Healthy Commitment to Self and Other

Sneak preview book excerpt from “You Were Not Born To Suffer” by Blake D. Bauer who will be presenting Unconditional Self Love, Qi Gong & Meditation at Hollyhock Aug 9-13, 2017.

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. – Jalaluddin Rumi

Wherever you are, please take a few slow, deep breaths into your
belly. Feel your whole body, from your feet all the way up to the
crown of your head, and then down to your fingertips. Please relax any tension you feel and let yourself be. Using each inhalation to open your body and create inner space, welcome everything you’re thinking, feeling and experiencing here in this moment. Please be present to your body and your breath.

Before any form of external commitment can begin or remain healthy, we have to commit to being true to ourselves completely. Until we commit to ourselves – to saying our deeper feelings, values, needs and aspirations matter now – our personal and professional commitments will always result in stress, confusion, struggle or heartache, especially our intimate relationships. If you’re currently having trouble committing to an intimate relationship, it’s important to be kind to yourself as you navigate your next steps. You are feeling this way for a reason. No one wants to feel insecure,  fearful, owned, controlled or limited in a partnership.  However, it is equally important to become aware of why you feel as you do. For this reason, it’s empowering to know that the main reason we struggle with commitment, whether we’re starting a new relationship or questioning an existing one, is because we still have not fully committed to ourselves, which ultimately entails learning to value and be true to ourselves in all our interactions. This is a major
challenge for all of us, but it’s the only road to lasting peace,
happiness and freedom – whether we’re seeking lasting
true love or not.

A relationship cannot be healthy or sustainable if our relationship with ourselves is not healthy and intimately honest. If we have not consciously made a commitment to be true to ourselves on a daily basis, we cannot put or keep two feet in a relationship. Likewise, if we haven’t learned to make ourselves happy, then we have a habit of always trying to please others in the hope they will return the favour, which inevitably leads to painful lessons. When we have not learned to enjoy our own company and thus don’t value our own space yet, we will fill it with people we feel limited by, solely because we fear being alone, which always results in a vicious cycle of feeling trapped and resentful, while we blame a partner for what we haven’t addressed in ourselves.

For these reasons, when we feel we do not have the tools or the experience to both communicate and act upon our true needs, feelings and goals, we’ll either avoid all forms of commitment or we’ll repeatedly end up in situations that we cannot give ourselves fully to. In both cases we often fear we’ll lose ourselves in the relationship, which leads either to a fear of entering any or to a desire to be free from an existing one. If we’ve learned to please others to our own  detriment, in exchange for companionship, love, affection,  attention and support, justifiably we are left fearful of hurting ourselves and of allowing ourselves to get hurt.

If we’ve had our heart broken, or broken another’s heart, it can be scary to give ourselves fully to someone or to feel someone giving themselves to us. Both dynamics bring us back to the task of talking about our current feelings, fears, needs, reservations and hopes, so both parties feel all cards are on the table. When one or both parties is able to honour themselves in this way, it symbolizes a healthy commitment to oneself, and the result is always less assumption and more truth, which leads to less pain and more clarity for everyone involved.

Whether a relationship is just starting or is pre-existing, by honouring our instincts now, even if there is a lack of clarity, we stop betraying what we feel and thus avoid attracting further betrayal from others. When we speak to our intuitive gut feelings rather than brushing them under the carpet we also prevent situations where we’re perceived as the betrayer. In simple terms, saying yes when we feel no, or saying no when we want to say yes, lead to sadness, hurt and dissatisfaction. Making promises we don’t feel completely good about, or asking for a commitment from someone who we know is not ready, are both forms of self-betrayal. They are habits grounded in insecurity and are how we make ourselves the victim of what we fear.

Once we’re more practiced in speaking and acting based on our truth, we become willing and able to give ourselves fully to an intimate relationship – if this is in fact what we want and what feels good to us. When we finally trust ourselves we can consciously choose to commit to another, because we’re confident we will not lose, abandon or hurt ourselves with or for them. Ideally though, we want to feel well, happy and whole without needing someone in our life; then, if we feel nourished, engaged and inspired by someone’s presence, we will naturally feel inclined to spend time with them, regardless of where it leads. Similarly, when we’re met in this way by another person who’s coming from a place of self-awareness and wholeness, they too don’t really need us but rather want to share themselves with us. A time may come when this changes though, either because one or both parties begin to feel differently, and if it does, if we truly value ourselves, based on a solid commitment to ourselves, we will know and trust that all is as it’s meant to be. Rather than becoming tortured by insecurity and thinking there’s something wrong with us, or feeling guilty for being the  one who needs a change, we’ll accept our feelings and those of the other, trusting we will both be okay. Eventually both parties will find someone else to share their life with if this is what they desire.

Beyond a day-to-day authenticity, our commitments often become habitual and empty. For many people they are inherited social customs, held in place by limiting beliefs, which mask our fears, insecurities and untapped ability to express ourselves. This is why so many people break their promises or end up running from their commitments. They have signed up for something they were not ready for because they did not understand who they are or love themselves yet. Genuine wholehearted commitment is really based on a choice we make each day to be real and respectful, first towards ourselves and then with those we are in relationship to. If we are rejecting or hiding any part of ourself, our external commitments will simply mirror back to us where and how we are abandoning ourselves. These commitments temporarily take us away from the peace, joy and love we’re seeking, which are already present now beneath our fears, wounds and the voices in our head. Paradoxically and yet purposefully, we all try to escape ourselves at times through impulsive or excessive external commitments, which eventually force us to come back to and commit to ourselves in a deeper way.

As most of us have now learned the hard way, true love can only exist in freedom. Yet simultaneously we’re all looking to share the tremendous amount of love we have in our heart with people who appreciate and respect us. For this reason, it’s critical we make a sincere commitment to developing the healthy self-intimacy and self-honesty necessary to create deeply nourishing and authentic forms of intimacy with others. Once we finally do this, our heart will always guide us through confusion, fear and pain towards relationships that are supportive, vital and joyful.

Practical Questions

In which relationships do you struggle to value yourself and thus
talk about your true feelings, needs and desires? Why do you feel
you struggle with this?

Who in your life do you find it hard to accept as your teacher

Who do you expect to make you happy, heal you, rescue you,
take care of you or fix you?

Who do you try to make happy, please, fix, heal or rescue?

Who do you betray yourself for and expect to do the same in return?

What can you focus your energy on today that represents you valuing yourself and therefore honouring what you love to do,
want to do or need to do?

Key Affirmations

My relationships are only as healthy as I am.

My health and happiness are in my own hands.

Deep down I know I want honest relationships that I feel good in.

I want to be loved for who I am, not for what I do or how I please.

Every person in my life is my teacher.

It’s never too late to start over.

It’s never too late to love again. I’ll never be too old for love and romance.

I deserve intimacy and deep connection.

When I’m healthy and happy in myself, I naturally create healthy
and happy relationships.

I deserve healthy, happy and loving relationships in my life.

Additional Practice for Healing Your Current Relationship(s)

If you are struggling with any relationship in your life, whether it’s with your partner, spouse, parent, child or friend, it is very helpful to write the person a letter expressing how you feel, what you want and what you need. At first, I recommend you write a draft of the letter – one that you will not give to them – so that you can express yourself fully without holding back. Then, it is helpful to rewrite the letter a second time with more clarity and personal responsibility,
and with less reaction and blame.

In your letter(s), I recommend using non-aggressive
phrases such as:
• I feel … (hurt, angry, unappreciated, used, loved,
respected, valued, etc.)
• I need … (space to be, clear communication, respect,
honesty, passion, etc.)
• I want … (to do things I enjoy, have fun, share
emotionally, travel, etc.)
• I feel hurt, angry, frustrated or unvalued when …
• I love it when you …
• I appreciate it when you …
• I am not happy in this relationship …
• I need to feel safe, that I can trust you, that I matter, etc. …
• I want to go, do, create, experience, etc. …
• I want us to honour and respect what’s important to
each other …
• I’d like to be able to …
• It’s important to me that …
• I really value or need some ‘me’ time.

Join Blake at Hollyhock for Unconditional Self Love, Qi Gong & Meditation on August 9 – 13, 2017.

Blake D. BauerBlake D. Bauer is an internationally sought after speaker and teacher with an extensive background in psychology, alternative medicine, traditional healing, qi gong, and mindfulness meditation. His bestselling book You Were Not Born To Suffer has helped thousands of people who could not find effective long-term solutions from conventional medicine, psychiatry or religion. Based on both his personal experience overcoming deep suffering, addiction, and adversity, as well as his professional success with thousands of people worldwide, his pioneering work integrates what he’s found to be the most effective approaches to optimal mental, emotional, and physical health.

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