Relieve Anxiety

Feel Your Inner Bliss: Why You May Not Know How Wonderful You Really Are

Bliss from the love of a petI recently read advice from a dermatologist, to throw away our magnifying mirrors. It seems we stare into them and hunt for flaws that no one else would ever see. As a result we harm our skin far more than if we just left it alone.

What about our other flaws? Do we magnify those in our minds the same way? Chances are we stare and analyze until we find what we are looking for. Aha! There it is; an emotional wrinkle. A sag in your career path. The flabby spot in your relationships.

The truth is, your mirror is not your friend, even when it’s an imagined one. It’s okay for a quick glance to make sure your clothes are on straight. But basically everything a mirror tells us is backwards. What you see all depends on your point of view.

Want a true reflection of how great you are? Ask your dog.

Even if you don’t have a dog, you probably know what I mean. Animals love without any judgment. They don’t care about your social standing, your IQ, or your jeans size. When you look at your reflection in their eyes you see the same amazing person they know you to be.

Pets have total faith in us. They believe we can do anything we want to, and I wonder if they sometimes wish we’d just stop worrying so much and have more fun.

What if we could see ourselves as our pets do?

Just imagine if we accepted the truth in how our pets see us. Maybe they know something we don’t. If we simply decided to believe what they see, wouldn’t we feel stronger, braver, and more full of bliss?

If you don’t have a pet, you can still conjure up the feeling.

Most people can remember a friendly dog from some time in their lives. And even cats consider you an equal on their exalted plane. If you don’t have a pet, just imagine the total devotion they feel, and try loving yourself the same way.

There is a wonderful dog food commercial that you may have seen. A female soldier comes home after a long tour oversees, and her giant Irish wolfhound has been waiting patiently for her return. When he sees her, the dog erupts with joy.

On his hind legs the dog is taller than she is. And at the end the soldier is lying on her back on her driveway, with the enormous hound covering every inch of her with love. If ever there was a real life picture of “I love you this much,” this is it.

Our bliss comes from letting ourselves be loved.

Many faith traditions talk about divine love, as well as the love we should give. The moment we accept being loved without reservation, we can let go of our imagined flaws and just rest in how good it feels.



Relieve Anxiety

Can Love Overcome Fear?

peopleMany of us have heard that love and fear are opposites or that love is an antidote to fear, a way to overcome it.  In this post, we’ll explore what that might mean and how it could work.

Let’s begin by differentiating two types of fear: fear that is helpful and fear that holds you back.

Helpful fear alerts you that you need to take action, for example, to protect yourself or someone or something that you love.  This type of fear is an expression of inner guidance and not the type of fear that you need to overcome—you need to pay attention to it and do what it guides you to do.  For example, fear of a tornado is important to alert you to find a safe place to ride out the storm.

A second type of fear is fear that holds you back.  This consists of fears that exist mostly “in your mind.”  These either aren’t based in what is actually happening now or they are based on what is happening, but they are “overblown” compared to actual circumstances.  For example, fear of public speaking, fear of being honest in a relationship, fear of failure, or fear of success.

These fears usually have roots in past painful experiences that you carry with you and project onto what is currently happening.  It’s common for this type of fear to feel irrationally big, because your mind imagines all sorts of negative possibilities that haven’t happened yet, but theoretically could happen.  And your mind can come up with all sorts of “negative evidence” to support your fear.

There are many ways to deal with this second type of fear, from reasoning with yourself, to gradually de-sensitizing yourself by facing your fear a little at a time, to mental-emotional techniques that work to release the negative charge of past experiences.  Many of these can be highly effective.

What I’d like to suggest today, is a very simple inner shift that could help you with this second type of fear—the shift to love.

O.K. that sounds a little “soft and mushy.”  How could that work?

Well, you could do this in two steps.  First, in the moment that you feel fear rising, pause to recognize and accept that reaction. This conscious pause inserts a mental stop in your fear reaction and opens the space for making a different choice.  After you have recognized, accepted, and paused your fear reaction, shift your attention to love for what you are doing and who you are with.

For example, with public speaking you could shift into love for the information you have to share and love for the people you are sharing it with.  Personally, I’ve been doing this for an interview I have this Thursday.  Whenever I think of the interview and feel afraid, I shift into love for the insights I have to share and love for the person I will be talking with and the people who will be listening.

You may be surprised at how quickly you can shift your inner state from fear to love.

Why does this work?

I believe this works because shifting to love takes the focus off of yourself.  And it does this through a specific quality of being—love.  Love has a specific tangible quality to it—we all know love when we experience it.  By “coming from love” you instantly shift your inner state and your relationship to whatever is happening and to whomever you are with.

If the skeptic in you thinks this sounds “a little soft,” you may be surprised at how courageous and effective love can be.