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Personal Development

The Barriers We Build Against Love

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    As children we needed to be loved. We were entirely dependent on the adults around us, so the way they acted towards us - and each other - has had a big impact on how we show up to love as adults.

  • Reflect On:

    What are some of the barriers you put up that stop you from feeling your own love? At what age were these barriers to love created and why?

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi

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Many people are still looking for their ‘other half’, venturing out on more and more dates, casting the net wider until they find someone to complete them. And when it doesn’t work out just as they planned, they jump back onto their smartphones, ‘unfriend’ the offending partner and swipe themselves another one.

And yet many of us also know that, deep down, another human being is never going to be able to make us whole and that the fairy tale of meeting our Prince/ss Charming is just that – a fairy tale. We understand that true love comes from within and when we love ourselves – fully – only then can we truly love another.

This is great, in theory, because for many of us, self-love stuff is still very much an intellectual concept that we strive to reach in the same way that some people strive to meet someone new when their last relationship hits a wall. Striving for self-love is not the essence of self-love. Discovering the barriers to love may well be what we need.

Barriers to love

Rumi is rumoured to have said that our task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves that we have built against it. It’s likely that he knew a thing or two about life and love. Self-love can be tricky – sure, we get it, intellectually. We know it’s necessary to “love ourselves” but aside from eating healthier, daily exercise and spending more time doing the things we love, it can be hard to get over that ultimate hurdle.

So what is it that gets in the way? What are these barriers that Rumi speaks of and why are they there at all?

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We all have them. They’re made up of the internal voices that tell us that we “don’t deserve to be loved and happy”. Or that there’s something intrinsically ‘wrong’ with us. That we are somehow ‘broken’ and if anyone actually found out the truth about us they would surely leave us.

These barriers to love are constantly running in the background; a low hum that unconsciously speaks to everything we do, every action (and inaction) we take. Unlike the self-loving ‘apps’ that we consciously choose (weekly yoga sessions, salad and connecting with friends), these barriers form a part of our internal ‘operating system’ and are generally in shadow for us.

What you realize is, we don’t need to go out and love ourselves, we already do, we simply need to take down the barriers blocking that.

We Are Not Born With These Barriers

Not one of us came into this world with pre-erected barriers to love; it’s learned behaviour. We learned them from the adults around us at the time. We might have learned that ‘love’ was scary and shouty, or that if you love someone it should be dramatic. We might have learned that ‘love’ was silent, sulky and certainly not communicated through affection.

What was happening around you as a child has likely informed your decisions about the type of partner you choose as an adult. Repeating patterns are not always pleasant, but they’re certainly familiar.

In addition to how we saw the world and what we learned about love when we were children, we were also extremely vulnerable. Something as subtle as having overly critical or emotionally unavailable parents can have a big impact on who and how you are as an adult. Through little eyes, the world can look like a dangerous place and it’s likely that you employed protection strategies that may have stopped you from getting hurt, emotionally or physically.

Creating a tough outer shell or a sentinel-like vigilance may have been necessary when you were 3 feet tall, but how is that working for you now? How are the protective behavioural patterns you employed as a child serving you in your life as an adult?

In my own life, I have sometimes struggled to connect fully; to really let my partner in. My experience as a child taught me that loving relationships were not easy and they wouldn’t last. So as an adult, it felt safer to never let anyone come too close, in case the same thing happened again.

All the self-loving actions in the world couldn’t compete with my unconscious internal message that love was unsafe and ultimately destined to end.

Whilst it may sound quite depressing; on the contrary, I have found it to be massively empowering. As I now know this about myself, I can make a decision when I feel myself withdrawing, I can choose to come closer and to see this as a pattern that was created many years ago in order to protect me – it’s not who I am. Because of this, I am now so much closer to my current partner.

Discovering your personal barriers to love

It’s taken me many years to discover my own barriers to love and I’m still uncovering more and more layers of the onion each day. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to discovering what’s getting in the way of you and the love you deserve, but there are proven tools and techniques that can help. My most recent ‘ah-ha’ moment came whilst taking part in an online workshop known as the Groundwork.

Collective Evolution readers get 25% off the standard price and you will get to learn more about some of the tools and techniques I used at www.dothegroundwork.com (use the coupon code: collective to get your 25% discount).

When you discover your unique barriers to love, know that you created them a long time ago with your own best interests and safety at heart. Dissolve them with the love they were created with; acknowledging and thanking the little one, that still lives inside you, for being there and for doing the best they could when things got tough.

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Consciousness

A Simple Trick To Unlock Determination & Focus

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In a world filled with distractions, the ability to lock in and focus has become harder and harder to master. But rather than looking outside of yourself for a solution, the key may just lie within.

  • Reflect On:

    How many notifications do you receive daily? Are there any Apps that rather than always receiving notifications from you could instead just check at certain times?

A recent study revealed that in the United States, the average smartphone user receives 45.9 push notifications per day, and many of us exceed that number. From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter to WhatsApp to Gmail, everything is constantly vying for our attention.

As a result of this overload, we’re experiencing a collective inability to focus at our highest potential and a reality where the majority of us are consistently fighting off some sort of urge to do something else.

(Fun Fact: Even as I’ve just started to write this article I’ve already seen my phone light up twice with notifications. I’ve now followed my own rules and have turned it over to lock in on the task at hand–more on this later.)

Even if you are part of the dying breed of individuals who have sworn off social media, although you finding and reading this article suggests otherwise, we all seem to be having an incredibly difficult time staying focused.

And with every useless scroll through our Instagram news feed and with every endless YouTube video rabbit hole we fall into, we only further shrink our attention span and strengthen the programming that convinces us that this is normal behaviour.

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Assuming that part of why you clicked on this article is because you do have something that you ideally would like to focus on and ultimately accomplish, I’d like to share with you the best tactic I’ve personally found (and some bonus ones) to “lock in.” Believe it or not, this tactic is not a specific exercise, but is instead designed for you to realize that you still have an incredible ability to focus within you. It hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s just been misguided.

In fact, it’s likely getting more use than you could ever imagine.

The best way to explain this further is by using an example. Think of the last time you either: A) lost your phone, or B) forgot to bring a charger and realized that your phone was about to die.

The moment that either of those realities kick in for most of us, we immediately enter a state where nothing else matters. In scenario A, we search everywhere possible, call it from any other device we can get our hands on, and seek out the assistance of everyone available. In scenario B, despite being an introvert on the daily, we suddenly find ourselves engaging in conversation with everyone by asking for a charger, and if one can’t be found we start planning our exit no matter how much fun we’re having pre-low battery.

We’ve all experienced and have seen this before. When assessed like this, it likely sounds like a form of insanity–and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is–but from a completely different perspective, it’s actually fully “locked in” determination.

You see, we all have the capacity to focus on one particular thing and give all of ourselves to it, it’s just that our auto-pilot has become the opposite because of the sheer number of distractions we are exposed to and have become addicted to.

So rather than looking outside of yourself for some practice or technique that’s going to help you focus and finish writing that book, completing the homework, or finally send out those wedding thank you cards, look within and realize that you are still a determination powerhouse just waiting to be re-guided.

Bonus Tips: 1) When working on something important, put your phone on silent and either put it in another room or face down on your desk. 2) Consider turning off notifications and instead just check certain apps at particular points in the day. I’ve personally turned off all notifications from Facebook, Instagram and all audible email pushes.


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Instagram. And to receive my free eBook on 5 Simple Daily Hacks For A Genuinely Happier Life click HERE.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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Consciousness

How To Improve Your Life In 3 Simple Steps

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The world of personal development is oversaturated in content promising to provide you the keys to happiness, success, etc. Here is the simplest technique you'll ever come across to immediately improve your life.

  • Reflect On:

    Am I making my life more complicated and difficult than it needs to be? What stops me from regularly applying all of the great things I've read about and learned to date?

The world of personal development is certainly an interesting one. As the shelves in your local bookstore and the search results on Google suggest, it is undoubtedly quite oversaturated with both redundant and often contradictory advice on how to improve your life.

Whether it be coming from well-recognized forces in the industry such as Tony Robbins and Lisa Nichols, or from people such as myself who would love to one day become that much of a force, there are plenty of resources available to us. And while I’m sure we can all list off a self-help book or two we’ve read that we believe the world would be better without, the main reason why this content continues to be created at such a rapid pace is that we continue to seek it out.

You’d think that the content’s intention to improve our lives from that point forward would naturally give the industry a relatively short life, but it instead continues to thrive because we collectively seem to have an incredibly difficult time applying it. We get amped up after reading a great chapter or after completing a powerful exercise, but two days later forget what we’ve learned and slip back into the busy nature of our daily lives.

With this piece I’d like to combat that tendency by making personal development as easy as possible. Here’s my take on how to improve your life in 3 simple steps:

Step 1 – What Makes You Happy?

Step 1 simply involves taking 10-15 minutes to write out everything (and I mean everything) that makes you happy in life. If you enjoy taking your dog for a walk, write it down. If you enjoy reading in bed, write it down. If you enjoy playing rugby, write it down.

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Step 2 – What’s Regularly On Your To Do List?

Whether or not you actively create a to do list, step 2 requires you to set aside another 10-15 minutes to write out everything that you currently do on a regular weekly basis. From going to work to making meals to playing a sport to driving your kids to and from school, write out anything and everything that typically consumes your time.

Step 3 – Adjust Accordingly

You may have guessed where this was going, but yes, the mind-blowing, life-altering advice is to simultaneously look at both of those lists and adjust accordingly.

The human experience may be incredibly complicated, and I’m sure that we all have deep seeded issues that we would likely benefit from an in-depth analysis on, but we’re also not as complicated as we think.

And no, I am not suggesting that we all immediately ditch everything on list number 2 to instead strictly dedicate our lives to the items on list number 1. What I am suggesting is that one of the simplest ways to profoundly improve our lives is by making more regular time for the things that we enjoy.

I know that we all lead busy lives and that we have our fair share of responsibilities, but if you found the time to read this article I’m willing to bet that you have at least a little wiggle room. It ultimately boils down to prioritization, and what could be better than to prioritize the things that you genuinely love at least a bit more?


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Instagram. And to receive my free eBook on 5 Simple Daily Hacks For A Genuinely Happier Life click HERE.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consciousness

A Brutally Honest Guide To Stop Caring About What Other People Think

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We are all naturally self-conscious to some extent in this world, some far more than others, and all typically much more than we are willing to admit. But there are things that we can all do to set ourselves free from this anxiety.

  • Reflect On:

    Do I let the opinions of others hold me back from being myself? Whose opinions impact me the most and why?

While there are certainly many things in this world that can quite easily get our “knickers caught up in a bunch,” there are few that personally bother me more than the reality that, in a world with over 7.5 billion people, far too many of us allow ourselves to be controlled by the opinions of just one or two of these people.

We have countless dreams, ideas and opportunities, all of which we’re often more “comfortable” shutting down rather than pursuing, no matter how excited we were upon initially coming up with them.

If this sounds familiar to you, and trust me it’s an ongoing battle for most of us (myself included), and you’d like to do something about it, here’s some of what I’ve found to be the most effective at getting yourself to a point where you’re far less bothered by the opinions of others:

Accept That Haters Will Always Hate

This may be a tough pill to swallow for some, but realize that, no matter what you choose to do and not do in this world, there will always be people who dislike and/or disagree with you. Even those who pride themselves on being a master of people pleasing have a number of non-supporters that they’re simply either discrediting or genuinely not aware of.

Especially in the social media driven world that we live in, public displays of dislike and displeasure have become far more prevalent, so chances are you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find out who’s not into what you’re up to.

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Knowing this, set yourself free of the wishful thought that a world of 100% undying support is possible, and instead focus on being yourself and being grateful for whatever support you do receive.

Identify The Opinions That “Matter” Most

While all non-supportive opinions have the potential to impact us, there is typically a particular opinion or two or twenty that hit home a bit harder than the rest. Common sources tend to include: parents, close friends, co-workers, and other people that we may either openly idolize or subconsciously be modelling ourselves after.

If you can peg down someone specific, think back on what could have triggered you into putting their opinion on a pedestal above the rest. And realize that allowing their opinions to control you and ultimately not being yourself is not doing them any favors. (Pardon me while I potentially get a bit too spiritually “woo-woo” for some.) It may be avoiding certain conflicts in that moment, but at a higher level it’s actually a disservice since you’re preventing both of you from having to deal with a conflict that in the long-run will help you both grow stronger.

Ah! I’m Afraid Of Everyone’s Opinion

If you find yourself particularly sensitive to and fearful of any form of criticism, take this brutally honest truth in: PEOPLE DO NOT THINK ABOUT YOU NEARLY AS MUCH AS YOU THINK THEY DO.

We are all naturally self-conscious to some extent in this world, some far more than others, and all typically much more than we are willing to admit. With that being the case, do you not think that most people are far too preoccupied with concerns centered around how everyone else is perceiving them to give that much attention to their perception of you?

This somewhat sad reality is even more true once again thanks to our social media driven world where it’s not uncommon for people to spend more time crafting a highlight reel moment worthy of sharing on Instagram than they do actually living it.

Some Extra Inspiration

So, rather than shutting yourself down out of fear of what someone else might say, do, or think, get excited by what might come from you alternatively choosing to express yourself. Realize that everything you now like to brag about was once outside of your comfort zone and that pretty well everyone you admire once (if not many times) had to take a leap into the unknown. And once they got there, they had to keep on going through plenty of criticism, differing opinions, and mind stories all set on selling them on the idea that quitting would be more optimal.

But they didn’t let it stop them because, in a world with over 7.5 billion people, they knew that their opinion mattered, and so does yours!


If your self-consciousness is a trigger of anxiety, you’re not alone! To help, I’ve created an ONLINE COURSE based on sharing everything I used to conquer my own severe anxiety. Check it out, take the first lesson for free, and get lifetime access to the full course for only $10 with the promo code ‘ANXIETY_FREE10’

For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on InstagramAnd to receive my free eBook on 5 Simple Daily Hacks For A Genuinely Happier Life click HERE.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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