“If we take an honest look within, we may notice a certain guardedness around our heart. For some people, this is a thick, impenetrable barricade. For others, it is a thinner, subtler protective shield or contraction that only emerges under threatening conditions. And nothing triggers this sense of threat so strongly as the suspicion that we are not truly loved or acceptable as we are.” John Welwood.
You might not have heard of John Welwood. He’s a psychotherapist who specialises in relationships and who uses both Western and Buddhist psychology to inform his counselling. The quote above is from his book “Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships” in which he explores the nature of love and also how we manage to get ourselves in such a muddle over it! On the surface we play out our conditioning in our relationships with others, whilst underneath –sometimes very deep down – we all have the capacity to make soulful connections.
Something else you might not have heard is that I am associate coach for the dating agency “Natural Friends” (www.naturalfriends.co.uk). Whilst relationship coaching is maybe not something you might readily associate with downshifting, sustainable living, or sustainable business, the connection for me in all of these things is the quality of our relationship with ourselves.
In my conversations with Natural Friends members and with my coaching clients, I’ve noticed a certain urgency about the need to find a new partner or change the one we have. And yet, according to John Welwood, we first need to accept and love ourselves. The same is true when we are considering changing our lifestyle. The first step is to accept and love ourselves, whatever our current circumstances, and then, from that position of wholeness, self-empowerment and open-heartedness, to consider what needs to change.