Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
The Inner Bonding Journal
Volume 9.3 Aug 2002
the depths of our souls we all yearn for love and connection with others. That
yearning reflects a basic, even biological, human need. Infants, for example,
thrive physically only when they feel deeply loved and cherished. As adults, we
experience wrenching, soul-level loneliness when we donít have love and
meaningful connection in our lives, yet all too frequently we donít have these
things. Not with our parents or siblings, not with a mate, not even with a best
We all intuitively know that the highest experience in life is the sharing of
love. However, we often confuse the idea of sharing love with the idea of
getting love. We try to get love when we feel empty inside and can share love
only when we learn to first fill ourselves with love. We cannot share that which
we do not have within. The wounded part of us seeks constantly to get love and
avoid pain, resulting in an inability to share love. Until we each accept the
full responsibility of becoming strong enough to love, we will not be able to
share love. This means creating inner safety by learning how to love ourselves
and take responsibility for our own feelings, so that we are not constantly
trying to get love.
Most people have deep fears of rejection and abandonment, as well as of
domination and engulfment. These fears stem from childhood experiences and from
defining our worth externally through othersí approval, rather than internally
through spiritual eyes of truth. We will be unable to share our love to the
fullest extent until we heal these fears of loss of other and of loss of self.
We will be unable to create the safe relationship space in which to share love,
and a safe world in which to live, until we learn how to create safety within.
Inner Bonding is a profound process for healing our fears, creating safety
within, and for creating safe relationship spaces, spaces where each person
feels free to be fully themselves, to speak their truth and grow into their full
It is possible in all relationships to create loving connection. Family,
friends, co-workers, employers and employees, who are willing to learn the
skills necessary to heal the blocks to connection can all create safe
A relationship space is the environment in which the relationship is occurring.
It is the energy created by the two people involved. I think of this
environment, this relationship space, as an actual entity that both people are
responsible for creating. It can be a safe relationship space, which is open,
warm, light, and inviting, or it can be an unsafe relationship space, which is
hard, dark, unforgiving, and full of fear. The kind of environment in which our
relationship takes place is crucial to its success--or failure.
At the heart of all relationship issues is our intent. We are always choosing
our intent, but most people are unconscious of the fact that they are making a
choice each moment. At any given moment there are only two possible intents to
intent to avoid painful feelings and responsibility for them, through some form
of controlling behavior.
* The intent to learn about loving ourselves and others and take full
responsibility for our own feelings and behavior.
Every relationship has a system. The system may be open and loving, or
controlling and unloving. Relationship systems start surprisingly early,
sometimes within the first minutes or days of meeting.
A safe relationship space exists when two or more people intend to learn and are
willing to take full personal responsibility for their own feelings, while
accepting that their energy and behavior affects others. When both individuals
fully accept that they are a part of an energy system, i.e., they recognize that
each personís energy affects the other, and they are willing to take
responsibility both for their own controlling behavior and for their responses
to the controlling behavior of others, they create a safe relationship space.
Such a space is a circle of loving energy that results from each personís deep
desire to learn what is most loving to themselves and others. To create a safe
relationship space, all persons involved need to be deeply committed to learning
about their own controlling behavior, rather than focusing on what another is
doing. Rather than giving themselves up to avoid rejection or attempting to get
others to give themselves up to feel safe, each person is devoted to their own
and the otherís highest good, supporting themselves and each other in becoming
all they can be.
Many of us have spent a great deal of time in unsafe relationship spaces. In
fact, some of us have never experienced a safe relationship space because many,
if not most, of us have not learned to create a safe inner space by staying in a
loving Adult frame of mind when our fears are activated. When our fears of being
rejected, abandoned, engulfed and controlled are triggered, most of us
immediately retreat into our learned controlling behaviors. We may move our
focus into our minds to avoid our feelings; we may attack, blame, defend,
demand, explain, deny, judge, criticize, shut down, withdraw, resist, give in
and comply, placate, lie, become overly nice, and so on. Of course, the moment
we act out in controlling ways, our behavior may trigger anotherís fears of
being rejected or controlled, and that person may then react in controlling ways
as well, creating a vicious circle and an unsafe relationship space.
If, when these fears are activated, we focus on who is at fault or who started
it, we perpetuate an unsafe relationship space. Blaming another for our fears
(and for our own reactive, unloving behavior) makes the relationship space more
unsafe than ever. Then both people in the relationship end up feeling bad, each
of us believing that our pain is the result of the other personís behavior. We
feel victimized, helpless, stuck, and disconnected from our partner. We
desperately want the other person to see what they are doing that (we think) is
causing our pain. We think that if the other person only understands this, they
will change--and we exhaust ourselves trying to figure out how to make them
Over time, being in an unsafe relationship space creates distance between the
people involved. When we have not created a safe space in which to speak our
complete, heartfelt truth about ourselves, the joy between us gradually dies.
And the more we hold back our innermost feelings and experiences, the shallower
our connection becomes. Our intimacy crumbles.
In friendships, marriages, and work relationships, our joy, electricity, and
creativity get lost as we each give up parts of ourselves in an attempt to feel
safe. In romantic relationships, passion dries up. Superficiality, boredom,
fighting, and apathy take its place. We try valiantly to figure out what went
wrong. But too often we ask, "What am I doing wrong?" or "What are you doing
wrong?" rather than inquiring into the health of the relationship space itself.
Only when we look at the relationship space will we see what we are each doing
to create the unsafe space. The dual fears of losing the other through rejection
and losing ourselves through being swallowed up by the other are the underlying
cause of our unloving, reactive behavior. These fears are deeply rooted. They
cannot be healed or overcome by getting someone elseís love. On the contrary, we
must heal these fears before we can share love--give and receive love--with each
The key to doing this is learning how to create a safe inner space where we can
work with and overcome our fears of rejection and engulfment. This is a process,
not an event. Practicing the process of Inner Bonding gradually creates inner
safety as we learn to take personal responsibility for our own feelings and
behavior. Inner Bonding guides us in defining ourselves internally through the
eyes of our personal spiritual guidance, instead of externally through
performance, looks, and othersí approval. In addition, it provides us with a
clear process for conflict resolution that can be used in any relationship
difficulty. Instead of love eroding with time, love deepens daily, supporting
each person in the sacred journey of the soulís evolution.
Any two people who are willing to learn to create their own inner sense of
safety can also learn to create a safe relationship space where their intimacy
and passion will flourish and their love will endure.
Love & Power: Earthly vs.
Spiritual - Margaret