It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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DR. MARGARET PAUL is a bestselling author, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah). Her book titles include Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You, Heal...
DR. MARGARET PAUL is a bestselling author, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah). Her book titles include Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You, Healing Your Aloneness, Inner Bonding" and the recently released Diet For Divine Connection and The Inner Bonding Workbook. Margaret has successfully worked with thousands around the world and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years.
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The Vast Difference Between Aloneness and Loneliness

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Often, when I ask my clients what they feel, it’s obvious to me that they are confused between loneliness and aloneness.
 

Aloneness

Aloneness is an inner feeling of being all alone in the universe, and feeling empty inside. Aloneness indicates that there is a lack of love inside. But, contrary to what most people assume, it’s not another’s love that’s missing – it’s your love that’s missing.

The feelings of aloneness and emptiness are the result of emotional self-abandonment – of ignoring your feelings, judging yourself, using addictions to numb your feelings, and of making others responsible for you feeling loved, safe, and worthy. When you emotionally reject and abandon yourself, your feeling self – your inner child – feels alone and empty inside. When you emotionally abandon yourself, your heart closes and you can’t feel the love and comfort of your higher guidance, which leads to feeling alone in the universe. This is a very sad way to live, yet this is how many people live. 

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The Power of Genuine Hugs

hugging Are you aware of the difference between hugs that heal and hugs that are draining or invasive?

There are hugs…and there are hugs. In other words, there are genuine loving and giving hugs, and there are needy hugs and inappropriately sexual hugs. There is a world of difference between these.

While I knew this as a child – as most children do – I didn’t have words for the difference. I just knew that I loved hugging and being hugged by some people and I hated being hugged by others. Loving hugs felt nurturing and safe to me, while needy and sexual hugs felt yucky.

My mother’s hugs never felt good to me. My mother was narcissistic, and her hugs were needy. When she hugged me – which fortunately wasn’t very often, I felt like the life was being sucked right out of me. My mother was never a person I would go to for love or comfort.

Until I was twelve, my father’s hugs were wonderful – filled with love and nurturing. I felt so safe in the arms of my father. All that changed when I was twelve and my father became sexually abusive, which, of course, meant that he was no longer safe for me. I was confused and scared and crushed to no longer be able to go to my father for hugs. I protected myself by staying away from him as much as I could.

I’m a very affectionate person, and by the time I started dating I was so starved for hugs that I often found myself in difficult situations. What I wanted was loving and caring hugs but, what I mostly got was needy and/or sexual hugs from the boys I dated. It took me many more years before I could articulate the energetic difference between loving, healing, nurturing hugs, and needy or inappropriately sexual hugs.

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Should I Stay, or Should I Leave?

breakingup

Heather asked the following question:

“My boyfriend and I are on a two-month break, and during this time I realized that I have been trying to fix my boyfriend so that he would be the loving adult to me. I have been abandoning myself for five years, first by not taking loving care of myself when a substance addiction was revealed, then by pushing him to go to an addiction therapist and a 12-step program, and now Inner Bonding. All so I could control his indulgent behavior and get the love I need from him. I’m trying to decide if I should stay or leave. My inner conversations are not yet kind and compassionate towards myself and I am not feeling very supported. I just keep hearing a harsh voice telling me to leave. How to I decide what’s loving to me?”

Since Heather has been abandoning herself, she can’t know the answer to whether she should stay or leave until she has practiced Inner Bonding long enough to develop her loving adult self.

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Do You See Your Essence and The Essences of Your Children?

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One of the things I loved doing as a child was making creative things for my parents. I would spend hours designing and building wonderful cards with little poems in them, and make special pieces of jewelry for my mother. The only problem was that, while my mother would receive her gift graciously, she never received it with her heart. She would smile and tell me how lovely it was, but I never felt her love coming back to me. My mother did not know how to open her heart, how to smile at me with love and cherishing in her eyes. My father would never even notice his gift.

I wanted to connect with my parents, to share love with them, to know their hearts, but their hearts were hidden. Sadly, my mother died at the age of 86 without ever being able to share her heart with me. My father died at 92 and his heart was always closed.

Your children need to feel your heart and soul. They need you to take the time to stop what you are doing and just be with them. They need you to really see them – to see who they are beneath their outward ways of being.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is to see their essence, their true Self, the individual expression of Spirit within them. When children are deeply seen and valued by their parents, they learn to see and value themselves. All children need this profound mirroring from their parents to feel intrinsically lovable and worthy.

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A Major Cause of Stress

stressful

Discover that stress is NOT being caused primarily by people or situations, but by your own thoughts and actions.

We tend to think of stress as something that occurs because of outside events, such as having financial problems, relationship problems, health problems, or from having too much to do. Certainly events such as these are challenging, but they are not the actual cause of stressful feelings.

Stress Is An Important Message

Stress is your inner guidance’s way of letting you know that you are thinking thoughts or taking actions that are out of alignment with what is in your highest good, or that you are trying to control something that you cannot control – such as how people feel about you or the outcome of things. Stress may also be letting you know that something in your body is out of whack – you are on medications or substances that are affecting your brain and causing the stress, or you have eaten foods such as sugar, processed, or pesticide-laden food that is causing brain toxicity, leading to feeling stressed.

When you are operating from your wounded self and trying to control something over which you have no control – such as others’ feelings and the outcome of things – your stress is letting you know that you are hitting your head against a wall and not accepting reality. The opposite of stress – inner peace – is the result of accepting what is, learning to take loving care of ourselves in the face of what is, and practicing gratitude for the big and small blessings on this incredible journey of life – even in the face of all the challenges. And as many of us have experienced, gratitude offers us a stress-free way to manifest what we want, and works far better than trying to control others and outcomes.

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How To Forgive

forgiveness
It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. ~Maya Angelou


Forgiveness IS one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, but how do we genuinely get there?

Many people believe that if they just decide to forgive someone, they have actually forgiven them, only to discover anger or resentment emerging over and over. So how to forgive?

Alyce wrote me the following question:

“Dr. Paul, How do I sincerely forgive my soon-to-be ex-husband of 32 years for infidelity committed prior to him even asking me for a divorce? I feel angry, hurt and jealous that he would give another woman the affection that he denied me. I know I must forgive him in order for me to heal and move on, but how to forgive?”

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Does Your Life Feel Alive And Meaningful?

feeling alive

Do you find that nothing really excites you or holds much meaning for you? Does your life lack aliveness, passion and purpose?

Vera sought out counseling with me because her doctor advised her to discover the emotional causes of her chronic fatigue. Vera, a successful stockbroker, was in a loving 18-year marriage. On the surface, everything in her life was fine. She had enough money, friends and a good relationship with her husband. Yet Vera awoke each morning battling fatigue and depression. She didn’t want to get out of bed because nothing felt meaningful to her.

David sought my help because of chronic feelings of inner emptiness. David is very successful in his manufacturing business, has a good marriage and two adult children. Like Vera, everything seemed fine. Yet the feelings of inner emptiness drove David to overeat, overspend and indulge in porn on the Internet. Like Vera, nothing felt meaningful to him.

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Loving Yourself When Your Partner Shuts You Out

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What do you do when your partner shuts you out?

Do you know that being shut out and stonewalled is even more hurtful than being yelled at? Children would rather get yelled at or even hit than ignored. This is why the worst punishment for prisoners is solitary confinement.

Yet, along with overt anger, withdrawal is the most common form of controlling behavior in relationships. Just as the fear of anger keeps partners from addressing issues, so does the fear of a partner’s withdrawal.

Loretta is struggling with this issue.

“I’m in a two year relationship. My main problem is how can I raise an issue without him turning his back on me and walking away? I have to follow him to get my feeling across only to have him ignore me. He says I am never happy with what he does and feels frustrated that he can’t make me happy. The ignoring makes me feel unloved and rejected. I have told him how it makes me feel but he still does it.”

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Your Imagination Can Take You Where Knowledge Cannot Go

Imagination
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
–Albert Einstein
Knowledge, in this quote by Einstein, refers to the learned information we have acquired over the years of being on the planet. It is the information that is stored in our left brain, the facts that we may need at any time, as well as the false beliefs that are stored in our amygdala in our lower brain, the home of our wounded self.

When Einstein stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” he meant that the wisdom we access when we open to our right brain – the seat of our imagination – is vaster, broader, and far more profound that any knowledge we acquire though our left brain. When we open to learning and go into our imagination, which is where we access our higher guidance, we open ourselves to “all there ever will be to know and understand.”
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The Important Messages From Our Deeper Painful Feelings

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One of the basic tenets of Inner Bonding is that our feelings are our inner guidance system. Our wounded feelings such as anxiety, depression, fear, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness and jealousy – the feelings that we cause with our false beliefs and resulting behavior – inform us that we are being unloving to ourselves, that we are abandoning ourselves in some way.

Our deeper existential core painful feelings – the feelings that are caused by others and events – are also informing us. Our loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, grief, helplessness over others, outrage, and fear of real and present danger offer us an enormous amount of information about what is happening externally.

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Is Your Caretaking Covering Up Your Heartbreak?

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Jenny grew up with a narcissistic mother who was incessantly demanding attention and demanding to have her way. Her mother would get furious when her husband or children didn’t do what she wanted them to do, or didn’t pay enough attention to her. Jenny, not wanting to be like her mother, learned early to be “nice” and go along with things rather than speak up for herself. She decided that the only way to not be demanding like her mother was to always work conflict out by herself – never voicing her feelings to anyone. In order to do this, she had to deny the heartache or heartbreak she felt when others were unloving to her.

 

She was treated the same way she treated herself…

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Judging Yourself Can Lead To Sexual Addiction

sexaddiction Discover how self-abandonment can lead to using and objectifying others sexually.

Nicholas consulted with me because of problems he was having in his marriage. He was very distressed that his wife, Kayla, never wanted to have sex with him.

In the course of our work, it became apparent that Nicholas was very judgmental of himself. Throughout a day he was constantly telling himself how inadequate he was. “You certainly messed that up.” “You are such a jerk.” “You never do anything right.” “What’s the matter with you?” His wounded self was totally in charge, trying to have control over getting Nicolas to do everything right in order to get others’ approval.

The ubiquitous self-judgment meant that his inner child felt constantly abandoned, which created intense aloneness and emptiness within Nicholas. This made Nicholas dependent upon others to fill him up and make him feel good.

He was especially dependent on his wife…

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Addiction to Story Telling

Addiction to Story Telling

I was at a social gathering speaking with Robyn, a woman I had just met. At first, it sounded like she was a very interesting person and a good storyteller, but after a few minutes I noticed that we were not speaking WITH each other – she was speaking AT me.

I also noticed that I was unable to connect with her, and I started to feel very bored. Being used to noticing and acknowledging my feelings, I thanked my inner child for the information she was giving me – my boredom – which was telling me that Robyn was likely addicted to story telling.

Robyn was using story telling as a form of control to capture my attention and drain my energy. She was counting on the fact that she thought I would be too polite to walk away in the middle of her story. She was wrong about my being too polite!

I do try to be polite, but

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Beyond Suffering: An Ah-Ha Moment!

beyond-suffering

Allyson and Jonathan are sitting in front of me at a 5-Day Intensive. Married for 2 years, they have lost the passion and fun they once had, and they cannot understand why.

As I sit with them and experience what I call their relationship system, I see that what Jonathan does when he feels lonely around Allyson is to abandon himself by getting hard and judgmental or by shutting down. I see that what Allyson does when she feels lonely around Jonathan is to abandon herself by disconnecting from herself, leaving her heart and going up into her head. I see that Allyson’s disconnection makes Jonathan feel lonely, and Jonathan’s judgment and withdrawal crush Allyson.

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Accepting What You Can't Control, Controlling What You Can

edelweiss-with-alpenglow

Coming to grips with what you can and can’t control opens the door to true emotional freedom and personal power. I frequently receive questions about what to do in situations where someone is behaving in an unloving way, or a way that’s painful for them. For example:

  • My co-worker never answers emails, making it very hard for me to do my work, as I need his input.
  • My wife never wants to make love.
  • People often ask me intrusive questions that I don’t want to answer.
  • My husband is often late and never calls to let me know he is going to be late for dinner.
  • My friend got together with a bunch of our friends for lunch and didn’t invite me.
  • My parents are forever criticizing me.
  • I often feel invaded and demanded of by family and friends.
  • My husband sits at the table when we go out to dinner absorbed with his phone instead of talking with me.
  • My children are disrespectful toward me.
  • My wife has a male friend whom she talks with all the time and sometimes meets for lunch, even though I’ve told her I’m uncomfortable with their relationship.
  • My wife often wants to talk about what I’m doing wrong. 


Two Healthy Choices in Conflict

It is important to remember that we have only two healthy ways of dealing with conflict – two loving responses when another is behaving in a way that is upsetting or hurtful to us.

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Whose Feelings Are You Responsible For – Yours or Others?

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Do you believe you are responsible for causing others’ anger, hurt, sadness or anxiety? Is this causing you to feel guilty?

“My wife is so upset that I have to travel more on my new job,” Chuck told me in our phone counseling session. “She feels so alone and lost when I’m gone. When I talk with her she is either crying or angry. I feel so badly and guilty but I don’t know what to do.”

“Do you feel responsible for her feelings?” I asked him. “Do you feel that you are the cause of her feelings?”

“Yes.”

* * * * *

“I’m just starting to date again after my divorce and I’m having a hard time with it,” Jeanette told me. “I just don’t know how to let a man know that I’m not interested in dating him any more, or in pursuing a sexual relationship with him. It feels like such a sticky situation.”

“Is it sticky because you are worried about his feelings?”

“Yes. The last man I dated hung his head and looked so distressed when I asked him to leave. I know that he was really attracted to me and I wasn’t at all attracted to him. I felt so awful that he was so hurt.”

“Did you feel responsible for his feelings?”

“Yes.”

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“Why Am I Procrastinating?”

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Fran asked me the following question:

“I am a Ph.D. student and I have chosen my profession because I like it and not because of my parents’ influence. However, I am procrastinating every day more and more to the point where some days I don’t work at all. This really scares me and I don’t understand why I would procrastinate in doing something that I have chosen to do and is supposed to be my passion. I realize there is some fear of failure behind this, but it is irrational because I know I am capable of doing my work. I am really frustrated and scared and don’t know what the underlying cause is.”

The clue to her procrastination is this: “I realize there is some fear of failure behind this, but it is irrational because I know I am capable of doing my work.”

The fact that she is calling her fear ‘irrational’ is stopping her from learning from it and understanding it.

Her fear is likely NOT about whether or not she is capable of doing the work. Her fear is likely about whether or not she is going to judge herself if she doesn’t meet a certain standard.

Please take a moment to take in what you just read.

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Self-Worth: A Reflection of Self-Love or Self-Abandonment

beautiful-in-nature-picture Self-worth suffers when you behave in ways you regret and then judge yourself.

A woman asked me the following question:

“Why am I worthy at all? Saying I am a divine being does not answer to the underlying issue of self-worth in physical world reality. My daughter did something she is very ashamed of and has been suffering from low self-worth. I have had a hard time explaining why what she does is not who she is.”

 

There are a number of things that are important to understand about self-worth.

The daughter is suffering primarily because she is harshly judging herself for whatever it is she did. Instead, she needs to forgive herself, learn from her mistake, and be compassionate toward herself for being human and making mistakes – which all humans do.

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The Powerful Choices That Create Inner Peace

innerpeace
I have found that there are five choices we can make to release stress and create inner peace. None of these choices are hard in themselves, but they can be challenging due to the insistence of the wounded self to do the exact opposite.

Be Present with Feelings and Guidance

Unless there is actually something dangerous happening in this present moment, being fully in the moment brings a release of stress.

The wounded self is addicted to focusing on the past or future – ruminating about the past, perhaps with regret – and worrying about the future – trying to control it. If you notice your body while you are ruminating or worrying, you will notice that your body is tense. The tension is your inner guidance letting you know that your wounded self is in charge and you are abandoning yourself.

When you notice this, shift into being in this present moment and notice the peace and relaxation that floods your body.

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Resistance to Healing

resistance “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Chinese Proverb

Do you believe that if you intellectually understand Inner Bonding without practicing it, change occurs?

Think of it this way: If you read a lot of books about working out, but you don’t actually work out, will your body get into shape?

If you read nutrition books but don’t change to a healthy diet, will you get healthier?

If you read about playing an instrument but don’t practice the instrument, will you learn to play it?

Inner Bonding is no different. It is a practice.

Resistance to Practicing

If you are resistant to practicing, there are good reasons for it. Actually, exploring your resistance is part of the practice. Here are some of the reasons you might be resisting the practice of Inner Bonding:

  • If I open to my feelings, they might overwhelm me.

If this is your fear, then you need to do some groundwork first. You might need some trauma therapy, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or SE (Somatic Experiencing) to de-escalate the intensity of your feelings and help you learn to regulate them.

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