Level 3: Co-Measurement

Co-Measurement is balancing Self Respect with Self Esteem. This opens an energetic flow between individuals where Autonomy can prevail. With Self Respect we can honor and value our potential. We can affirm our Life energy and Aliveness through Self Respect. With Self Esteem we can treasure how resourceful we have become to get where we are now. We can affirm our Light energy and Wisdom through Self Esteem. With both Self Respect and Esteem we can love our Self, taking us beyond personal fears and desires. This love is based on our Creative Nature, not our Personality programing or ego. The more we are balanced in Self Respect and Self Esteem, the less we will feel the desire to inappropriately rescue others. Instead we can differentiate what our lesson is from the lessons of others. This permits us to eliminate Co-Dependence and replace it with Co-Measurement.

While we possess the desire and urge to balance our needs with others, we need to experiment with our own boundaries to get it right. The Partners In Progress level encourages us to get better in balancing ourselves so our relationships with others can be more balanced. To accomplish this we need to be able to say No to the people we love the most. We learn to do this when the process of interacting with others actually diminishes our effectiveness or limits the greater good. To serve others, we must first serve ourselves, creating a key trade-off that goes into every Autonomous decision. Co-Measurement is the ability to say No when doing so would serve the greater good. It is also about honoring who we are and what we need, allowing us to continue to contribute to others. Many times, we forget that to continue to contribute we first need to take care of ourselves. Co-Measurement requires us to be Autonomous while searching for ways to support each other.

When we do not accept ourselves as having Self Respect and Self Esteem, we then seek others who will prove it to us. This is where rescuing others becomes inappropriate. In effect, we are making our lesson the lesson of others, which eventually they will come to resent. It is also an ineffective strategy for building friends and influencing people. The more we rescue people, the more they come to resent the fact that they needed to be rescued, and eventually will leave us because we remind them of their weakness. This is why we call this level ‘Partners in Process’. We ultimately need to find equal partners to be successful. This does not mean that we need to be the same, just that we have the same degree of Self Esteem and Self Respect as our partners. In this framework, there are no victims or superiors. We are simply partners.

We recognize that we are caught on Level 3 when we worry about what others think about us. This need to receive confirmation about how we are doing reflects a preoccupation with comparing ourselves to others. We constantly seek information about others so we can know if we are falling behind or leading them forward. Our self- perception of how we are doing is completely dependent on the people and groups with whom we associate. We are looking for as many possible reasons or justifications, making the case of why we are the best. We choose individuals and groups based on how they perceive us to make sure we are always considered winners in some way. This is driven by the fear that we will not have choices if we do not prove ourselves of value. We are also internally scared we will miss opportunities if we are not considered an asset to others.

We are managing expectations about how much good we can do. Some of us need adoration or attention to offset past disappointments. What we most want is to validate the reality of our growth and natural value. If we do not find it in one situation, we seek out other opportunities. As long as we identify with this comparison process, we experience anxiety. Superficially, we make associations between Anxiety and Goodness falsely believing it is helping us to be better people. What we do not realize is that it is only pushing us into greater struggles, as we seek to resolve the duality between the good we do and the good we would like to do but cannot. One core obstacle is the degree to which we want acknowledgement on our own terms.

Operationally, Idealization promotes a dichotomy between needing to be seen as good and feeling we are not good enough. We falsely believe there is a connection between feeling good and being good. When we feel bad, while doing good things, it does not make sense to us. We also do not know how to incorporate the experience when we feel good, but know that we are not being of service. When we cannot accept these differences, it creates a dissonance that we do not know how to respond to. This throws us into overwhelm, resulting in the inability to take action and general resistance to whatever others want to do.

This duality explains the difference between Idealizing others and Idealizing our Personality self. We Idealize others when we feel bad and believe we can help them by admiring or adoring them. This aspiration to embody the accomplishments of others can be uplifting. The problem is that it can defeat or distract us from following our own path. The more we Idealize others, the greater we feel compromised or limited in our passion. By taking the attention off of ourselves we avoid internal discounting. Another way this shows up is an amorphous desire or hope for everything to work out. While the desire to see the best in a situation is not bad, if we cannot see the bad as well, it is not good. This general projection of goodness occurs because we have not yet embraced our creative nature or committed to a specific contribution we wish to make. If we do this, the good and bad come into complete focus, and we are no longer concerned about making others feel better. Since we judge others to be better than us in this pattern, we believe they should get the credit that we desire. The more we defer to others, the less we actually do, encouraging us to think we cannot be a mover or shaker or bring the issues we want to light. As a result, we feel overshadowed and demoralized. This is why Idealization of others is an escape.

We feel pushed to find something, someone or some place where we can shine. We invest in people or groups that will appreciate an aspect of our Goodness or our ability to contribute. This gives us hope and we use any acknowledgement to build an Idealization about how we are impacting the world. This process encourages us to dream and to explore possibilities, but we frequently get caught up in trying to get others to believe in us when we do not yet believe in ourselves. The more we require others to defer to our Goodness, the more out of touch we become about the service or ideal we are trying to bring to the world. In effect, we become out of touch with our own heart’s desire by falsely believing that others should make our dreams come true. Self-idealization is why many become polarized and unable to work with others. People are reacting to their apparent arrogance, self-centeredness and paternalistic assumptions, which are typically grandiose and self important in nature. Most importantly, when an individual is caught up in an ideal, the ideal becomes bigger than who they are as a human being and they lose their natural connection to others. Until those of us in self Idealization wake up to our illusion that the world revolves around us and we attempt to be real with others, the people we attract are mainly going to be devotees, admirers and well wishers.

Many individuals eventually try to be in the middle between the two realms. When we are extremely sensitive to Emotions and/or Feminine Creative Expressions (Inventors, Compassionates, Visionaries), we vacillate between idealizing others and ourselves in small ways because we are repulsed, particularly by self-Idealization. It becomes hard for us to assert our Awareness or Creative Self and maintain our balance under adverse circumstances. We can recognize this when we always second-guess ourselves, doubting we have something to contribute. Some of us get caught in self-pity and end up vacillating between wanting to make a difference and feeling nothing we do ever makes a difference. What we need to do is let go of comparisons and recognize that we are on our own path, which does not need to be influenced by others in overt ways. Personality Detachment is the skill needed to build an internal sense of Autonomy by affirming our own process while still recognizing we can make a contribution to others that improve our ability to honor ourselves.

We can cut through Idealization with humility, openness, inner questioning and Personality Detachment. They key issue to address is the anxiety that causes Idealization to occur. We need to find ways to bring equality to all of our interactions. We need to see that different qualities can produce equal contributions under the right circumstances. Instead of judging others in terms of what we think is important, we need to let go of the possibility that our perspective is large enough to make this assessment. When we operate with others in a Common Neutral Ground relationship space, we become exposed to different ways of thinking, unique gifts and differences in perception based on a different emphasis on modality expression. By embracing the mystery of others we open ourselves to seeing possibilities that could not have been previously imagined. This allows us to focus on our mutual gifts so a new type of balance can be generated between us. This allows us to neutralize the final personality distortions around seeing ourselves as everything or nothing, based on how others respond to us. When this occurs, it encourages others to trust us, because we naturally demonstrate we are not using our influence in ways that take advantage of them.

People call Idealization a form of spiritual materialism because it imposes a competitive framework based on false perceptions of relative Goodness. Spiritual materialism is the personalization of goodness in a superficially fixed perception or idea. It is the Objectification of a spiritual principle into how it should appear. To simplify this, we come to believe the game is to prove how good we are, which is the scorecard used to validate our contribution. What we are not addressing is a lack of authentic congruence between who we are and how we present ourselves, which is the source of all Anxiety. Name-droppers use their associations with spiritual leaders as a way to prove their value in the world. In our experience, the need for credit, comparison and the pursuit of perfection, actually minimize any Goodness that occurs. This is especially true when we try to prove our path is the best, when all paths actually lead to the same place.

While it may not be apparent initially, everyone eventually learns to build connections with others so that they no longer need to compromise their own experiences. We need to understand that if we compromise ourselves it will inevitably lead to more compromise. On the other hand, if we speak up and honor our Truth, we develop greater capacity to resolve differences. We can be seen and loved for who we are, not for just our the good parts. At the same time, this process assists us in validating our own Truth so we can separate the real from the unreal. Not until we can clearly separate our experiences from others does it become obvious that many of our previous Beliefs were actually adopted from others. The basis of our self-confusion is that we are unable to differentiate what is accurate from what is not. This is why, at this Level, we get caught up in so many projections.

Relationships take on a new role at the third level. They become reflections of our own issues and lessons. Instead of creating safety and security blankets for others, we realize that relationships are the primary way we get support in the form of creative feedback from others. When we are not being responsible for the types of Truth we are communicating, we can get into trouble and overstep our bounds. It is also true that others may become reactive because we are not preemptively including their perspective in our own truth. It is good to stretch the boundaries of our partners, meaning it is not good to affirm that they are as limited as they think they are. These types of safety and security issues function like bicycle training wheels. If we are going to establish clear boundaries, hopefully it will be a temporary moratorium on not doing something that would trigger others. This allows us to regain our balance and re-cover our capacity to re-define our own safety and security requirements. Eventually, they should be able to affirm themselves and speak their own truth clearly, without needing us to prop them up.

In Level 3, we vacillate between sexuality and spirituality. We want a connection deeper to the earth, and yet remain connected to the dreams we have in the sky. Our Feelings and Emotions open us up to our feminine side, even if we have many masculine Creative Expressions. One indicator of this is being able to share our Intuition. When a partner can respond to our Intuition and trust our experience, it indicates a new level of connection. One of the primary ways we experience this deeper connection is through synchronized breathing or heartbeat. Intuitive bonding occurs when we can share our insights or perceptions without needing to justify or rationalize them. When either party can share their Intuitive knowing and the other partner respects and listens to it, it indicates that there is a greater creative alignment between the individuals.

When we are at the Partners in Process stage, we love talking about our dreams. At this stage, these aspirational statements are initially healthy to engage. They become unhealthy when we do not move forward. Some of us become preoccupied and attempt to recapture some of the magic that happened when we first thought of these things because it feels so good. Unfortunately, like any great addiction, we need to constantly commit ourselves to deepening into the possibility (like taking more of a drug) to continue to progress. Idealization is where we second-guess and doubt ourselves and never let ourselves manifest the dreams we have. In this way, we choose partners that reinforce the dreams, yet never shift into the next level to actually manifest them. Choosing a partner who is Idealized can keep us stuck in the past as they do not really want us to manifest our dreams because then what would they do? Unless both partners are actually making progress, it would create imbalance for one of them to break through.

When we identify with our ideals, we deny the full experience of our Passion. Passion is the commitment to fully engage our lives without holding anything back. It is not Excitement or Intensity or some combination of half-denied or half-compromised attractions. Passion is the experience of going beyond Roles, Pretenses and Defenses to creatively explore new possibilities with others. It uses Playfulness, Paradox and Participation to operate without a safety net. When there is no fallback position, we are fully committed to making the best of the situation. While this may seem rash, hasty and imprudent, it encourages us to be more resourceful, particularly in turning challenging situations into creative openings. The push to become a dreamer encourages us to be bold, inclusive and focus on what is possible. This is how and why we develop Skillful Means. Idealization is the result of projecting our beliefs on others, hoping they will see things our way. It violates our autonomy by seeking to limit their autonomy. It also limits the expression of intimacy by trying to conceal the expression of Passion. Examples of this in childhood include how parents used what we wanted to do as a way to get us to do what they wanted instead.

One of the biggest irritants at Level 3 is a self-perceived lack of fairness. Since we all have different versions of how the world should be, it challenges our sense of righteousness when others do not even attempt to make something right. Fairness becomes a way of knowing when a partner is the right partner or when they are incompatible with us. While some of this is bluster and generates self-importance, drama can emerge at this level. From our experience, drama is when we act out our pain and trauma without a connection to it. It is used to put others on notice that we are unhappy and they should get in line behind our vision (or there will be consequences!). This pattern is an emotional expansion of the intellectual bluster of Level 2. Some individuals telegraph and amplify their displeasure in a dramatic way to keep others from getting too close.

On a personal level, Idealization is a roller coaster where we are always trying to anticipate what will happen so we are not shocked when it does not happen. When we Idealize partners, we put them on a pedestal, only to be disillusioned by them when they do not meet our intentions. Then we are surprised when they do better than we expect because we had negative aspirations about them. As a result, our partners are always surprising us, even though we are try to stabilize our beliefs about them in relationship. The source of these imbalances is that we are not able to differentiate our lessons from theirs; we tend to amplify the things that would make them seem ideal partners and diminish them when they seem to have challenges we do not want to deal with. The problem is, this does not change our lessons because most of the time to grow we need to deal with the people who repulse us. It ends up that the people that we most get along with we have the least lessons in common, which means that we do not need to apply ourselves as much.

When we Idealize others, we project a polarization on them, which is the result of denying ourselves. Ironically, by entangling others in idealizations, we limit ourselves to ongoing comparisons with them. It is either an elevation of our selves over others, or others over ourselves. Over time, these comparisons become ingrained and accepted as normal. This is why questioning them becomes so explosive. Even our way of Thinking and Sensing become framed by our pre-conceptions of what we want and need to prove. As a result, we cannot see how our own judgments, rejection and resentment affect others. We are either envious or demonstrate scorn. At the least, we demonstrate indifference, faint-heartedness and disparagement. At the worst, indignation and despair. This is caused by our good intentions going awry, no matter how much effort we seem to put into it.

This allows us to hide our self-destructive nature by comparing ourselves to others. Each individual has their own path, lessons and capabilities that cannot be completely or accurately compared. The more we attempt to meet false standards or outer expectations of another, the more we are doomed to fail. This does not even begin to describe the corrupting influence such comparisons create. This attempt to live according to others’ standards tends to create resentment. Here we end up turning these standards around on them. The result is fanaticism and hypocrisy. It is also a blow when we discover that someone is not who we believed they were. In Idealization, we always start with the false premise that someone’s aspiration reflects who and what they are. This applies to us as well when we fixate on where we want to be in order to avoid being where we are. As long as we continue to avoid where we are, we deny the foundation of our being, minimizing growth. More importantly, we deny loving who we are creatively so we do not engage others openly.

Idealization is deadly because it assures us that everything is okay when it is not. When we Idealize, our glamour distorts our perspective and what we want to see or believe, predisposing us to see what we expect. The more we distract ourselves by dreaming about a better future, the more that future actually slips away. When we distance ourselves from our goal (ideal) by making it a long-term project, it provides the justification for why we cannot do anything in the moment. As a result, our Idealization is always about how our future should or should not be. We also Idealize people, falsely believing they are committed to the same things we are committed to. The trap is to make them equal partners before we even experience their contribution. Equality with us is a noble idea for partners who know each other’s contributions and have co-creatively worked together. When we Idealize others, we either give our partners, or ourselves, too much slack, sabotaging the process. While the relationship does not need to be completely balanced, equality of commitment and general action in support of a mutual plan is healthy.

Idealization creates mixed intentions, where we vacillate between wanting to make a difference and wanting others to make a difference for us. This type of drama shifts and changes as we become frustrated by the lack of progress toward our goals. What this reflects is that we are having a difficult time loving and accepting ourselves as we are, wanting only to focus on the positive or negative. At the core of Idealization is the Belief that we may not deserve what we really want in life. Therefore, we end up negotiating with the Universe to see what we can get out of it, if we are willing to work for it. In relationships, we are seeking partners who mirror our aspirations and intentions. This is usually accomplished by choosing people with similar Compatibility Factors. As we see incremental growth, we become more adept at choosing people with an additional similarity in each relationship. With each acknowledged similarity, we have a common point of connection, which allows us to operate more fluidly.

Anxiety is currently having a profound affect on our culture. According to anxietycentre.com, over 40 million adults between the ages of 18 and 54 are being treated for some sort of anxiety condition. Current estimates suggest the number may be as high as 30 percent of the U.S. population. While Higher Alignment focuses on stress reactions in relationships, the cumulative effect of stress is growing throughout society. Overall, Anxiety is the result of becoming more conscious about our own internal discontinuities and fears. While outwardly, we are concerned about what others think about us, inwardly, we are even more disconcerted by the internal blocks we have towards dealing with problems in our lives. Higher Alignment sees a direct relationship between not being able to confront our Objectification, Subjectification and Idealization issues and Anxiety. While many self-help books discuss the shadow side of human nature, they offer few concrete ways to address these issues. One problem is the complexity that comes from overlapping patterns and how it creates layers of awareness where we experience a general dis-ease. The benefit of exploring our shadow side is recognizing that what we are afraid to confront may be keeping us from embodying our Creative Nature. The more we ignore our shadow side, the more power it has to deceive us. Since the primary source of our shadow side patterns is our parents, Imprinting, Pretenses and Defenses can systematically identify shadow elements.

The problem with Idealization is that we become confused about where we are and how we need to take charge to make something happen. It is much easier to talk about living up to ideals rather than actually doing it. We can also be distracted by conversations about how to do it. These arguments distract us from taking any real action. The result is that nothing gets initiated and everyone delays doing what they can to make it happen. We become disillusioned when nothing happens. We fall out of interest in talking to our friends, partners and family members about the same old problems and ideas. We come to recognize that there is a general resistance to any improvement. This is true because most people are afraid of change and if they cannot see a safe way to change, they will not engage it.

When we are unconscious, anything that makes us uncomfortable is typically projected onto others around us. This is because we don’t want to deal with the dissonance or the anxiety of believing that things really are our responsibility. When others react to our projections, we believe that their reaction only confirms that they possess some limitation in this area. This creates many misconceptions that become fundamental defensive beliefs about what is true for our partners. We also take on and believe certain projections from our partners, whenever we feel more powerful by adopting them. This creates an overlap between our projections and the projections of our partner, which we seek to reconcile by negotiating or summarizing our perspective in a way that our partner cannot deny.  

In Partners in Process, we finally begin to notice when others are anxious. This does not mean we feel it, but instead we notice the sweat, red flushing of the face and the heavy stress indicators. As a result, we try to be nice partners and ask them about their experience. The result is something we wish we had not asked. The duality we are experiencing is between repressed Feelings and Emotions. Anxiety is the result of comparing ourselves to others, believing that their expectations of us should be the same as our expectations of us. In a world of many projections, this is not practical. It is just better to accept our own experience, not allowing it to be defined by others, no matter how much we love them. Otherwise, we are constantly at the effect of the needs of others and we end up over-reacting by either closing down or emotionally dumping on them.

We are only susceptible to projections because we are unable to distinguish our space from the space of others. A CNG minimizes projections because it allows us to imagine speaking from each of these spaces separately. This means that when I speak from my personal space, I naturally speak in a way where I take personal responsibility for the fact that this is my own perception, not a shared one or one that reflects another’s truth. For example, when I speak from my personal space, I can say, “It seems to me that a particular problem is occurring and I want to check with you to determine what you perceive in this situation.” This is very different from when we speak from a CNG space. An example would be, “I perceive in the Common Ground that we may have a difference between this issue and the other issue. What do you think about this?” Notice that the way we say this and the type of responsibility for different expressions is being clarified in the way we speak it.

As we become more conscious about our differences, it makes us more sensitive to our greater similarities. We become focused on finding greater Creative Alignment. We appreciate that our partners want to have a common understanding and not be locked into a different Defense. The full manifestation of this shift results in being attracted to similar Defense Style individuals. This eventually results in the desire to consciously merge so we can experience greater harmony and well-being. We also attempt to avoid the harshness of Level 2 by viewing ourselves as Creative, or Spiritual Beings. The more feminine Creative Intelligences we have, the more we want to see Goodness in our lives. If we do not breakthrough and accept our own, natural goodness, our default conditioning distorts our experience and goodness becomes a goal, duty or obligation. This can lead to greater unconscious, spiritual materialism. The more masculine Creative Intelligences we have, the more important our Truth is. Masculine expressions such as Implementer, Orchestrator or Investigator are more prone to Subjectification, where they push their truth on others.

One of the hidden indicators of the Personality Integration level (where we begin to seek out Authentic Creative connections) is Envy. Envy is the obsessive comparison of what we have versus what others have. Items of comparison could be appearance, success, relationships or even personal characteristics (values, humor, flexibility, etc.). These aspects provoke Envy when we have either not yet developed them within ourselves, or we feel we need them in order to be confident or capable. Underneath these outer assessments are the ways in which we anchor our own Passion, Participation and Engagement. When we feel limited or incomplete, it is because we have not balanced our Feelings and Emotions. The outer aspects of Envy are merely reflections of how we are either fragmented or unified in our self-perceptions. By neutralizing Envy, we develop a more holistic and self-affirming way to be present with others and ourselves.

It is false humility to share our selves in order to take care of others. It is false humility because we do not authentically want to support others as we are seeking their acknowledgement that we are superior. The more we fixate on our image at the cost of service, the less authentic we are. Frequently, we are confused about the differences between selfishness and selflessness. This is because we had parents who were overtly selfish, telling us to be selfless. The irony is, we cannot grow if we are denying ourselves. The more we internalize the Separative Desires of our parents, the more confusing it is when we are attempting to find our own path. Any compromise we make between our selves and others just increases our Anxiety. This indicates that we are trapped trying to help others without the tools to first help ourselves. If we find ourselves on a plane when there is explosive decompression, we must first put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we attempt to help others. The same is true with Goodness. Before we can be Good to others, we must first be Good to ourselves. In survival situations, we need to be selfish before we can be selfless, so that everyone can survive. Otherwise, we will collapse quickly and need additional caretaking by others. In our rush to be selfless, we miss the requirement that we must be internally balanced and externally responsive to both giving and receiving. Not receiving is not a badge of honor.

Personality Self-Rejection is breaking free of self-imposed rules and regulations about how we should be good based on the expectations of others. Any time we hold ourselves accountable to some standard of behavior that does not take into account what is really going on in the moment, Personality Self-Rejection Attractions emerge. Personality Self-Rejection can occur on Levels 1 to 3, but on the Partners in Process level it is particularly powerful because it is about perceptions of Goodness. When we outgrow the strait jacket of our need to be perfect, our conditioning strives to push us back into the boxes we initially established in childhood. As a result, we can become self destructive in our effort to break out of these ‘good’ restrictions. At best, it leads to increased self-criticism, at worst we need to destroy all the things we have worked on in an attempt to be more authentic.

On the positive side, this urge for authentic expression is good. On the negative side we tend to seek out individuals with self-image issues. This also means that if we are rebelling, we want a co-conspirator to rebel with or we want someone to complement our rebellion by telling us it is okay. Operating in a way where we cannot be true to ourselves, we tend to attract others who cannot be true to themselves. One indication that we are transcending this issue is our ability to accept a partner completely as they are, without attempting to fix them if they are expressing what we consider as bad. You may have realized that attempting to fix people only reinforces the problem.

Personality Self-Rejection shows up initially as stepping outside our boundaries, doing the unexpected, and discovering that it actually can help in unanticipated ways. Personality Self-Rejection is often tremendously repressed in the Partners in Process level. This Attraction is really about letting go of what repulses us. It is about wanting to destroy the limiting preconceptions of how to deal with an individual. Some of us go so far as to try to rebuild our image as a Bad Boy or Bad Girl so we do not have to live up to someone else’s idea of how good we should be. Until we find our natural Goodness, it is likely that we will swing back and forth between overdoing and under-doing the goodness; simultaneously trying not to upset our partner to the point that they reject us. The polar opposite attraction to Personality Self-Rejection is Self-Acceptance. Here it is important to tell our truth about how we want to be seen and integrate this internally. Otherwise, any attempt to live up to a false image further throws us into Personality Self-Rejection. In this space, we end up acting out this imbalance by doing overly dramatic things to prove our point or to get the attention of others that we did not receive earlier.

Learning The Meaning Of Love

In earlier levels, meaning is external, and taught to us. Many families and groups have explicit membership requirements or agreements about the expected behavior of participants. We are commonly defined in terms of what we should be, what we should want, and what we should need. This means we learn from the love others have or do not have for us. All the advice we received is based on Separative Desires, negating Fears, and attempts to personalize our understanding about how the world works. When we move into Level 3, we begin to appreciate what external beliefs make us happy, and those that will not. The more we are caught up in aspirations that do not motivate us, the more we are living the lives of our parents and previous mentors. We eventually come to a point where no matter how much we try the perspectives we were trained with cannot inspire us. This is the deepest stage of Idealization where everything becomes meaningless. We need to embrace the hopelessness of Idealization before we can reset the rebirth of love in our lives.

To heal Idealization, we need to go beyond outer expressions of love to being love. The main way we accomplish this is to accept our Creative Nature. Meaning that we begin to act, relate and actualize our Primary Creative Expression. Usually this requires operating not just in our ideas about how we are creative, but to really manifest or actualize our expression at Level 4 or above. As there are seven levels of actualization, Level 4 reflects how we have released our fears and are now shifting from Separative Desires to Transpersonal Desires. Compassion and service in our lives are good indications that we are making this transition. Unfortunately, there are many ways we can be trapped into externalized Attachments, Positions or Projections of love.

What this does is awaken us to the limitations of how we have engaged love in our lives. When we reset ourselves, the only thing that becomes meaningful is the actual experience of Radiant Self-Unifying Love. We emerge stronger when we learn how to nurture and validate what truly motivates us. The more we honor our Life Purpose, the clearer this self-love will become. The virtue of knowing what we are willing to die for clears our heads, and we no longer look for meaningless answers to life’s questions. Instead, we affirm what is meaningful to us so we map how our real Transpersonal Desires relate to the demonstrated desires of others. This keeps us from frustration when others cannot engage or follow through. Instead we take action and assume responsibility for our aspirations by engaging our heart. We quickly determine who is real and authentic, and who is not. We also can determine who has the capacity to grow with us and who does not. Idealizers count on others to make changes so they do not need to confront their own incongruences. They gather Adoration and Admiration by pushing or guiding others to make the change. They do this to look Good, not to be Good. In this way, Idealizers become obstacles to the changes they supposedly seek. This is why Idealizers are hypocrites.

One way of defining love is based on our needs, which we are defining as being driven by fear. If someone provides us Safety, they could believe they love us because they are providing for us. We could fall into the trap of believing that because they are providing for us, indicating that they care about us. This extends to Security issues. When someone provides for us through time, we imagine it as an ongoing demonstration of their commitment, therefore they must love us. Seeing love as something to prove is also an indication that we are dealing with love on the Subjectification level. On the other side of the chart, love can be about giving and receiving Pleasure, particularly when we are identifying love as a sexual expression. If we move up to the Subjectification level, this action is about demonstrations of Defensive Power that support us. Someone could take care of us or make sure we come to no harm by being directive with others. Ultimately, we start getting into real expressions of love the less they are positions and the more they are ways of interacting with each other, such as Passion. When we renounce external ways of taking care of each other, by making a commitment to be there for each other by attempting to be Co-Creative, equal and available in a whole new way, this is a more expansive expression of love than Safety or Security demonstration.

What we have not discussed is how Excitement, Intensity and Anxiety are artificial ways to feel connected to each other when there might be little or no real connection at all. As you may realize, Excitement is a solitary experience, and getting our partner Excited does not guarantee that they will love us. In fact, they could become very angry with us and not express themselves in their Excitement because it contains repressed fears. Intensity is also an internalized experience that provides little room for others to interact with us. Anxiety is also incredibly isolating because no matter what a partner says, we are comparing our self poorly to them. This is because we believe that we cannot change their perception of us and therefore we will forever be at the their effect. What this means is that loving, in these lower forms, is not as unifying as people anticipate.

The paradox is that we fall in love with the idea that others will heal us. It is our optimism and growing ability to identify bad partners that promotes this Idealism. What brings out our shadow side is the experience that others just want to blame us when things do not meet previous expectations. Our goodness, humility and caring only hide our anger and anxiety when our ideals are not met. Compromises in emotions and feelings get held until we cannot deal with the situation, and drama ensues. Initially, we seek alignment by choosing partners who have similar motivations, ideals and aspirations. What we are really seeking is someone to affirm us and reflect our values. Unfortunately, the outer representations of these values become more important than their essence. Until we clear out our Expectations and any false Motives, we cannot focus on our actual Authentic Life Expression.

One of the main ways we validate love is by exchanges of Protection, Direction and Support. If we feel protected or supported by a partner, we typically relax and feel good about having them in our life. What we do not appreciate is when a partner makes promises that turn out to be hollow and ineffective in their support. Typically, the more clear we are about what we need, and the more demanding our expectations, the greater the tension is produced, to the point where love becomes a full-out, Quid Pro Quo exchange of time, energy and effort. The more personality self-importance we have, the more demanding we become, and the less flexible we are in what we expect from them. Some would say that in this way, love becomes toxic. Usually this is because we have personalized love so that it becomes about how well they caretake us and in return, how well we caretake them.

While we will talk more about the true nature of love soon, most individuals get caught up in Attachments or Positions about love that limit their perceptions and growth. As long as we believe that sex and love are not completely available, we are caught up in scarcity and conditional love (Protective, Directive and Quid Pro Quo expressions). This can be validated by the degree to which we think we have to earn love or believe we are entitled to it in the way we want. As long as we associate love as providing safety, taking care of us, or affirming our aspirations, love can be marginalized. In the worst-case situations we can fall into addictive patterns where sex and love become the same. As a result, we become angry when our partners do not conform to our desires. Dr. Athena Staik has an article on love and addiction, which may be interesting to read.

While love can be amplified by personality perspectives it can also be overwhelmed by addictive imbalances.  Most will think that falling in love based on familiarity and the illusion of safety is all we need to worry about. Truthfully, this is only the most obvious addiction we act out. It takes greater insight to see the addiction involved in choosing the opposite attraction individuals. Until we choose partners with the same Defense style and awaken our creativity, we will usually not see any patterns of co-dependence. Even more subtle, is the enmeshment of shared visions. It is easier to first believe we have agreement with others, only to find out how much we were wrong. Idealization operates on mutual projections so we do not have to confront our own fears and inadequacies. This is why individuating our Self is critical in the second stage. Otherwise, we will not even see the addictions of Idealization. It is also the reason that co-dependence has a second life on Level 3.

When we shift into the Idealization of love, it becomes about how much our partner demonstrates their willingness to go beyond the norm and be outrageous in their pursuit of us. Infinite Love is a commitment to do whatever it takes to demonstrate our love. As you can tell from the title, it is very idealized. Eternal love is a commitment to be there forever and to constantly reassure our partner that they do not need to worry about us disappearing. We even Idealize service when we personalize it and need credit for how much we do for our partner on a day to day basis. A lot of times, this becomes a contest about who can do the most to prove that their love is greater than their partner’s love. Unfortunately, all these Idealized forms of love are unconscious ways of competing to prove how good we are relative to our partner, which is counter-productive in terms of having a good relationship. If we have to prove it this badly, it must not be real.

When we approach love from a Transpersonal perspective, it is not only healthy, but required for our progress. Love of our Personality self is isolating, defensive and positional. It leads to Anxiety and self-deception. Idealization is based on personality love and is repulsed by anyone affirming their authentic Creative Nature. This is the lesson of Level 3, where we make the transition from Personality love to a gracious gratitude of our ability to love everyone as they are. Making this experience real and meaningful moves us forward. Transpersonal love does not need any form of acknowledgement. In fact, requiring acknowledgment distracts us from providing true love to our partners. This is why we say that Radiant Self-Unifying Love is the most fulfilling type of expression. It is about the pure joy of contributing to another without the need for any acknowledgement or return on the investment. Until we embrace the fact that love is Transpersonal, and stop focusing it on individuals, we are not ready for fully conscious relationships.

We complete the healing of our Idealization when we no longer use love as a personality expression. This means that we do not get attached, positioned or project love onto a particular individual for the purpose of being affirmed ourselves. If we need this type of affirmation, we should be giving it to ourselves. It is one of the last major areas of incompletion before we move into fully conscious relationships. As long as we think we need a partner to complete us, we are not completely operating from Radiant Self-Unifying Love. While it is great to have a partner, we need to be able to love them in an expanded framework because they are connected to our environment. When a partner chooses to consciously interact with us, they do so through a CNG, which becomes a starting place for developing a larger connection. This connection knows no boundaries in energy, time or space. This means that they can be anywhere and we experience them to whatever degree we would like. This is Transpersonal love. Here we let go of any association of being physically present with each or not being present, and judging ourselves as being less supported because of it. This also releases us from thinking that we need this one person to be everything to us, when in fact, our partner is a mirror for more of our life than we even realize.

Authentic Love is a meditation with our higher Self. Everything we could say to others, we need to first say to ourselves to make sure we are complete and whole when we engage others. The more we can operate from our highest perceptions of ourselves, and the more integrated these perceptions are, the more powerful our sense of conscious presence will be with ourselves. While it is possible to personalize our love for our selves and others, it is not useful to get stuck in these personalizations. For example, we may see the outer beauty of another person and get attached to it, at the cost of not acknowledging their inner beauty. We can also love someone for their ability to tell their truth, while being repulsed by their defensive patterns. This repulsion could keep us from holding a higher possibility of loving them as they are. What we need to do is to affirm ourselves by honoring and loving ourselves completely, because our obstacles to love will become limitations in trying to love others. Dr. Athena Staik provides some good frameworks for stretching our inner sense of possibility so we can love ourselves more. Here is a link to her article, “Genuine Love” which summarizes True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh. Her second article on the topic, “Four Elements Of Love” discusses the elements of loving kindness, compassion, joy and freedom.

We will operate in the distortions of Idealization as long as we are unable to love ourselves. Self-nurturing is the capacity to be compassionate and take care of our selves on all levels. Any imbalances in our Modalities create defensive entanglements that will continue to irritate us as we become more sensitive in Level 3. Self Love allows us to see how we have mistreated ourselves, allowing us to be more compassionate with our Self. This is why it is so important to affirm how much we like and appreciate our natural creativity. When we can declare our contributions to the world, it allows us to show up as a true creative manifestation and that what we do matters. What makes this real is the personal meaning we assign to our life or to the people we serve. Without this level of embodied creative being, we cannot bring our personalities into account.

Making choices involves becoming more discriminating about the differences between how we serve the world and what we do to serve ourselves. While most individuals get caught up serving themselves, this limits the ability to see ourselves from a higher perspective. It prevents us from operating in our highest Creative Nature, so we can recognize what is important in terms of taking care of our personality needs. While on Level 2 we were balancing between our masculine and feminine, on Level 3 we are now balancing between our higher and lower expressions. Initially, we tend to go through a period of not taking care of our Personality, which is not helpful. We somehow believe that if we practice self-forgetfulness and do not take actions to be healthy, that somehow things will still work out. While this practice is useful to counterbalance exaggerated self-importance, we are identifying with our Personality. We eventually need to recognize that the balance comes from giving everything its due. If we are minimizing our reactions because we are becoming Transpersonal, then the personality considerations where we express our needs are not a barrier to being more creative. Instead, it is the best way to invest in our Self to increase our contributions to others.

One way to validate this is whether we are driven by our fears or desires (indicating conditioning). If Safety and Security issues consume the majority of our time, there is little or no investment in our Creative Nature. These are all indications that we are unable to love our Self because we think Love is external to us. If we step into our Creative Nature and love our ability to awaken possibilities in others, then we are on the right path to embracing the ability to love our Self. The more we invest, the more we can accept. This allows us to be compassionate not only with others, but with our Self. We then naturally seek to balance our Personality framework, which allows us to let this part of us express itself fully without taking anything away from our Creative Being.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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