For many, many years, I limited the freeing experience of love because I was more committed to holding on to my sorrow and anger. I had been abused and I figured my anger was justified, so I held on to it, fed it and used it as a weapon whenever people disappointed me with even a hairline fracture of abusiveness in their demeanor or voice.

I fought for my right to be hurt and angry, and as I result I was miserable. I blamed others for my discontent, without it ever occurring to me that I was the cause of my own misery. When I finally did figure out that my experience of life was my responsibility, I turned the blame inward, justifying a deep-seated belief that I was completely unworthy to enjoy the life I wanted.

It took a long time for me to finally stop blaming others, myself, God or the world for how unhappy I felt most of the time. To allow an event to occur without blaming anyone was one of my earliest goals in honest self-responsibility.

This became particularly challenging when someone (myself or another) was actually responsible for an uncomfortable or difficult event. I didn’t understand you could hold someone else or yourself accountable without blaming. This is something I cover in greater detail in my book, The Root of All Healing: 7 Steps to Healing Anything.

Blaming includes a good dose of judgment, and it is the condemning judgment of another that causes us to break faith with our own hearts. But the heart has the capacity to hold ourselves and others in tremendous compassion, while also holding ourselves and others accountable for our actions. The key is to drop the condemnation.

We have the capacity to hold a great deal more in compassion than we often realize we can. This has become a consistent discovery at our annual Women’s Retreat, where we spend a weekend immersing ourselves in our capacity to discover deeper compassion for ourselves and others.

The more we can hold in love; the more free we become.

What do I mean by freedom? Imagine how much more happy you would feel every day if you were not blaming yourself and others. Imagine how good life would be if you could be compassionate with the people around you without surrendering boundaries that are healthy for you. What would it be like if you could express your opinions and desires without expectation that others feel the same way or make the same choices as you?

We create all kinds of limits to the full experience of love in our attempt to control others so that we will feel more comfortable or in the judgments we place. Intimacy can’t grow in an environment of condemnation. Nor can it grow in an environment where we do not feel seen, heard or recognized as who we truly are. Neither you nor the people you love can experience true intimacy in a reality where someone is constantly making you wrong.

Intimacy emerges in safety. In order to create that safety, compassion is required. The greater your capacity to hold yourself and others in compassion, the greater your capacity to experience the freedom that love gives us.

The freedom is wonderful, when you can make choices for yourself that expand your opportunities for intimacy. You feel free when you can love another without expectations about what they should or shouldn’t do—when you aren’t expecting a specific person to meet your needs. You experience tremendous freedom when you love yourself simply as you are, without any expectation to change.

In acceptance, you experience the depth and expansiveness of your love. You also gain clarity about what choices you need to make in order to continue experiencing that free and expansive state of love.

Your capacity to hold love is enormous. And most of us have only scratched the surface. If you think you love greatly, perhaps you would like to challenge yourself to hold even more. After all, in the Sacred Feminine way, the capacity to hold in love is limitless. That is why, the more you can hold in love, the more free you become.