We live in a dualistic world. Every subject has an opposite: up has down, left has right, in has out and so on. In this dualistic world, we are accustomed to thinking of things as having two sides. Hence, we literally set up our world this way and we tend to fall into one camp or the other. We are the “haves” and the “have nots”, the “Democrats” or the “Republicans” or even “the City Mouse’ and the “Country Mouse.” This pattern of thought defines how we approach our problems as well. Yet, sometimes thinking in a paradigm of “either-or” entrenches us in our position and we lose our ability to be flexible in our thoughts. We cling to our beliefs because they are comfortable. We start to see those holding the opposing view as the “enemy.” Eventually we can find ourselves at odds with the world and we find ourselves fighting to prove we are right. Anyone who has turned on the news in the past few months has seen how this divisiveness has become pervasive throughout the country as well as our individual lives. The problem is not really that we do not agree with each other. The problem is we have started to fear opposing opinions. We believe that if the other side “wins” we will “lose.” So now we are a mission to change the other’s mind. When we need to convert the “other” we stop listening. The “other” now becomes something to fear.
As a Life Coach and Energy Healer, I have seen this divisiveness at play on the level of interpersonal relationships. I believe the answer is the same on both the level of the personal as well as the level of the community and world. The only way to improve any relationship that is at odds is to recognize the problem is not “out there” in the other person or the world. The problem starts inside. The solution is always the same; we must learn to love and respect ourselves. In doing so, we must naturally love and respect each other. Upon hearing this many of my clients have said things like, “okay love guru, next you are going to try to cleanse my chakras and lay crystals on the world?” While I actually am very much for those things, I understand this response. Saying self-love is the answer can feel trite, patronizing and oversimplified. But, truth is always truth no matter how simple it may seem.
If you think of yourself in terms of being your body, then you are on this Earth completely separate from everyone else. From this perspective, it is easy to feel threatened by another. Bodies are easily “breakable,” things can be “taken” and your safety is always at risk. This perspective is the basis for this dualistic world of “us” versus “them.” The way out of this dualistic thinking is to think of yourself in terms of energy. The body is made up of cells which are made up of atoms and if you continue to break down into smaller and smaller pieces eventually everything is simply vibration. There is no clear “end” in energy; everything is connected and can easily influence another. When you think of yourself from this point of you, there is no “us” and “them,” there is simply “us.” We are all connected, so energetically speaking, whatever I give you I also give to myself. If we are all one, then my bad thoughts about you are actually bad thoughts that I have about myself. They call this “projection.” We do not want to own our negative thoughts about ourselves, so we project them onto another and in doing so we push our bad thoughts out on the other. So, in projection terms we do not feel bad inside, we feel bad because of other those things “out there.” What we project our fears upon can always change based on our environment. It can be another religion that is the problem, the government, or another person. It really doesn’t matter, because it is made up anyway. The only person that can ever make you feel bad is you.
The only way to heal the world is to heal yourself. Why? Because we are all connected. When you heal yourself you impact everyone around you. You create the space for all of those you know to heal as well. This is called “loving yourself.” At first blush, it might feel very selfish to think that loving yourself is the key to changing everything. Loving yourself does not mean you do not love others, it is actually the only way to really give love beyond yourself. When you really love yourself you set up healthy boundaries, you say “yes” when you mean “yes” and “no” when you mean “no.” You do not worry or feel guilty about hurting another because you know that by taking care of yourself you create the space for the other to take care of him or herself. This does not mean that you only care about yourself. But, you understand that the best way to love another is to be authentic. When you love yourself you treat yourself with respect. You take care of your body, not because you see yourself as a body, but because you understand that it is the vehicle for your journey, and by taking care of it you get a great “trip.”
The thing about loving yourself that makes a difference in the world is this: when you love yourself you trust yourself. You do not live in fear. You do not see the world as a threat. You cannot see the world as a threat because you do not see yourself as a threat. When I present this concept in my sessions, many of my clients are taken aback. I have been told I am a “Pollyanna” or I am living in a dream world. But, as I said before, truth is always truth. Fear is the basis of the problems in the world and the problems in our lives. When you love yourself, you trust yourself and the only way to change the world is to make this change. You do not fear your opinions because you know that the universe has “your back.” You trust that the world is a place filled with contrast and you do not live in fear of dying. You live focused on the joy of living. If you focus on the joy of living, you are focused on what you can give to another, not on what they might take from you. Because you know the rule of energy is “the only thing that you get to keep is what you give away.”
The only way to find real joy is to live from the perspective of existing as a being based in energy, not a being based in a body. Fear is always in the realm of the body. The energy of love, compassion and freedom only exist in the realm of energy. So, from this perspective, you welcome dissenting opinions, you do not fear them or try to change them. Why? Because you see everyone else as an extension of you. If you feel you deserve respect, you will naturally respect others. This does not mean you will always agree with them. But, you will want to listen to them. Instead of fearing a dissenting view, you might even try to investigate how and why another person came to those conclusions. You might never get to a place where you agree with them, but you have a much better chance of understanding them. At this point, on the subject you will find it easy to agree to disagree, because you understand that while you might not like all parts of yourself you definitely love all parts of yourself.
The HOW TO with Kim Mazzella is a weekly column featuring Kim's expert life coaching tips for the modern woman navigating entrepreneurship, motherhood, work-life balance, and more!
ABOUT KIM MAZZELLA:
Kim Mazzella, founder of the Life Guidance Center, is a Healer, Teacher, Spiritual Coach and Writer. Her work is based in the belief that our natural state is health and wholeness. Her job is to help those she works with remove the blocks that they have placed in the way of the free flow of energy and healing. She integrates the knowledge from her study of A Course in Miracles and universal laws with her study of massage and understanding of the body’s energy system to create a holistic approach to healing and change.