Loving Ourselves Out of Harshness

Have you ever been absolutely convinced of something to later find out you were wrong? I sure have. Recently, I discovered just how deeply I could miss the mark. In my zeal to wrestle humanity free of hatred, I’d taken on some of its harshness in the fight. We often become what we fight against. Every good activist must know how to overcome this obstacle. That’s one of the features that made Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela truly great. They understood we must not hate our opposition. We must understand them to effectively make change.

It’s my understanding that we’ve all been traumatized by the cruelty in this world. We might have experienced it in our family, at school, in our religious institutions, or at work. My personal story of trauma involves being lost in a cult for over 18 years, one that focused on emotional processing. The leader used subtle judgments and criticism in his attempt to make me into a carbon copy of him. The beauty, of getting lost in a cult and liberating myself from it, is that is how I’ve awakened to my life purpose. I’ve told the story many times before; but, I didn’t realize how deeply some of the trauma from this experience still lived on inside of me.

Seeds of Unconsciousness

We all possess the seeds of unconsciousness and cruelty inside of us. I am not unique in the mistakes I’ve made. We all get blinded by our egos sometimes. We all experience trauma, and we often pass it on to those around us accidentally. Parenting is the most obvious example of this. It is nearly impossible to not pass on some of our own traumatic experiences at the hands of our own parents. Sometimes we do the very same thing our parents did and other times we swing too far off course, trying not to do the thing they did. In the path of evolution, we are constantly learning about mistakes we made and actions we would now do differently. If it wasn’t this way, we simply would not be learning and growing. If personal growth is what we seek, we must love and forgive ourselves– mistakes and all. 

Who’s Unconsciousness is This Anyway?

One of the gifts of being in the cult is my extremely well developed perception of divisive energy. I can sense judgments in very subtle forms. Since getting out, I’ve expected everyone I relate with to wake up at the pace I had awoken to about the effects of divisive energy. This led me to be too harsh in my approach. My ex-fiance received the brunt of this harshness. My friends, colleagues, and mentees also experienced some of this harshness. 

I discovered how deeply subtle cruelty and evil had come into nearly every interaction. I was so focused on stamping out this subtle cruelty, I didn’t realize I was carrying some of it in my zeal. The direction of learning how to catch and change subtle cruelty is really a beautiful thing. Every time I was catching it, I believe I’ve been accurately picking up on unconscious energy in the other person. Yet, the intensity in which I attacked it was often my own. Ultimately, I felt that if they were not able to see it and receive it, then it rested with me to take action against it. I wanted (and still want) my message to be able to reach people. Yet, in my desire to love without any conditions and be as fierce as possible, I’ve alienated some of the people I love most. The pain of realizing this awakened and opened my heart. When I don’t collapse in guilt and love myself through the pain, then I’m truly loving myself unconditionally.

The Blindness of Unprocessed Trauma

In my blindness from the trauma I had experienced, I was unconsciously afraid of re-experiencing the past trauma. Reactivity and anger were functioning as my protectors to prevent any further abuse from happening. I thought it was righteous or sacred rage. In some ways it was. I was picking up on subtle judgments in others. There was also unprocessed trauma embedded in the way I was driven to confront people on their stuff. I wasn’t aware of this for a long time. I believed even if there was unprocessed trauma in sacred rage, I’m still just expressing my feelings and they need to be honored. In this way, I brushed off some of the constructive feedback I had received around this. 

Looking back on it, I see how I was blind to my own issue. I even said that I will blindly follow my heart. Now I know blindness is not the path for me. I will continue to follow my heart – with my eyes open – checking for unprocessed trauma and anything else I might be missing as I grow and learn.

Learning by Experience

It’s essential that we all learn to bear the full consequences of unconsciousness. Unconditional love is only unconditional when we find and remove the conditions so our love can flow. I have had to experience the fires of failure to know how to mend my ways. It is in finding deep compassion for our wounding that we can understand others. When we know the depths of our own wounding and unconsciousness, our love opens for ourselves and others. When we hear the wisdom of experience whisper in our ears all the hidden messages that were buried in the trauma, we can then truly heal.

The Key of Softness

I first remember the words from “The Last Invocation,” Walt Whitman’s poem:  “With the key of softness unlock the locks– with a whisper.” I have gotten intuitive messages time and time again that my path to wisdom involves learning to soften. I didn’t realize how fully I would need to soften in order to truly realize my mission. Softness is the way for me. I cannot rest only in sacred anger. When the truth found through sacred anger is expressed with the softness of unconditional love, then we have a truly universal message.

Universal Message

In order to create a world that works for everyone, the mission of HCR, we must find a way to communicate in a way that lands for many. Using reactivity in our communication is not going to universally reach people. People respond best to a palpable sense of peace. I wrote about this in The Truth About Emotional Regulation, but I simply wasn’t yet embodying it.  When we are centered and regulated in our nervous system, only then can we find a way to speak with everyone. When unconsciousness is present, it’s good to point it out calmly and help others into understanding what has been going on. 

The heart is meant to be the center of our being. By centering in our heart we naturally become calm and able to handle anything life brings us. When we place our awareness in our heart, we can feel both ourselves and the other. This is the ideal place from which to live and love. The heart is empathic. Through centering our awareness in our heart, we can sense our connection with all of our relations.

Softening Through Pain

On the path of truth and love we will all err. I feel deep sorrow for the pain I’ve caused out of my unconsciousness. I know hurt inside acts out when it is not loved. I’m bound in the human pattern, as we all are, of acting unconsciously. I was following what I believed to be the truth of my heart in the moment. Now I know there is another way, a better way. There’s a gentler way which still stays true to the heart. The better way is to demonstrate unconditional love energetically, so people can experience the felt sense of the love in the field. When the harshness leads, many can not feel the love that is there underneath. I thought people would better understand where I was coming from without me having to explain it all to them. I thought I could speak in my native language of poetic, energetic metaphors. Now I understand that I must speak in a language that is natural for others to receive. I must also find the vibration of peace and love which matches with the message.

Pride Turns to Humility

My pride was most defined by my need to be right and prove my points. I believed I was right – beyond any certainty or doubt. I believed, in time, others would understand where I was coming from. Now I see that the truth needs no proof. Taking on the defender-of-truth role only alienates me from those around me. We are all centers of truth who have blinders partially on. When we recognize our own blinders, only then can we open into the light of love. The narcissistic tendency I was perceiving from was believing I was right and everyone else was wrong. 

As I recognize my pride and forgive myself, I feel the openness of humility return. I remember that everyone I come in contact with is my teacher, as aware as I am of certain things. There’s so much more I do not know than what I know. The openness of my heart returns as I embrace the humility which comes from falsely following pride. 

The Necessity for Firmness

Truth is under attack in our modern world. You can see this in politics, business, and everyday social interactions. Being honest and authentic is a rare virtue in these times. Going through this phase of harshness helped me to find my true firmness, backbone, and moral compass. The commitment I found to be able to say anything and do anything, in the service of love,  has helped me to learn and grow. I was not aware I was carrying some of the energy of the abuse in my fierceness. Realizing this, I’m learning to process through this trauma and accept this deeper layer of vulnerability.

Now I can soften from here with integrity. I regret some of what I said and did to find this compass. My way has been to say everything I feel, in the moment that I feel it. Everything I said was the truth as I saw it at the time. With wisdom and hindsight, I can see that sometimes more patience would have served the whole situation better. I feel the pain I’ve caused in others with my unconsciousness. I forgive myself for my learning journey. I notice the places where I’m tempted to beat myself up. Instead of doing that, I accept and embrace myself as I am today. And, I hope that all my friends who I’ve been estranged from through this process will one day come back and we can be in connection again.

Sacred Rage and Truth

When the truth is being denied, sacred anger and rage still has a place. There are a lot of lies in the world and so many people have taken a stand against the truth. I was communicating with the energy of anger to try to prove the truth. Since the truth needs no proof, we can use the anger to find the ground to stand and we don’t need to come from the anger when we communicate unless this intensity is called for by the field. 

We typically don’t need to prove we are right. Since the truth can stand for itself, eventually those who are turning away from the truth will understand one day. There’s a time to speak passionately as Greta Thunburg embodied when she told the leaders of the world “How Dare you” for how they failed to respond to the threat of climate change. There’s nothing wrong with anger and rage as an expression. It’s simply a way to communicate certain messages and not others. 

Unconditional Love

Every message must be steeped in the heart with unconditional love. Every message must be at the vibration of love for all of those around it to truly open the heart. We can hold certain boundaries; but we must rest in loving acceptance of where the other is. Even when our worldviews are diametrically opposing, we can return to a neutral position. We do not judge the other, force or coerce our perspective. We simply hold the truth in our hearts and let them have their sense of reality. When we fight with where people actually are, in an attempt to awaken them to their potential, it is generally a losing battle and a waste of energy. Fighting against where people currently are in the interest of their potential can negate unconditional love. It is not fully loving to love someone’s potential over who and where they are in the present. 

Every individual must choose to awaken in their own time and their own way to the truth of their being. Unconditional love loves everyone, just as they are today. It showers both sinners and saints with love. Not just when the sinners come around. It showers all people with love for who they are and where they are today. This goodness lives inside everyone. When we relate to the goodness inside of everyone, we can love them unconditionally, even if they are not embodying it currently. 


When I first realized how unconscious I had been, I started beating myself up for being unconscious. It’s like being a 5th grader and thinking you’re a big kid, and then in high school you realize how little you really knew. It can be easy to stop growing once you become an adult and figure out how to care for your basic needs. Continuously growing, maturing, and gaining consciousness is not an easy path. 

I know I must accept myself and my path. I seek to practice the forgiveness I preach with others and treat myself with the softness and love I want to share with others. I want to offer this article as a testimony to my learning process. I’m sure there’s a lot more I’m unconscious of and one day I’ll know that too. I love myself to the best of my abilities right now. I have shame, fears, and doubts. I question my abilities to fulfill my destiny and mission. And, here I am showing up to the experience with my heart open. May you feel the fullness of my love as I learn to love myself into this new found place of softness.

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