The basic fear “I am not loveable” is the primary cause of all suffering. When you identify with this fear, it causes many tears to fall. The fear is not true, but if you believe it, you will turn away from yourself. Feeling unloveable causes you to reject your eternal loveliness. Instead, you put on an act that takes the place of your true self in the hope that this will trick people into loving you. However, because you have rejected yourself, you are afraid that everyone else will reject you, too, especially when they get to know the truth about you.
When you believe “I am not loveable,” it causes you to contract inside, to defend yourself, and to behave in unloving ways that add to your pain. You also experience pain when fear appears to triumph over love: for example, when it looks like love is not present, that love changes, that love is being withheld, that love is not enough, and that love dies. In deep pain, the fear is that love has forsaken you. In other words, love has rejected you, too. This is your private hell. The temptation here is to reject love. However, when you stop loving, it hurts you even more. Only by loving can you begin to face the fear, heal the pain, and walk out of hell.
“If you could teach your children only one lesson about love, what would it be?” I was asked this question in a recent interview I gave on the radio. It’s a great question. It really made me think. How would you answer it? There are many answers I could have given, but I was asked to give just one. What came to my mind was a mantra I learned from my great friend, psychologist Chuck Spezzano. I teach about this mantra in every Loveability program. The mantra is: If it hurts, it isn’t love.
I first came across Chuck Spezzano’s work in the summer of 1998. A friend of mine gave me a book that Chuck had self-published. It was called If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love. The title got my attention. Continue Reading
A Meditation on Success and Setting True Priorities
Today the Success Intelligence team is hosting a half-day master- class on Success Intelligence in the heart of London. Ben Renshaw and I are co-presenting. One of the themes we will explore today is relationships are the heart of success.
So many of us have grown up with parents who sacrificed themselves for the family, and who sacrificed their relationships with family, friends, and partners for their work. Our challenge is to make sure we do not repeat the same mistakes.
There are two types of sacrifice: unhealthy sacrifice and healthy sacrifice. One is based on fear and the other on love. Knowing the difference is a key to knowing how to love and be loved.
Over the years, I have counseled people who tried to use unhealthy sacrifice to save a marriage. It appeared to work at first, but love and dishonesty are not good bedfellows. I have seen lovers try to play small in a relationship so as to heal power struggles and avoid rejection. I have seen children get ill in a desperate attempt to heal their parents’ relationship. I have seen business leaders nearly kill themselves for their cause. Unhealthy sacrifice is often well intentioned, but it doesn’t work, because it is based on fear and not love.
Healthy sacrifice is a different story. To be happy in a relationship, you have to be willing to sacrifice fear for love, independence for intimacy, resentment for forgiveness, and old wounds for new beginnings, for instance. Above all, you have to stop giving yourself away and learn how to give more of yourself. You give yourself away when you are not true to yourself, when you play a role, when you don’t speak up, when you don’t ask for what you want, when you don’t listen to yourself, and when you don’t allow yourself to receive. The key is to remember that whatever you are trying to achieve with unhealthy sacrifice can also be achieved without it. Continue Reading
I am in Las Vegas this weekend to give the opening keynote at the annual conference for the International Enneagram Association (IEA). I feel honoured to be asked to give the keynote and I am looking forward to taking in a number of lectures given by leading teachers of the Enneagram including Russ Hudson, Jessica Dibb, David Daniels, Helen Palmer, Tom Condon, and Marika Borg.
My friend Marika Borg introduced me to the Enneagram one fine day in Helsinki in 2003. I consider the Enneagram to be one of the most effective psycho-spiritual models for healing and Continue Reading
The first Oprah show of 2009 is one I appear in. It is called How Happy Are You?
Oprah Winfrey and I spend 60 entertaining and enlightening minutes uncovering the real secrets to happiness. The show begins with five members of the public including Lorrie, a mother of six, and David, a funeral director, who take a unique satisfaction test to assess how happy they are. The results are surprising and revealing, with David, the funeral director, top scoring! Afterwards, I coach each of them on how to enjoy greater happiness—starting from now.
You can take the happiness test and read a full report on the show now by visiting www.Oprah.com.
In a fast-paced show, Oprah and I cover many key themes including the importance of defining happiness for yourself, and also overcoming common blocks to happiness such as chasing happiness, destination addiction, and leaving yourself out of your own life. The show was seen by millions of TV viewers, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
My book Happiness NOW! was the featured book for the show, and since the broadcast it has risen on the Amazon list to #1 for books on happiness, #2 for self-help books, and into the Top 30 for books overall. The Happiness NOW audio book and perpetual flip calendar are also selling well. Continue Reading