody to see these gifts that you have. It makes you vulnerable to somebody like that.
The dignity of honoring and valuing ourselves
Ken: So true, so true. There is a dignity that happens when we learn to honor ourselves and value ourselves. I want to say something else about that. That does not mean that we need to become hardened. We can remain generous, kind people. If you could say something about that, Margaret, because I know in your life, and in your teachings you don't just stress stay away from toxic people, stay away from narcissists, fend them off. You teach love. You teach love, not that you're going to give yourself away to narcissists, but you never let go of the importance of kindness and compassion, so if you could say more about that.
You can see that wounded child in them
Margaret: Yeah. The thing is the more you learn to treat yourself with kindness and compassion, the more you can not only see the beautiful core essence of others, but you can see their woundedness. You can see that wounded child in them. You can feel compassion for them. It doesn't mean that you want to spend a lot of time with them, if they're coming from a lot of woundedness. It also doesn't mean that you're going to be harsh, and mean, and rejecting because when you learn to be a kind, caring, and compassionate, loving adult to yourself, that extends out to others. It extends out to everybody. It's unconditional.
That's what we want to aim for, is that unconditional love towards ourselves and extend that out to others. It doesn't mean that you want to be with that person or have a relationship with them, but it doesn't mean that you're mean or unkind with them either.
A little further with the inner bonding process
Ken: So true, so true. Let's move along a little further with the inner bonding process and how it really applies, and how self-love really applies to the search for love. You approach it with an attitude of openness, of wanting to learn. You have a willingness to take responsibility for yourself and to notice what your feelings are. You get into a jam with somebody. You're dating someone, and you just get into a bewildering, messy situation. What tools do you use in this process? How do you continue with this? You're losing true self-love, let's say, in the process.
Loving ways of managing a conflict
Margaret: What I tell people is really there's only two loving ways of managing a conflict with somebody. One is you move into an intention to learn with them and see if they're going to be open to it. Let's say we're having a conflict, and I might say, "You know, Ken, there must be a good reason that you're upset about this, or you're feeling this way. I know there's a good reason I am. I'm wondering if we can just talk about it, and learn, and explore, and see what comes of it." That's my first choice, is to be open to learning.
Margaret: If somebody is closed, let's say you do that, and somebody says, "Don't give me that psychobabble" and just goes on trying to win, or control, or be mean. Then the only other healthy response is what I call lovingly disengaging. To lovingly disengage, it means you don't march away muttering how stupid this person is, or how unloving they are, and what's the matter with them?
Taking a break
You just say, "You know, I don't think we're going to get anywhere right now. I'm going to go. I'm feeling a little hurt, I'm going to go take care of my feelings. I'll check in with you in half an hour. Maybe we can talk about it then." One of the things that people don't accept well is that we cannot get anywhere unless we're both in our adult with an intention to learn.
Margaret: If we have gone down into that ego wounded part of us, when we're in that state, we are in the lower part of our brain called the amygdala. In that state, we can't hear each other. There's no logic. There's no access to the higher brain. We just want to win. We want to not lose. We want to protect ourselves from being hurt, and we don't hear each other. We can't get anywhere when one, or the other, or both of us are not open to learning.
Ken: So important, but that's so hard because you have this impulse to stay in, and get your point across.
Margaret: How often do you?
Ken: Right, pretty much never.
Margaret: The person can't hear you.
Ken: Yeah, wonderful wisdom. That's great, that's great. If the person repetitively is not available for that, or even worse than isn't available for, shames your, or blames you for who you are. Then you have more information about a chronic feature in this relationship that may not be fixable at this point.
Open to learning
Margaret: Yeah. One of the things that I stress when I work with people who are looking to date is that number one, first they have to make sure they're open to learning. Then being open to learning has to be high on the list of who they choose. Very often, they're not going to know this until there's conflict, what people do in conflict.
Ken: It's so true. There's a Native American saying, which is you don't know somebody until you have your first fight.
Margaret: Right. That's right. There's that Chinese symbol of conflict where one meaning is conflict, and the other is opportunity. Conflict is an opportunity to learn if you're open to learning, but if this person, you may be very attracted to them, but if in conflict they shut down, they get mean, they withdraw, they resist, they're just not open to it, that does not bode well. You are not going to be able to reach resolution for things, and that's very important information for you.
Ken: That's very, very true. That's very true.
What do you do when your feelings are growing faster than the other person's?
Now let's say you're with someone. I'm just throwing out different possibilities that you're reflecting back a very wonderful filter of true self-love. Let's say you're in the process of dating someone, and you're falling in love with that person. You feel their integrity, their decency, their goodness, but they're not quite falling in love with you yet. They're still interested, but it's a hard point. You know you maybe want to give it more time, but it's a very vulnerable point. It's really easy to get needy at a time like that. What do you do when your feelings are growing faster than the other person's, and while we're at it, the very reverse.
Don't get so attached to the outcome
Margaret: See, once again, if you're really taking loving care of yourself, if you're staying connected to yourself, and you're not making that person responsible for you and putting yourself in a needy space, then you're fine letting that person take as long as they want.
We don't get so attached to the outcome when we're staying connected to ourselves, when we're holding ourselves with love, when we're not handing ourselves away to the other person. We don't get so attached to what happens with them, and the reverse too. If you feel that somebody is falling in love with you, and you're not there, you don't take responsibility for their feelings. If they're not willing to just take care of themselves, and give you the time you need to get there, then they're not the right person for you.
If they get really needy and demanding, and make you responsible for how they feel, then this isn't going to work. That's one of the big things that I teach with people because I've worked with couples for over 50 years.
Take responsibility for your own feelings
Margaret: The thing that they need to learn is they need to learn how to take responsibility for their own feelings. This is a big part of inner bonding, is learning how to do that rather than okay, I'm falling in love with this person. They're great, but they're not committed to me. Now I'm feeling anxious. Now I'm feeling stressed out. I'm responsible for that. I'm responsible for what I'm telling myself, how I'm treating myself, how I might be abandoning myself. What aspect of my worth am I attaching to how this person feels about me? If I'm not taking that responsibility, I'm going to try and control that person in various ways. I'm going to push them. You're taking so long, and when do you think you're going to know? What do you think that does? Pushes them away.
Ken: Yeah. Now what about those of us who are in a middle kind of state where we can't achieve that kind of full responsibility for ourself, but we've progressed in that path? What about the ability to just share our inability to do that and all of our feelings with our partner? What about the concept of healing together when we aren't finished healing alone?
Margaret: It's unrealistic to think that we're going to be finished healing alone.
Ken: That's right.
That's just intimacy
Margaret: Relationships offer a wonderful arena for healing together as long as that's the agenda, as long as both people are open to learning, and they can say, "Look, we're not there." We don't yet know how to take responsibility for ourselves, but we want to learn together. We want to support ourselves and each other in this learning and healing process. That's great.
Ken: That's intimacy. That's just intimacy. That's a sexy, warm, wonderful, human thing.
Margaret: Yeah. It's not realistic to think I have to get enlightened before I can be in a relationship. No, it's not like that. That's why I say one of the most important things is for you to be open to learning about yourself, about what you're doing, about your feelings and for the other person, but you don't have to be an expert at it. You don't have to do it right all the time. You just have to have that intention.
What are the inner bonding tools that have helped you the most?
Ken: What are the tools that you most have loved in your own relationship life, in your intimacy life with people you care about?
What are the inner bonding tools that have helped you the most?
If you could actually tell us a story from your own life about a time you've really grown in true self-love in a difficult situation. I know I'm putting you on the spot here, but you're Margaret Paul, so I feel like I can do that.
I'm staying tuned into what's right for me
Margaret: You know, there's a lot that's happened, for example, with my kids because I went through a period quite a while ago. I was the caretaker. I gave myself up with everybody including them. When you give yourself up, and I was Mother Earth, didn't take care of myself at all. When inner bonding came into my life, and I started taking care of myself, nobody was happy about that.
You're caretaking, you're giving yourself up, you're being there for everybody, and suddenly you're starting to take care of yourself. They get pretty mad about it. I had to go through this with my kids, and sometimes it still comes up because unfortunately, they were all late teens by the time I started to take care of myself.
I have had to be a role model. I have had to stand very firm when there's been demands on me to give myself up and caretake them. That's what I do, and I still do that. It's challenging sometimes, but I know that underneath there's a respect for me that was never there before because I wasn't respecting myself. The result that the life I live now, Ken, I have such a dream life. I absolutely love my life because I'm not giving myself up to my loved ones. I stay tuned into what's right for me. I do what's right for me, and what happens for me is that I end up feeling so much love.
Some tips for online dating
Ken: How wonderful, how wonderful. I'm going to get nitty gritty again here and say everybody confronting the world of online dating, it's like, oh my god, so I have to online date. That's the only way to meet people, but it's a complex kind of thing because there are such challenges with online dating, such bad behavior, such impersonality. Tell us some inner bonding self-love tools for people who are entering into that very strange and often deeply impersonal world of online dating.
Practice your intuition
Margaret: One of the things that I tell people is online dating is a great way to practice your intuition because let's say that you meet somebody, and you feel some connection, and maybe start to email, or you start to talk. Practice tuning into what's happening on the energy level, the frequency level, not what's happening on the outward level, but practice tuning into what's happening inside with your feeling self. Let's say you connect to somebody, but you get a feeling that something is off. You know, follow through. See what happens. Then you might find out yes, indeed, something is very off. Then that validates your inner knowing. See it as practice. I tell people, "Go practice. Go practice trusting yourself. Go practice [crosstalk 00:35:52]."
Ken: Go practice trusting yourself.
Margaret: Go practice.
Ken: What a great way to think of going out there to date. Go practice trusting yourself. Think about that, everybody. How fabulous, how different would it be if that was your intention for dating, that you were going out to practice trusting yourself.
Projections of fear
Ken: I want to bring up something else too, which is the areas where we can't trust ourselves, those strange areas, and both of us as psychotherapists know about this so well, where fear comes in and tricks us. We trick ourselves, and our guts, and our feelings are telling us things like, "Get out of here. This person is not right for you," or whatever it is that is actually based on terror manifesting as a desire to flee, manifesting as a strong feeling. Can you talk about that, those strong feelings that feel real, but are actually projections of fear?
Learn to differentiate between 2 kinds of fear
Margaret: One of the things that I teach, like let's just talk about fear. There's two kinds of fear. There's fear of real and present danger, somebody is attacking you in the moment. A mountain lion comes out of a tree and jumps on you. That's real fear. The kind of fear you're talking about is fear that's coming from that programmed, ego-wounded part of ourselves that makes things up.
Ken: Yes, and tricks us, literally. It's a master illusionist.
Is the ego part of yourself in charge?
Margaret: Right, but here's the thing that I teach. If you're feeling fear, but there's nothing happening at that moment, then that fear is letting you know. The information that that fear is giving you is that you've put that ego part of yourself in charge who has no access to truth at all. That's in the lower part of the brain. It has a very low frequency. It cannot access any source of truth. The fear itself is letting us know that that part of us is telling us lies.
Ken: Yes. There's a great quote in 12 step programs, which is that in certain arenas of our life our thoughts are not a safe neighborhood to be alone in.
Margaret: That's right.
Ken: This is one of them.
Tuning into your feelings
Margaret: That's why step one of inner bonding is going inside, breathing in, and tuning into your feelings, your feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, terror, aloneness, emptiness, jealously. All these feeling are what I call wounded feelings that come from the lies we tell ourselves. They're not based on reality. They're based on our programmed, false beliefs.
Ken: You are saying that all of these painful feelings are connected to false beliefs that we're telling ourselves, our insecurity, our loneliness, our hurt.
Margaret: Not necessarily our loneliness. I divide feelings into two kinds. There's the existential feelings of life like let's say you're open, and you want to share love, but there's nobody around to share it with, or whoever is around isn't open. You're going to feel lonely. That's an existential feeling of life. You're not causing it. It's coming because of life, or grief. You lose somebody you love, or heartbreak. Somebody is being really mean to you, or mean to others, or mean to themselves. Then you might feel helpless over them, which is also an existential feeling because we don't have control over them. These are what I call the existential painful life.
Aloneness vs loneliness
Margaret: Then there's the other ones, the anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness. Aloneness comes when we're abandoning ourselves. That's different than loneliness, which is when we want to connect with somebody else.
When we feel these wounded feelings, we have to know that we're causing them with our false beliefs. In inner bonding you go inside. You move into compassion for these. You decide you want responsibility. Then you move into the intention to learn, and you access your compassion. Then you explore. You go in and say, "What am I telling you from this wounded part of me?" How am I treating you from this wounded part of me that's causing you to feel this way?
My inner child is telling me with the anxiety, and fear, and depression that I'm treating her in some way that's a life, that's causing from false beliefs. I can start to understand these kind of subconscious or unconscious false beliefs by tuning into these feelings and looking at what I'm doing to create them.
A dialogue with our higher self
Ken: Am I hearing you say that the way we know the difference between this existential feelings and the more neurotic feelings are by tuning into our feelings and asking our inner child what's going on, and then doing the process then of having a dialogue with our higher self, our wiser self to be able to suss this out, to be able to separate what is a pain being caused from wrong thinking, and what's a pain that just comes from a valid, existential part of our humanity?
There are different kinds of feelings
Margaret: That's right, that's right. There are different kinds of feelings. There's only so many of those existential feelings. I've isolated maybe seven or eight of them like fear of real and present danger. You want to pay attention to that. That's telling you something.
Sorrow over our planet or how people are treating each other. These are existential feelings along with the heartache, the heartbreak, the loneliness, the grief. These are existential feelings, but all of those other feelings like the anxiety, and the depression that so many people have in our culture, people don't realize that there's two major causes of that, and that's what I talk about in the Diet for Divine Connection.
There's the self-abandonment, telling ourselves the lies, judging ourselves, predicting the future, which the wounded self loves to do. Tell us all the bad things that are going to happen, which we have no way of knowing.
Ken: Which is so absolutely compelling.
Effects of toxicity
Margaret: From the food, because when we're eating junk we're creating an imbalance in our gut. The research shows now that that creates toxicity. It goes right up the vagus nerve into the brain, and it's a big reason for people being anxious and depressed.
Ken: Very important point. That word toxic, I think, is a really important one. In our intimacy life, when do we sense the presence of something toxic in our feelings, toxic toward us, toxic toward other people. That's a sign that there's wounding going on, sadness, grief, even anger. Those are their own feelings, but when there's this toxic feeling, this attack feeling, that's an indication that some deeper healing work is needed. Relationships is such a powerful place for that to play out.
Margaret: That's right, that's right. We may be being toxic to ourselves with food and with the self-judgment and all that, but we can also be feeling the toxicity with another person. That's why we need to be staying tuned into that.
Ken's takeaways from this episode
Ken: So important, so important. I think I'm taking away as one of the greatest pieces of wisdom of this that an act of true self-love is a commitment to know what it is that you're feeling, to go into your feelings and begin to honor, and dignify, and learn from them, that that's almost the central source, the beginning, the ground of a self-loving perspective. Does that seem true?
Margaret: That's so true. That is so true because in inner bonding what we encourage people to do is move towards their feelings. What everybody has learned to do is move away from their feelings, and that's the self-abandonment that you move away, but you want to move towards them. You want to listen. You want to know, learn what they're telling you about how you're treating yourself, or what's going on with another person or situation. Our feelings are a very powerful source of inner guidance.
Ken's story of using the inner bonding process
Ken: I would like to tell a story about inner bonding for me. My husband and I were getting close to getting married and being procrastinators we had done nothing, and the wedding date was getting closer, and closer, and closer. I was getting really, really afraid, and this was an existential fear because our wedding date was really coming close.
I remember waking up in the morning, opening my eyes. My husband was still sleeping. I thought, "Oh boy, we're really in trouble. We have to get to work. We have to really create a lot of wonderful stuff and really quickly at this point." I said, "I'm going to use the inner bonding process." I lay there in bed, and I felt the pain of what we had not done. I went through every one of the steps, and in that process I went from feeling very pretty anxious and upset to feeling empowered, smooth, calm, clear, and self-loving, which is my experience of the inner bonding process. In a moment or two, I'm going to ask you to tell people where they could learn more about this after I ask for some last wise words.
Getting things done like they've never been done
Ken: I went upstairs, and within a very short period of time I was able to use all of the choices we made and find the cake, the musician, the rings, everything. Everything fell into place, and my husband woke up and was so happy with it. We had been ditzing around, but the process, John Lennon said it. He said, "When you're one, really one, you get things done like they've never been done." That was my experience. I've used the inner bonding process in so many different ways, but that was the first time I used it and the first time I realized the wonderful power that it has.
Margaret: That's great, that's great.
Last tips from Margaret
Ken: Yeah. Margaret, before I ask you to tell people how they can learn more about your incredibly important, valuable work, if you're working on true self-love, Margaret is the go-to person, I would say. Inner bonding is the go-to process. Before we do that, do you have any last words for our single folks who want to understand self-love and transform the way that they search for love?
Margaret: I recommend they learn inner bonding and practice inner bonding because everything changes on the inner level. Everything changes with the energy when you really see, and love, and value yourself. Like with the people that I work with who are looking for a relationship, like so many of these people just took my Attracting Your Beloved course. They said, "You know what? I am so excited about myself. I am so excited about who I am. I know I'm going to find somebody. It's going to be completely different than what I did in the past, but I'm so happy now that I don't feel needy. My happiness is not dependent on finding somebody. My worth is not dependent on finding somebody. "
What I've seen over and over is when a person's happiness, well-being, and worth is not dependent on finding a partner, that's when they find their partner. That's when they draw that person in who's right for them. When they're abandoning themselves, and they're needy, they're not going to draw in the right person.
If you're needy, don't blame yourself – the solution is true self-love
Ken: So true. Folks, if you're needy, don't blame yourself. Just practice not abandoning yourself. The solution to neediness is not self-shaming, it's self-love. Thank you.
Margaret: If you're needy, that's just an indication. That's just information. See, if you shame yourself, you cut off learning. Shaming, judgment cuts off all learning. If you feel needy, if you feel like you're attaching your worth and your happiness to somebody else, open to learning about it. There's no point in judging or shaming. You're just going to cut off the learning, so say, "There must be a good reason that I'm feeling needy right now."
Margaret: I'm going to work on that.
Ken: Yes, exactly. Need is a very deep human emotion, but need shamed turns into neediness.
Margaret: Yes. There's a lot we need from others. We need people to have our back. We need people to learn and grow with. We need people to share love with, to play with, to laugh with, to grow with, to have passion with. We need each other, but that's different than making somebody else responsible for your worth and your safety in life.
Ken: Margaret, thank you for these beautiful, powerful and inspiring lessons in true self-love. I hope all of you take these ideas home with you. Practice them, play with them. Enjoy them, and learn more about the inner bonding method, which is a method that I adore, and speak about, and believe in very strongly.
Resources and links to Margaret Paul's work
- We have a free course, which will give them the backbone of inner bonding. There's thousands of articles about it on the site.
- There's lots of free help.
- Then there's, of course, courses.
- There's the books on inner bonding.
- There's workshops.
- There's intensives.
- We also have a Facebook Page
- Follow us on Twitter
There's so many ways that people can learn and practice inner bonding. To get started, I would suggest people take our free inner bonding course.