The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Soulmate Commandment #5: Thou Shalt Love Thyself, and Heal Thy Own Heart

5.  Thou Shalt Love Thyself, And Heal Thy Own Heart.

It would be impossible for me to overestimate the importance of this step.   Almost every day I get posts, emails or queries that relate to this aspect of our being. 

1) Emotional damage can be the result of early abuse (social, familial, personal), failed love relationships, parental absence or neglect, conflicting belief or value patterns, and so forth. 

2) Evidence of such damage can be choosing inappropriate partners, inability to accept love, inability to trust (if you are worthless, then anyone who expresses interest in you must be a fool or a predator, right?), rushing into sexual connection, inability to accept a healthful discipline, self-damage (obesity, bulimia, cutting, addictions, etc.)

3) A beautiful and elegant way to determine if you are dealing with such an issue is the following question: “would I wish this behavior/emotion/relationship upon my own most beloved child?”

When we go to relationships seeking to fill holes in our hearts, we are placing an unfair burden upon the partner. It is OUR job to heal ourselves, if we are to be adults in the world.  Wounds attract wounds…and predators.  Be cautious.

There are many ways to approach healing, but the best assume that we already possess the strength and wisdom necessary to repair ourselves.  In essence, we find the HEALTHY part of our psyche, and nurture that aspect, while simultaneously starving and scrambling the negative memories and thoughts until they can no longer control us.

Some of the options include:

1) Therapy and coaching.   If your issues are deep and pervasive, if they involve self-damage or a string of ugly relationships, you may want to bring a serious professional into your resource circle. 

2) Meditation.   Grow quiet enough, and you can hear the different “voices” within your head.  Identify with the one LISTENING  to the voices, instead of the voices. Who are they?  What are they saying?  Do you consciously agree with their positions?   To achieve a goal, you must have your values, beliefs, and positive/negative emotional anchors all aligned.    Do you have conflicts on these levels?  Where did they originate?  Would you consciously accept these patterns as an adult, or were they implanted in childhood?

3) Various visualization/mentalization techniques.  The “Ancient Child” meditation is designed to  help you make contact with the undamaged part of your personality, and allow it to grow and propogate. Visualizing light, color and so forth, filling your body with warmth and healing has been a positive path for countless people.

4) Affirmations.  The “Morning Ritual” is a powerful, powerful tool.   Basically, you move your body in a positive way: walking, running, Tai Chi, etc.    Simultaneously, you speak and think a series of affirmations.  A very workable sequence is
A)  One-five minutes of “every day in every way I’m getting better and better.”
B) One-five minutes of gratitude for past blessings.  (“I’m so grateful for X and Y…”)
C) One-five minutes of gratitude for FUTURE blessings (goals)
D) One-five minutes of “All I need is within me now” chanting.  (“All the love I need is within me now.  All the healing I need is within me now…”)

Note: you have to infuse these statements with EMOTION and be MOVING POSITIVELY and intensely.     Just as someone screaming negativity at you day after day will have an effect on your psyche, positive statements will as well—but you have to add the “magic” of emotion and motion.

5) Heartbeat Meditation.  My personal favorite, and the way I begin every morning.  Growing quiet enough to feel my heart pulsing my body.    Rotate my consciousness through my body, feeling that pulse in every limb.  Better still, quiet my breathing enough that I can perform joint mobility work WHILE simultaneously “feeling” my pulse.  Fascinating work. 

6) Deliberately “gifting” yourself with pleasures you craved as a child.  But…make them positive.  Not just eating or staying in bed.  When was the last time you went to the zoo?  Caught a matinee of a silly movie? Walked barefoot in the surf?  Played on a swing?    Do something purely pleasureable, for its own sake.

7) Think of a child you love.  A niece or nephew.  A brother or sister.   Your own son or daughter.   SOMEONE.  Imagine them being threatened.    Pump up the emotions until you can imagine yourself entering a life and death struggle to protect them—willing to kill or die.   Now…apply that emotion to yourself.  Commit to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to protect your own heart.   Swear by whatever you hold sacred that you will die before you let anyone hurt that precious, sweet, innocent child that once you were.  Be the dragon at the gate of your heart.   Visualize a guardian with a flaming sword, guarding the playground.   I spent a year bringing toys to a visualized “beach” to re-connect with my heart, every day.  A year.  That’s how long it took before my “inner child” visualization was willing to trust me again.  And when he did…I swore I would never, ever leave him again.  “Daddy is here,” I said.  And that was the sweetest hug of my life.

There is no substitute for owning yourself.  Re-claiming your life, your mind, your heart.  If your relationship history, or present status, is anything but wonderful, I strongly suggest that you are not holding yourself as precious.  The good news is that if you can read these words, you have the capacity to find, integrate and utilize the resources necessary to heal, and live in greater harmony with your own essence.

It may take twelve months of purposeful withdrawal from the “Dating Game.”   Personally, I think there is nothing more worthwhile you could do with a new year.



The Basement Guitarist said...

This series of posts could not have come at a better time in my life. My wife of ten years and I are in the process of divorcing, and I've had to put a LOT of energy into seeing what part of it is on me, and what I need to do to help heal that damage so as not to do it again in the future. These posts are the best step-by-step pieces of advice I've come across. So once again, I say thank you, Steve. Thank you for putting this much love and help into the world.


Steven Barnes said...

I am grateful to be able to contribute. All credit goes to the wonderful teachers who opened my eyes...especially my good lady wife, Tananarive.