A trained psychologist learns to help her clients embrace a simple truth about the power of love
“Love is the bridge between you and everything”
When I first started working as a therapist over 10 years ago, I remember sitting in front of my first few clients thinking that I had the best job in the world.
Despite years of school and graduate internships, my initial yearning to support people had not been diminished. My heart knew why I had chosen this work even though, at time, I found myself at odds with the basis of clinical psychology: that there must be something wrong with you and it is my job to find what that is, tell you all about it and help you fix it!
I felt my main role was to help people open up to love.
How did I know this? Because experience provides the best education.
Many years ago, I went to see a therapist because I thought there was something wrong with me. My marriage to my first husband was crumbling and since it was what I had always thought would make me happy, the realization that it had not sent me into a deep soul search for what would. It was not until I learned that the answers did not lie with someone else, but rather within myself, that my life started to shift.
What I came to realize is that the love that I was yearning was self-love rather than the love I thought I needed from another. That, I felt, was what the therapeutic process was all about.
So, I was a love coach — how cool was that!! My greatest wish was to help people remove whatever blocks there were to loving themselves and others. I started excitedly and diligently thinking that I had the answer to the secret of universal happiness. However, my initial excitement soon turned to discouragement.
After working with hundreds of clients, I realized that this love business was not as simple as it looked.
Sometimes it felt like people were hell bent on not loving, on rejecting themselves and others. Still I persisted. What I realized is that it is not so much that people are unloving, but rather that many are unaware of the love that they truly are. They (and I include myself in this) often believe the illusion of their minds rather than their hearts. Minds that sometimes seems to be programmed in attack and retreat mode, rather than the easier more joyful path of love and engagement. Moreover, the love that we seek can only be found inside of us making it our responsibility to uncover that truth.
Most of us who go to a therapist are hoping that there is someone else we can blame or find responsible for whatever is going. Realizing it is all up to us can be a bitter pill to swallow. If, as Rumi says, “love is the bridge between you and everything,” then it might easily follow that refusing to love or withholding love must be the main reason we feel disconnected from our own lives and from each other.
In my quest to further understand love and the barriers to love, I became a student of A Course in Miracles. Some of my greatest mentors were spiritual teachers of this Course and I became curious about its teachings.
A Course in Miracles is basically a study in how we humans so easily misperceive the truth. The truth being that “there is only love.”
If we evaluate our relationships through the mind, then it may follow that judgements and blame will arise, blocking any true connection to love. That is because we become afraid of others and become defensive. We interpret any attack or criticism from another as personal rather than understanding that such action arises from the fearful projections of the other, someone also wanting to be loved but at a loss as to how to get it.
A Course of Miracles also says, “love holds no grievances.” If that is so, then perhaps it follows that the path to an open heart lies in forgiving ourselves and others. Befriending and accepting any anger and bitterness we might hold that may be preventing us from stepping into the fullness of our hearts is often the first step. Acknowledging how we feel without judgement allows us to connect and commune with the frequency of unconditional love. These angry and bitter thoughts need our love and compassion as we navigate our human experience.
Letting go of a need to blame or hold someone accountable goes a long way to liberate our loving hearts.
Since those early days of study and internships, I have taken many more trainings, and certifications. I am part of tons of online groups and listen to all kinds of summits. I return again and again to that same simple realization: that there really is only love.
When we love ourselves enough, we make the right choices — we lose that weight, we find ways to better our lives, we enjoy ourselves more. When we love others, we seek ways to communicate better, love more, enjoy ourselves more. When we send love to our ‘problems’, these problems start to resolve themselves.
Sometimes I laugh and wonder if I really needed to go through all my clinical training, spending so much money along the way to come to these simple realizations. But the universe operates in weird and wonderful ways. The gift has been that in fully understanding what doesn`t work, I can then embrace what does. I believe that there are many people in the world who show up as love day after day, refusing to buy into the tyranny of the mind, following their hearts with grace and ease.
Being open-hearted is our natural state. However, it seems that we develop patterns in our relationships, sometimes very early on, which only serve to block and shut out the very thing that we all yearn for: LOVE.
To uncover these defenses and to set ourselves free of them requires us to dig deep. To see where we might be withholding love — both from ourselves and from others — is a wonderful gift. To set an intention to find love, be love, and embrace love, may be the best choice we ever make. To surrender to the love that is all around us, that is what I call bliss.
You may also enjoy reading Relationship Assignments: The Ego vs. Love, by Marianne Williamson