The preface from David Youngren’s new book, Awakening To I Am Love: How Finding Your True Self Transforms Your Wellbeing, Relationships, and What You Do.
The phrase I am Love can be both empowering and confusing. The words I and am identify who we are, which is inspiring, and gratifying. And no word is as mesmerizing, affectionate, and warm as love.
Yet to begin with I am, and then finish with love just doesn’t seem right. A more acceptable expression is either I am Loved or Love Yourself. But as we will explore in my book – Awakening To I Am Love, love is more than something you do to yourself when you are struggling, or experience when you look at your gorgeous wife or hunk of a boyfriend, or feel when you hold your baby in your arms. Love is the essence of who you are. It’s your true self.
And that matters because waking up to love within you not only transforms what you do; it transforms the way you live. It will improve your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, and enrich your relationships with your partner, family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. In fact, awakening to love within us is our shared path to a more peaceful, compassionate, and equitable new earth.
But I get it. It’s strange to define yourself as love (don’t try it at your next job interview). It’s much easier to create a label based on where you come from, your first name, your last name, your status, your career, your title(s), your hobbies, your income, your looks, your achievements, your education, your race, your sexuality, your gender, your nationality, your religion, your political affiliation, your family, your marital status, your age, and where you live.
In addition to the way these identity markers color our perceptions of ourselves, we have also been shaped by our experiences, traumas, and the beliefs of others. Somehow all of these ideas and inputs have been scrambled together in our subconscious and formed our sense of self.
The problem is that these unconscious concepts about our identity have left us wounded and fearful. That fear has entrenched itself in our thoughts, and has even been wired into our biological neural networks. Lost in the illusions of the mind, we have forgotten the essence of our being. We are like Sleeping Beauty: unconscious of who we are.
Through behavior modification, religious piety, and a lot of therapy sessions, we have tried to hide, ignore, or forget the fearful thoughts that produced our insecurities, shame, and guilt. But fear is intrusive and prevailing. It’s been impossible to silence.
It sabotages our careers, ends our relationships, and infects our children. It makes us obsess and overeat, hide and attack, drink and do drugs, control and ignore—anything to escape, if only for a moment, the nagging feeling that we are not enough the way we are.
Our behavior and actions stem from how we view ourselves. We act out who we believe ourselves to be. When fear hijacks the way we see ourselves, we feel less worthy. To cope with this inner confusion and chaos, we create a false self that we assume will restore our worth and value. This false self craves validation; it pines for acceptance and approval and dons a variety of masks to get it.
Each person’s masks are different, but they all serve the same purpose: to acquire love from an external source. We all want to be loved—first by our parents, then, if that fails, by our peers. We have lost touch with the dimension within us that is love, so we compensate by doing whatever we have to do to gain acceptance and love from the outside.
The less conscious we are of unconditional love already within us, the more dysfunctional we become. Darkness blankets our consciousness, and we respond with anger, anxiety, depression, obsession, bitterness, addiction, hatred, withdrawal, and jealousy. Fear itself becomes our private hell, and amidst our suffering, our minds demand some form of revenge. That is when we turn our fear outward and create hell for others through manipulation, control, abuse, greed, violence, murder, and even war.
This is why we must move past the fearful thinking that surrounds our true self, and awaken to the love that we are. Conscious of an inward witness of I am Love is the seed that bears the fruits of happiness, peace, compassion, kindness, and goodness in our lives.
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David Youngren is a philanthropist, author, and an international teacher (has spoken to more than one million people at live events), who inspires and guides spiritual seekers from every background to awaken to the wonder of who they are. Awakening To I Am Love is available at major online retailers. For more information, click here