You know those days when you’re feeling out of sync, out of balance or just plain withdrawn? Or what about the times you are annoyed, irritable or stressed? Do you know that this is not the way you were meant to be? Do you realize that peace and love always reside within you, waiting to be expressed? Yes, that is the “real” you, not the former. But somewhere along the road, you learned to be afraid and/or angry. Somewhere in your past, you were just programmed to believe that this is the way it is. You may have been young and not known the difference, but now you’re older, and guess what? There’s another way to look at yourself; another way to live and be.

Case in point: When I was younger, I grew up in a very demanding, dysfunctional family. There was a lot of bickering, competitiveness, and demanding energy, full of rules on how I was supposed to be, act and think. When I expressed my own opinion, I often received (differing) opinionated responses, criticism, or rejection. As a result, I grew up with much anger, low self-esteem and fearfulness.

Flash forward several years into my adulthood when I began my search to find inner peace and harmony with others. It started slowly, but as time passed, it picked up speed, especially as I began to realize that I had learned many untruths about myself, others and my world. As I unraveled the puzzle through investigation, I found myself on a joyous journey of rediscovering genuine truths regarding the nature of each of us. As a consequence of this, I was able to feel good again. Many of my angry, fearful, unsatisfying moments were converted into positive, rewarding and gratifying ones as I voyaged through the streets of new knowledge.

Throughout the past 32 years, as I’ve continued my search, one great certainty that I discovered was that each of us is made of “love energy.” It is the highest form of who we are, the only one that makes any sense to me now. That “love energy” is our foundation, our essence, and living without this knowledge and the ability to act on it, brings about pain and suffering to some degree, for each of us.

I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t, on some level, wish that they could give and receive love more freely. Even those that balk at the word “love,” know, on some level, the beauty of the word itself and the feeling evoked from expressing and receiving it. It is the number one subject of thousands of songs, poems and books; and it is the most talked about, thought about and desirable of human traits. We’ve even seen love stories at the movies involving the lives of hardened criminals and love stories in literature written about every kind of individual we can possibly imagine. We, as a human race, are obsessed with loving, for we know somewhere inside, its ability to bring us what we want – happiness, joy, peace and bliss.

So what is “love” all about and how can we experience it more of the time? As I see it, being in a state of “love” is about living with greater compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and patience in all that we do - for ourselves and for others. Notice that I included the way we treat ourselves in addition to the way we treat others.

Ok, now let’s cut to the quick. HOW do we do this? HOW do we bring out this love essence within? What if we don’t really believe it’s there? What if we’ve tried and can’t seem to access it for any great period of time? What if we’re still angry, wounded, scared or resistant? Please know that these are common human feelings, and there’s nothing wrong with them, except that they don’t really bring us the happiness that we want. So if you would really like to reside more of the time in this love essence, here are some tips to help you along the way.

1. If you don’t really believe that “love” is yours and everyone else’s essence, try keeping an open mind and be intent on proving it to yourself.

2. Look for good everywhere; inside of yourself, and within every person you see today. You can even write it down or keep a record of your findings on your computer. Make it your priority to practice this for 10 minutes each and every day. If you like the way you feel when you’re practicing, see if you can challenge yourself to do this more often.

3. Choose more often to see yourself through the eyes of compassion. Whenever you see something you don’t like about yourself, ask yourself why you might have this trait. Where might it have come from? Draw out the “loving parent” inside of you, as if you were a small child that needed to be understood, listened to and cared about.

4. Repeat #3 with someone with whom you have conflict.

5. Examine your beliefs. Do they make you happy? If not, then you know that you may believe something erroneous, for a “love-filled” belief will always bring about happiness and contentment. Work with one belief at a time. If it brings you any sort of negative feeling, toss it and adapt a new one that makes you feel good.

6. Find support from like-minded people who demonstrate the loving kind of behavior you would like to exhibit. Model yourself after them as much as possible.

7. When feeling resistant or angry, remind yourself that this is not the real you, just the you that you learned (or chose) to be because of past undesirable circumstances.

8. Know that one of your greatest Universal gifts is that of free choice. That means in any situation, you can “choose” to be loving and kind to yourself and to others. You just have to be aware and make that new choice instead of the old one.

Remember, be patient with yourself. You are on a journey of self-discovery, which takes time. Revel in each small victory along the way and know that in every effort you make to remember your “fundamental loving nature,” you are contributing significantly to the healing of our world.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Laurie Pappas, a writer, educator, counselor, trained mediator, speaker, writer and metaphysician, is the Co-Founder of the Metro Detroit Center for Attitudinal Healing, a non-profit organization, and directed the activities of the center for 16 years. She has also conducted spiritual/metaphysical, counseling sessions for 22 years. Dr. Pappas has taught classes and workshops, and trained personal growth group leaders during this period of time, in addition to having been a frequent columnist for PhenomeNews, a large Detroit metaphysical newspaper in the early nineties. She is presently a daily column blogger for the online version of the Body, Mind, Spirit Journal in Metro Detroit.

As a young adult, while Laurie worked in elementary education, she began her search for the underlying causes of disharmony and discord among school children. Several years later, community service work for the hungry and homeless brought her attention to the role that the mind plays in creating abundance or scarcity, peace or conflict. These experiences led her first to the field of Guidance and Counseling, and eventually to the study of Metaphysics, where she was able to obtain satisfying answers to her questions and workable solutions to many of life’s challenges.

In the spring of 2005, Laurie was program chairperson of the 7th Annual Conference on Nonviolence, Peace and Prosperity held in Detroit. She is a recipient of the 2005 International Peace Prize, 2005 Woman of the Year Award, Key of Success Award, and the 2011 Award of Excellence in the field of Spiritual/Metaphysical Counseling, bestowed by the United Cultural Convention of the United States of America for outstanding personal achievements to the good of society as a whole.

Dr. Pappas is the author of two books; The Loving Heart: Navigating the Journey from Conflict to Peace, and The Loving Heart Companion: An Interactive Journal.