It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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DR. MARGARET PAUL is a bestselling author, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah). Her book titles include Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You, Heal...
DR. MARGARET PAUL is a bestselling author, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah). Her book titles include Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You, Healing Your Aloneness, Inner Bonding" and the recently released Diet For Divine Connection and The Inner Bonding Workbook. Margaret has successfully worked with thousands around the world and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years.
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The Important Messages From Our Deeper Painful Feelings

depressed

One of the basic tenets of Inner Bonding is that our feelings are our inner guidance system. Our wounded feelings such as anxiety, depression, fear, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness and jealousy – the feelings that we cause with our false beliefs and resulting behavior – inform us that we are being unloving to ourselves, that we are abandoning ourselves in some way.

Our deeper existential core painful feelings – the feelings that are caused by others and events – are also informing us. Our loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, grief, helplessness over others, outrage, and fear of real and present danger offer us an enormous amount of information about what is happening externally.

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Is Your Caretaking Covering Up Your Heartbreak?

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Jenny grew up with a narcissistic mother who was incessantly demanding attention and demanding to have her way. Her mother would get furious when her husband or children didn’t do what she wanted them to do, or didn’t pay enough attention to her. Jenny, not wanting to be like her mother, learned early to be “nice” and go along with things rather than speak up for herself. She decided that the only way to not be demanding like her mother was to always work conflict out by herself – never voicing her feelings to anyone. In order to do this, she had to deny the heartache or heartbreak she felt when others were unloving to her.

 

She was treated the same way she treated herself…

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Judging Yourself Can Lead To Sexual Addiction

sexaddiction Discover how self-abandonment can lead to using and objectifying others sexually.

Nicholas consulted with me because of problems he was having in his marriage. He was very distressed that his wife, Kayla, never wanted to have sex with him.

In the course of our work, it became apparent that Nicholas was very judgmental of himself. Throughout a day he was constantly telling himself how inadequate he was. “You certainly messed that up.” “You are such a jerk.” “You never do anything right.” “What’s the matter with you?” His wounded self was totally in charge, trying to have control over getting Nicolas to do everything right in order to get others’ approval.

The ubiquitous self-judgment meant that his inner child felt constantly abandoned, which created intense aloneness and emptiness within Nicholas. This made Nicholas dependent upon others to fill him up and make him feel good.

He was especially dependent on his wife…

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Addiction to Story Telling

Addiction to Story Telling

I was at a social gathering speaking with Robyn, a woman I had just met. At first, it sounded like she was a very interesting person and a good storyteller, but after a few minutes I noticed that we were not speaking WITH each other – she was speaking AT me.

I also noticed that I was unable to connect with her, and I started to feel very bored. Being used to noticing and acknowledging my feelings, I thanked my inner child for the information she was giving me – my boredom – which was telling me that Robyn was likely addicted to story telling.

Robyn was using story telling as a form of control to capture my attention and drain my energy. She was counting on the fact that she thought I would be too polite to walk away in the middle of her story. She was wrong about my being too polite!

I do try to be polite, but

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Beyond Suffering: An Ah-Ha Moment!

beyond-suffering

Allyson and Jonathan are sitting in front of me at a 5-Day Intensive. Married for 2 years, they have lost the passion and fun they once had, and they cannot understand why.

As I sit with them and experience what I call their relationship system, I see that what Jonathan does when he feels lonely around Allyson is to abandon himself by getting hard and judgmental or by shutting down. I see that what Allyson does when she feels lonely around Jonathan is to abandon herself by disconnecting from herself, leaving her heart and going up into her head. I see that Allyson’s disconnection makes Jonathan feel lonely, and Jonathan’s judgment and withdrawal crush Allyson.

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Accepting What You Can't Control, Controlling What You Can

edelweiss-with-alpenglow

Coming to grips with what you can and can’t control opens the door to true emotional freedom and personal power. I frequently receive questions about what to do in situations where someone is behaving in an unloving way, or a way that’s painful for them. For example:

  • My co-worker never answers emails, making it very hard for me to do my work, as I need his input.
  • My wife never wants to make love.
  • People often ask me intrusive questions that I don’t want to answer.
  • My husband is often late and never calls to let me know he is going to be late for dinner.
  • My friend got together with a bunch of our friends for lunch and didn’t invite me.
  • My parents are forever criticizing me.
  • I often feel invaded and demanded of by family and friends.
  • My husband sits at the table when we go out to dinner absorbed with his phone instead of talking with me.
  • My children are disrespectful toward me.
  • My wife has a male friend whom she talks with all the time and sometimes meets for lunch, even though I’ve told her I’m uncomfortable with their relationship.
  • My wife often wants to talk about what I’m doing wrong. 


Two Healthy Choices in Conflict

It is important to remember that we have only two healthy ways of dealing with conflict – two loving responses when another is behaving in a way that is upsetting or hurtful to us.

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Whose Feelings Are You Responsible For – Yours or Others?

emotions

Do you believe you are responsible for causing others’ anger, hurt, sadness or anxiety? Is this causing you to feel guilty?

“My wife is so upset that I have to travel more on my new job,” Chuck told me in our phone counseling session. “She feels so alone and lost when I’m gone. When I talk with her she is either crying or angry. I feel so badly and guilty but I don’t know what to do.”

“Do you feel responsible for her feelings?” I asked him. “Do you feel that you are the cause of her feelings?”

“Yes.”

* * * * *

“I’m just starting to date again after my divorce and I’m having a hard time with it,” Jeanette told me. “I just don’t know how to let a man know that I’m not interested in dating him any more, or in pursuing a sexual relationship with him. It feels like such a sticky situation.”

“Is it sticky because you are worried about his feelings?”

“Yes. The last man I dated hung his head and looked so distressed when I asked him to leave. I know that he was really attracted to me and I wasn’t at all attracted to him. I felt so awful that he was so hurt.”

“Did you feel responsible for his feelings?”

“Yes.”

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“Why Am I Procrastinating?”

procrastinate

Fran asked me the following question:

“I am a Ph.D. student and I have chosen my profession because I like it and not because of my parents’ influence. However, I am procrastinating every day more and more to the point where some days I don’t work at all. This really scares me and I don’t understand why I would procrastinate in doing something that I have chosen to do and is supposed to be my passion. I realize there is some fear of failure behind this, but it is irrational because I know I am capable of doing my work. I am really frustrated and scared and don’t know what the underlying cause is.”

The clue to her procrastination is this: “I realize there is some fear of failure behind this, but it is irrational because I know I am capable of doing my work.”

The fact that she is calling her fear ‘irrational’ is stopping her from learning from it and understanding it.

Her fear is likely NOT about whether or not she is capable of doing the work. Her fear is likely about whether or not she is going to judge herself if she doesn’t meet a certain standard.

Please take a moment to take in what you just read.

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Self-Worth: A Reflection of Self-Love or Self-Abandonment

beautiful-in-nature-picture Self-worth suffers when you behave in ways you regret and then judge yourself.

A woman asked me the following question:

“Why am I worthy at all? Saying I am a divine being does not answer to the underlying issue of self-worth in physical world reality. My daughter did something she is very ashamed of and has been suffering from low self-worth. I have had a hard time explaining why what she does is not who she is.”

 

There are a number of things that are important to understand about self-worth.

The daughter is suffering primarily because she is harshly judging herself for whatever it is she did. Instead, she needs to forgive herself, learn from her mistake, and be compassionate toward herself for being human and making mistakes – which all humans do.

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The Powerful Choices That Create Inner Peace

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I have found that there are five choices we can make to release stress and create inner peace. None of these choices are hard in themselves, but they can be challenging due to the insistence of the wounded self to do the exact opposite.

Be Present with Feelings and Guidance

Unless there is actually something dangerous happening in this present moment, being fully in the moment brings a release of stress.

The wounded self is addicted to focusing on the past or future – ruminating about the past, perhaps with regret – and worrying about the future – trying to control it. If you notice your body while you are ruminating or worrying, you will notice that your body is tense. The tension is your inner guidance letting you know that your wounded self is in charge and you are abandoning yourself.

When you notice this, shift into being in this present moment and notice the peace and relaxation that floods your body.

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Resistance to Healing

resistance “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Chinese Proverb

Do you believe that if you intellectually understand Inner Bonding without practicing it, change occurs?

Think of it this way: If you read a lot of books about working out, but you don’t actually work out, will your body get into shape?

If you read nutrition books but don’t change to a healthy diet, will you get healthier?

If you read about playing an instrument but don’t practice the instrument, will you learn to play it?

Inner Bonding is no different. It is a practice.

Resistance to Practicing

If you are resistant to practicing, there are good reasons for it. Actually, exploring your resistance is part of the practice. Here are some of the reasons you might be resisting the practice of Inner Bonding:

  • If I open to my feelings, they might overwhelm me.

If this is your fear, then you need to do some groundwork first. You might need some trauma therapy, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or SE (Somatic Experiencing) to de-escalate the intensity of your feelings and help you learn to regulate them.

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Learning to Trust Yourself and Your Guidance

trust If you were hurt as a child, you likely have trust issues that need to be healed.

Were your parents or caregivers trustworthy? Mine weren’t. I could not trust their love. I could not trust that they had my highest good at heart because they didn’t. They betrayed me over and over in many ways.

When we didn’t grow up with trustworthy parents – parents whose love we could count on and who had our highest good at heart – it’s a challenge to trust God – whatever God is for you. We tend to project our early experiences onto our concept of God and to then believe that our higher power is not supporting our highest good.

In a Facebook post about God and love, someone said, “…love is love. ‘God’ is control.” This attitude is exactly what I’m talking about, and what makes me feel so sad. Obviously, the writer of that statement is projecting her experience of her controlling parents, or others who controlled her, onto her concept of God, and now she has no trust in God.

How do we learn to trust again, when our trust was betrayed over and over?

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How to Define Your True Self-Worth

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Do you believe your self-worth is in your looks and performance? If you do, is this working for you and bringing you joy?

Marilyn asked in one of my webinars:

“I’ve noticed there are times I define my worth in a way that seems not good. For example, if I see a picture of myself and I like it, I’ll define myself as cute or thin or something positive like that. If I don’t like the picture, I will define myself as frumpy or unattractive. So, while I’m defining my worth, it seems dependent on how a picture comes out. The picture is just an example. I may do the same thing with how I feel after interacting with someone. If it’s lively, I’ll see myself as social or interesting. If the interaction doesn’t go well, I may see myself as boring or awkward. So, while I’m defining my own worth, it still seems not quite right. Any suggestions for me?”

The problem is that Marilyn is defining her worth externally – by her looks and performance – rather than intrinsically by her enduring soul qualities.

 

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The One New Year's Resolution I Hope You Make...And Keep

2021 This one New Year’s resolution can change your life, heal your relationships, create health and well being, and heal our planet.

One of the most important aspects of Inner Bonding is opening to a compassionate intention to learn. I think a lot about love and compassion. Compassion is often more than people think it is.

Compassion does include the standard definition: the ability to feel empathy with another or others who are suffering, to be moved by the suffering and to want to help alleviate it.

 

But compassion is so much more…

It’s my experience that like love, we don’t generate it within ourselves; we open to it. Compassion, like love, peace, joy, grace and true wisdom, are gifts of spirit that we experience when we are open to learning about loving ourselves and others. These gifts are what the universe is. Compassion is a bright, light, loving energy that deeply connects you with yourself, others, animals and the planet.

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Are You Perpetuating a Controlling Relationship System?

control

For example, Sadie found herself in the same interaction over and over with her husband, Benjamin. The interaction would go something like this:

Most of us in relationships have an easy time seeing how the other person is being controlling, and a very hard time seeing it in ourselves. We also generally don’t recognize that any time we are trying to control, we are creating an energy loop that perpetuates the dysfunctional relationship system.

Benjamin, in a judgmental voice: “You never seem to want to cuddle or make love anymore. What’s wrong with you?”

Sadie, in a kind voice: “Benjamin, are you aware of how often you criticize me? Don’t you see what you are doing that is causing problems in our relationship?”

Benjamin: “I’m fine. I’m not the problem. Maybe you need some hormones or something. You’re the one with the problem.”

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What to Do If You Are Alone for the Holidays

finger-art-of-lonely-woman-is-crying

Being alone for the holidays is a major challenge for many people, and this is especially true during the pandemic. For many people, holidays  conjure images of family, of warmth and the sharing of special time. Loneliness can be overwhelming when you have no one with whom to share holiday time, or you can’t get together.

Most people know that the point of the holidays – and what makes them so special – is not about what you get, but what you give. The joy of the holiday season is about the love you share. Our hearts get filled to the brim with love when we give and share love – way more than when we get love.

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“How Do I Ask For What I Need?”

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In a healthy, loving relationship, partners ask each other for what they need, and generally receive a caring response. But sometimes this can get tricky – depending on whether it is your loving adult asking, or your wounded self. This dilemma is expressed by Julie in the following question:

“How can I express to my partner that sometimes I need the time and attention he gives to other people without sounding jealous or selfish.”

While this might seem like a simple question, it has many subtle aspects to it.

Julie, the first question I would suggest you ask of yourself is, “Why do I need the time and attention that my partner gives other people?”

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Relationships: “Why am I Struggling After All My Healing?”

sad-lonely-woman-outdoor-in-winter-picture-id917929642 “Why am I Struggling After All My Healing?”

I can’t tell you how often I hear from my clients that “I should be further along in my healing process,” especially when it comes to relationships.

Sophia is struggling with this:

“I’m finding my new relationship extremely challenging. After three years of being single, I thought I’d be further along with self-esteem challenges, but no! I can so easily find myself feeling needy with my partner AND abandoning myself – behavior that feels frightening and shameful. Suggestions on how to soothe myself in the moment? I do EFT and Heartmath exercises that help, but am still really struggling. Thanks!”

Sophia may have done much inner work during the three years she was single, but being in a relationship triggers old fears of rejection that likely never got triggered in the three single years. You can do a ton of work on yourself – learning how to take loving care of yourself in many different ways, but taking care of yourself in a relationship is a whole other thing.

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Caretaking Others Prevents You From Knowing Yourself

couples-hand-tied-with-metal-chain-picture-id1176189249 Is your addiction to caretaking stopping you from knowing yourself?

“I have had to parent my whole life, never really able to be a kid from my childlike mother to my son-like husband. Everything seems to depend on me doing the right thing and staying on the straight and narrow. My husband is saying he is going to leave for many years and I know it is the right thing, but I’m scared of facing ME, I don’t even know Loretta. What is one thing I can do to let go? After 18 years with my mother and 21 with my husband, dysfunctional relationships are all I know, despite my years of therapy and self-help books.”

If you were brought up in a codependent family system and learned to be a caretaker, it is likely that you do not know yourself. Despite years of therapy, this is the position I was in when our guidance brought us Inner Bonding, and this is the position Loretta is in:

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Can We Ever Heal From Childhood Abuse?

lonely-teddy-bear-sits-in-a-puddle-in-the-rain-picture-id1168703996 Can We Ever Heal From Childhood Abuse?

If you had an abusive childhood, will you always suffer from it? This is the question that Andrea asked me about:

“I had a terrifying childhood. I have had counseling, motion light therapy, and been hypnotized, and they have done wonders for me, yet I still long for completion in my mind over these things. My question is – is there ever an end to your struggle in dealing with such things?”

 

The answer is Yes, You Can Heal, But There are Challenges…

Major healing occurs when you practice Inner Bonding and learn to give yourself the love you didn’t receive as a child. You need to learn to be the loving inner parent that your inner child needs. This is what will create the inner safety and self-worth that are necessary for healing.

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