By Bob Mueller

“When you learn to feel lovingly connected on the inside, you’ll find it much easier to forge a bond with others.”

Something wonderful has happened to me. I think it’s a combination of my age, my ministry, my writing, and my work with hospice. Every day I receive a large volume of email feedback through my websites. And every day I receive phone calls and voicemails. Due to the large volume of personal information I’ve shared, many consider me a close friend because they know so much about me, so they write to me from the perspective that we already share a bond of love.

In their very first message to me, many people will tell me things about themselves they won’t even share with their spouses. In their minds, they’ve already experienced such a strong communion with me over a period of months or years that they feel comfortable discussing their most private matters. Of course I do my best to honor such connections in the loving spirit in which they’re offered.

True communion is the deep sense of bonding that gives rise to the emotional side of love. It’s the delicious feeling of completeness that comes from sharing our true selves.

Consider your relationship with another person. Where does it actually exist? It doesn’t exist anywhere in the external world. You can’t simply point to it and say, “That’s our relationship right there.” It lives purely within your thoughts. Consequently, your connection with another person is whatever you think it is. Your belief makes the relationship real. If you cease to believe in it, then for all practical purposes, it no longer exists. The physical residue may remain, such as a particular living arrangement, but the true human connection will have been lost.

When you understand that there’s no such thing as an external relationship and that all such connections exist solely in your mind, you’ll become aware that the true purpose of relationships is self-exploration. Whenever you communicate in any fashion, you are in truth exploring different aspects of yourself. When you feel a deep sense of communion with another person, you’re actually connecting deeply with an important part of yourself. By communicating with others, you learn to love yourself more fully.

Instead of opening with shallow small talk, people begin conversations with me by immediately diving into issues of great importance to them. The more I commune with myself on the inside, the deeper my relationships with others become. Today, my life overflows with opportunities for profound human connection. Over the years, I’ve seen abundant evidence that our relationships with other people always reflect our internal relationships with various parts of ourselves. If you have trouble connecting with people on the outside, it may be because you aren’t communing with yourself on the inside. When you learn to feel lovingly connected on the inside, you’ll find it much easier to forge a bond with others.

The good news is that when you understand that all relationships are internal, you can consciously change how you represent them to yourself and thereby change their outward manifestation as well. If you feel disconnected with your true self, you can expect your interpersonal relationships to suffer from disconnection as well. If you want your human relationships to be more loving and accepting, you must learn to love and accept more aspects of yourself.

Loving yourself unconditionally is the result of a conscious choice. You’re free to make this choice in every moment of every day. You don’t need to fulfill any conditions or satisfy any rules. But in order to make this choice consciously, you must get to know yourself. No matter what hidden qualities you discover, you’re still worthy of love.

Bob Mueller is the vice president of Development at Hosparus.

Have you found this to be true in your experiences and how you feel about yourself? Tell us what you think.