Lisa is a highly accomplished professional—prosperous, respected in her field—who is also utterly charming and adept at winning the approval and appreciation of everyone around her. And yet she has been unhappy for as long as she can remember.
I talked to her recently and helped her to see that all her frenetic activity was a self-deception. She’d been earning praise, power, acceptance, and more all her life, but the satisfaction never lasted for more than moments. She used her profession, men, her children, and everyone else to feel better about herself.
As I described her unproductive behaviors, she finally cried out, “But if I changed all that, who would I be? Who am I?”
Many of us have asked a similar question. Underneath all the emptiness and fear—with the attendant manipulation, lying, anger, and more—where is the real ME? Prior to realizing what Real Love is, most of us believed that we were little more than a collection of our many responses to pain.
When we feel unconditionally loved—and only then—our pain and fear melt away, and then what remains is who we really are. We don’t have to go looking for ourselves—a cherished but misleading belief in self-help literature. We don’t have to “find ourselves.” Who we are is already in there somewhere, but it’s covered up by all the lies and pain. For more about that, click here.
When we wash away the pain, there we are. The real me and you. So what will we find? Actually, we’ll see some of the qualities we already thought we had, but we’ll see them in their pure state, undistorted by our responses to pain. Most of us have never seen our true qualities without distortion, so it might be helpful to describe some innate, true human qualities, along with how they are demonstrated in their pure and also their distorted condition.
Intelligence. When we’re in pain, we use our intelligence to—among other things—
rationalize our unloving behaviors;
find limitless ways to lie, run, act like victims, and more;
accomplish “great” things at work and elsewhere, in order to gather great gobs of praise and power.
When we’re in pain, we use our intelligence to—among other things—
- rationalize our unloving behaviors;
- find limitless ways to lie, run, act like victims, and more;
- accomplish “great” things at work and elsewhere, in order to gather great gobs of praise and power.
When we’re not in pain, we use our intelligence to:
- correctly identify our mistakes and eventually to avoid them;
- dissect our own lies with unerring accuracy;
- formulate effective plans for loving and teaching people.
Talents (like public peaking, singing, painting)
When we’re in pain, we use our talents to:
- show off and win the conditional approval of as many people as possible;
- give ourselves a sense of being alive.
When we’re not in pain, we use our talents to serve people and to uplift ourselves and others.
Insight, keen observation
When we’re in pain, we use our powers of observation to:
- criticize others;
- make ourselves feel better by comparison;
- identify the needs of others, so we can please them and win their conditional approval.
When we’re not in pain:
- we keenly observe people’s needs and fears in order to love and help them;
- we rigorously see our own flaws so we can gradually improve them.
Ability to connect to others ourselves and to connect others to others
In pain, we connect to other people in order to maximize the praise, power, and money we can get from them.
When we’re not in pain, we use this ability to enrich the lives of others and to connect them to each other in a loving way.
When we’re in pain:
- we pursue excitement (fast driving, risky investments, etc) to dull our pain.
- we’re more likely to defend ourselves with anger than by withdrawing;
When we’re not in pain:
- we are able to fearlessly and lovingly point out the fears and unproductive behaviors of others in a way that will help them;
- we’re willing to take the risks involved with telling the truth about ourselves in a way that will lead to finding Real Love.
- we are not afraid of failing, which enables us to be creative.
In summary, who you really are—your true qualities—is always there. If you’re in pain, you express yourself in destructive ways. When you’re not in pain, you’re free to express yourself with love and true power. You become an undeniable force for good.
Replace your pain & confusion with peace and happiness.
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