By Howard Peiper, N.D.
Love is our Soul purpose. Our life direction is the trajectory we take, or the story we weave to get to that place of deeper love of self and other. Self is not “selfish” in an egoism self-centered fashion; rather, it is the honoring of the place within us that is larger than our personal life story, or is our “Higher Self/Higher Power/God.”
Oscar Wilde once said:
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
Isn’t that a delicious and outrageous thought? Who doesn’t want to rediscover themselves and fall in self-love again; to “re-invent” our life and feel that sense of self? Or maybe we are more humble and simply want to have “a more determining say” in our destiny and fate, and perhaps like a good makeover, we confess it’s an intriguing idea.
Most of us believe, as Mother Teresa said:
“We can’t all do great things, but we can do small things in great ways.”
It’s not always about what we do in life that truly matters, but how we do what we do. And how we speak about what we do. “Life purpose” isn’t about quitting our day job and moving to India to work in an orphanage, although that might be perfect for some. Life purpose evolves as we find meaning in whatever we do, and we do this by bringing to consciousness what we have kept in the unconscious, in our “shadow.” This term shadow is about all those very human things we disown about ourselves—things we tend to not see or that we dislike, and all those things we tend to “project” upon others who irritate us. Yet this shadow also holds the “gold”—those noble tendencies and talented parts of ourselves that we have been too blind to see.
So, What is Love?
L for listen—Ask our friends what’s wrong, and really listen to the answer. Let them vent their fears, frustrations and other important feelings, maintaining eye contact and showing that we’re interested in what they have to say. Resist the urge to give advice, and just let them get it out. Reframe what we hear. Summarize and repeat back our understanding of what they’re saying so they know we’re hearing them, and focus on the emotions they might be feeling. For example, if our friend is talking about family problems, we might find ourselves saying, “It looks like things are getting pretty hostile. You sound like you’re feeling hurt.” Ask about feelings. Ask them to expand on what they’re feeling; it provides a good emotional release and might be more helpful than just focusing on the facts of their situation.
O for overlook—What is it? It is simply the ability of people to be together, overlook pettiness, and not focus on problems. A problem-free relationship is in harmony, and when or where there is harmony, there is peace. Problems, whether big or small, arise when compatibility is low. What type of problems? It’s typically major issues that people or a couple should not have overlooked; true compatibility is not measured by an argument about the positioning of the T.V. or what the color of the window blind in the visitors’ room should be.
V for voice control—Trusting relationships with others help us avoid depression after life stresses and help prevent illness, speed up recovery, and promote longevity. But an unhealthy relationship can cause depression and make our life seem like hell. Unfortunately, people with bad tempers cause a great deal of the stresses we face today. In the best relationships, the partners calmly and tactfully talk about irritations, disagreements, and conflicts without blaming each other and then problem solve, negotiate, and compromise. Occasional arguments with yelling can feel good when they unearth important issues and lead to problem solving, but they often result in hurt feelings, they sabotage problem solving so that problems become chronic, damage trust and closeness, and may lead to one party feeling very justified in lying or deceiving by omission. Instead, develop a confiding relationship of sharing feelings, not just facts, and receiving acceptance, understanding, and emotional support from each other. Research shows that sharing feelings is much more important to closeness and happiness than the sharing of facts.
E for encouragement—Relationships, including the one we have with ourselves, can be viewed as a lifelong and sometimes arduous journey. At the outset, most everything seems fun and exciting, including challenges. Early on we are intent on showing the most positive aspects of ourselves to others. If our newfound love is experiencing difficulty, we tend to offer cheerleading, support, and encouragement as a way to help.
Through these actions, we let the others know that we will be there through the struggle and that we believe in his or her capacity to successfully navigate the issue. Sadly, as the journey continues, our focus tends to shift. Support and encouragement somehow are permutated into advice-giving, blame, and even downright negativity. Forgotten is the simple sense of excitement that characterized even the most difficult challenges in the early stages of the journey and lost are the encouraging words and deeds that helped us and our partner to successfully navigate the journey together.
Dr. Howard Peiper, N.D., is a nationally recognized expert in the holistic counseling field. His healing, health care and natural professional credentials extend over a 30 year period and include those of naturopath, author, lecturer, magazine consultant, radio personality and host of a television show. Howard, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written numerous books on nutrition and natural health including 12 best sellers. He is co-host of the award-winning Television show, Partners in Healing. They feature guests in the alternative healing field including such names as Harvey Diamond, Dr. John Upledger, Dr. Bernard Jensen, Gary Null, and Dr. Marshall Mandell. Visit http://drhowardpeiper.wordpress.com/.