Many of us struggle with underlying feelings of being unlovable. We have trouble feeling our own value and believing anyone could really care for us. We all have a “critical inner voice,” which acts like a cruel coach inside our heads that tells us we are worthless or undeserving of happiness. This coach is shaped from painful childhood experiences and critical attitudes we were exposed to early in life as well as feelings our parents had about themselves. While these attitudes can be hurtful, over time, they have become engrained in us. As adults, we may fail to see them as an enemy, instead accepting their destructive point of view as our own. These critical thoughts or “inner voices” are often harmful and unpleasant, but they’re also comfortable in their familiarity. When another person sees us differently from our voices, loving and appreciating us, we may actually start to feel uncomfortable and defensive, as it challenges these long-held points of identification. With real joy comes real pain. Any time we fully experience true joy or feel the preciousness of life on an emotional level, we can expect to feel a great amount of sadness. Many of us shy away from the things that would make us happiest, because they also make us feel pain. The opposite is also true. We cannot selectively numb ourselves to sadness without numbing ourselves to joy. When it comes to falling in love, we may be hesitant to go “all in,” for fear of the sadness it would stir up in us. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
Your greatest task
isn’t to find love,
but to discover
all the barriers
that you have
built against it.
Real love makes us feel vulnerable. A new relationship is uncharted territory, and most of us have natural fears of the unknown. Letting ourselves fall in love means taking a real risk. We are placing a great amount of trust in another person, allowing them to affect us, which makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. Our core defenses are challenged. Any habits we’ve long had that allow us to feel self-focused or self-contained start to fall by the wayside. We tend to believe that the more we care, the more we can get hurt. When we enter into a relationship, we are rarely fully aware of how we’ve been impacted by our history. The ways we were hurt in previous relationships, starting from our childhood, have a strong influence on how we perceive the people we get close to as well as how we act in our romantic relationships. Old, negative dynamics may make us wary of opening ourselves up to someone new. We may steer away from intimacy, because it stirs up old feelings of hurt, loss, anger or rejection. As Dr. Pat Love said in an interview with PsychAlive, “when you long for something, like love, it becomes associated with pain,” the pain you felt at not having it in the past. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
Love takes off masks
that we fear we
cannot live without
and know we cannot
James Arthur Baldwin
Feelings are an important part of you. In order to live fully and effectively, you need many sources of information (e.g., your senses, your thoughts, your perceptions) to guide you, motivate you, and help you make sense of things. Your emotions provide one such source. Often, there is a strong relationship between the events in your life and your feelings–for example, to feel sadness in response to loss, or to feel happiness in response to something desirable. Feelings may also be related to past events or even to expectations of the future. For example, sorrow about a recent loss may evoke sadness from past losses. These feelings can be an important source of information as well. Rather than ignore or exaggerate your feelings, it is helpful to be able to take your feelings as they are, accept them, think about them, and learn from them. When you are feeling something consider asking yourself the following kinds of questions:
What is this feeling?
What is this feeling telling me about this situation?
Why has this feeling come up right now?
Raise your words, not voice.
It is rain that grows
flowers not thunder.
The relationships between the events in your life and your feelings are going to be less clear if you have difficulty identifying what you are feeling. Naturally, there are times when you are unable to precisely name what you feel. Identifying your feelings may require you to take time to focus on yourself and your feelings. If you find it difficult to notice or name what you are feeling, it may require that you pay attention to your body. Most feelings are experienced in the body. For example, fear may show up as a knot in your stomach or a tightness in your throat. Our bodies are all different, so you will have to pay attention to your body and not just rely on others experiences. Feelings are also connected to your behavior. If you aren’t sure how you feel, but you realize that you are acting in a way that sends a clear message to others, you may be able to infer what you are feeling from your behavior. For example, if you have an angry facial expression or tone of voice when you are talking with a particular friend, it may be that you are angry or frustrated with that person without recognizing it. Making the connection between life’s events and your feelings is very useful. Continuing with this same example, once you recognize your feelings, you may then more clearly understand and articulate your concerns with your friend. Often your feelings are related to your interpretations of events more than to the events themselves. While it is natural to think that you are responding only to the events of your life, in fact you make interpretations or judgments of these events, and these interpretations play a key role in your emotional responses. When you stop to think about it, each event could yield a variety of emotional responses; your interpretation of the event helps link a particular emotional response to that event. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
We cannot tell what may happen
to us in the strange medley of life.
But we can decide what happens in us;
how we can take it, what we do with it;
and that is what really counts in the end.
Joseph Fort Newton
Spiritual intimacy during sex ultimately depends on that desire to be united with your spouse. And that desire is fed throughout the day–by concentrating on what you love about him, by thinking about him, by flirting and playing with him, by saying positive things about him to others. It isn’t something that “just happens”. It’s something that is the culmination of a relationship that you already have. I truly believe that for many couples this is THE major roadblock to sex being everything it can be. Many of us push sex out of the way because it seems like a chore, but what we’re really doing, then, is denying ourselves one of the most powerful tools we have to feel truly connected and accepted by another individual. Concentrate on what you love about each other. Pray together. Memorize each others’ bodies. Say I love you. Look into each others’ eyes. Truly be joined. There really is nothing else like it. From a post at http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-while-you-make-love/
We waste time
looking for the perfect lover,
instead of creating the perfect love.
This is a tough one for some people, but don’t let your mind wander. Sometimes our minds wander because we’re multi-taskers, and we start creating shopping lists in our heads. But I’m not just talking about that. Other times we let our minds wander in order to get aroused. We fantasize. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with remembering something wonderful that you did together that was stupendous, or imaging being on a beach, or whatever it may be for you. But to fantasize about someone who isn’t your husband (wife/partner), or to bring up pornographic images to get aroused, isn’t right. And it hinders your ability to really bond with your spouse. Guys often struggle with this, too, especially guys who have used porn. Images often come into their heads. If either of you is short-cutting the arousal cycle by pulling up pornographic images, ask God (Higher Power) to help you stop, and then practice just being present. Think about your body. Think about your spouse. Trace your fingers along your spouse’s body. Think specifically about what is feeling good and what you love about your spouse, and say some of these things out loud. Keep your mind focused on the here and now, and you’ll find it a much more intimate, and intense, experience. http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-while-you-make-love/
The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation,
which depend upon the future.
We let go the present, which we have in our power,
and look forward to that which depends upon chance,
and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.
One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage. From “Strength to Love” by Martin Luther King Jr.
Going to church doesn’t make you
any more a Christian than going
to the garage makes you a car.
Your beliefs don’t make you
a better person, your behavior does.
Your words mean nothing if your
actions are the complete opposite.
Having true faith in whatever it is
you believe must be shown through actions,
believing is only half the battle.
Let your dreams be bigger than your fears,
your actions louder than your words,
and your faith stronger than your feelings.