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Love & Connection

What is unconditional love? (Blake D. Bauer)

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CJ Liu interviews author of “You were Not Born to Suffer” on self love and unconditional love. Blake D. Bauer explains why it’s so hard to give ourselves unconditional love? Blake Bauer shares his personal journey towards unconditional love.


  • 0:28 Why are our self destructive actions really a cry for help?
  • 2:30 What is the root cause of addictions?
  • 3:40 Why is it so hard to ask for help?
  • 5:24 How do you reach out and get help?
  • 9:30 When did Blake start re-examining his life choices and the “American dream”?
  • 14:05 What happens when you lose everything? Why is running away from yourself, your home a path towards suffering?
  • 18:44 How did Blake say “goodbye” to the traditional American dream?
  • 20:29 How has Blake handled a recent life transition?
  • 24:34 What is conditional love? How is it connected to guilt and shame?
  • 24:54 Why do all of us carry guilt, shame and low self esteem?
  • 25:33 Why our parent’s conditioning start our journey towards conditioned love?
  • 26:38 Why having children starts with a selfish act?
  • 27:26 What is the difference between unhealthy and healthy selfishness?
  • 27:57 What is self love?
  • 28:48 How does being a parent help us love ourselves?
  • 29:58 What is the root cause of our guilt and shame?
  • 30:53 What happens when our emotional needs aren’t met? Why we end up feeling guilty for asking to have our needs and wants met? Why we start believing that are mere presence in life is a burden?
  • 31:42 Why we start feeling unworthy? Why we start distancing ourselves from our inner world?
  • 32:20 Why our sense of lack creates even more desperation for finding love outside of ourselves?
  • 34:54 Why we begin to believe that conditional love is the only thing that will help us fill our own needs?
  • 35:12 How does conditional love continue generation after generation?
  • 36:44 Why do we live in our heads and not out of our hearts?
  • 38:49 How do we harm ourselves due to our inauthentic behavior?
  • 42:25 What is a spiritual bypass? How can meditation help us numb out?
  • 42:54 What is the difference between self love and indulgence?
  • 45:20 Why we run away from listening to our heart?
  • 46:09 Why our fear of the pain keeps us in our heads?
  • 49:08 What can give you strength to release your own fears?
  • 49:16 What gives you faith to go into the pain?
  • 50:32 Why suffering happens for a reason?
  • 52:17 Why everyday is a test of our faith in self love?

Except where noted all quotes from this blog post are pulled from: Bauer, B. D. (2012). You were not born to suffer: Love yourself back to inner peace, health, happiness & fulfillment. Place of publication not identified: Balboa Pr.


Blake D. Bauer describes in the interview that self love is about loving yourself unconditionally. Self love is about expressing your emotions, your needs, and your desires without manipulating or internalizing them. Blake explains that when we don’t allow ourselves to express our true nature and desires that we harm ourselves. Self love is not being afraid of and learning how to express what we want.


“The ultimate truth underneath our common collective judgments and resistance to loving ourselves unconditionally or to allowing others to love themselves unconditionally is that we’re all merely protecting ourselves from feeling emotional pain. More specifically, we all subconsciously fear what we do not love within ourselves, our lives and our past, because we fear feeling the emotional pain that we have created by relating to yourselves so aggressively, critically, self-destructively throughout our lives “ p xxxiii


“It is crucial for all of us to understand that our inner relationship with ourselves ultimately determines how we relate to everyone and everything in the world around us. If our relationship with ourselves is unconscious, unhealthy, or destructive, then our relationship to other people and to all life with undoubtedly be unconscious, unhealthy, and destructive as well.” pxxxiv


“Our conditional love for ourselves is generally rooted in deep feelings, thoughts, and limiting beliefs around not being “enough” or “worthy of love” just as we are, which leaves many of us feeling we must always be more, do more, or have more to finally be loveable to ourselves and to others(conditional love)” p98.

“Because the larger majority of us remain unaware of this (conditional love), however, we’re still creating our lives from a mind-set of lack, unworthiness, and inadequacy. We constantly compromise and hurt ourselves for the love of other people, always trying to please them and keep them happy because we mistakenly believe this is still the only way to survive or get by. Meanwhile, our true needs, desires, and dreams continually get ignored because we don’t think or feel that we’re lovable, deserving, or worthy of having what we genuinely value or envisage for ourselves” p99.

“When we look closely at our relationship with ourselves we will see that most of us live in a way where we only love ourselves “if” and “when” we meet certain conditions that we’ve created for ourselves and then projected onto some distant future or some long-gone past.
I will love myself “if” I’m in a loving relationship.
I will love myself “when” I become successful.
I will love myself “if” I lose weight.
I will love myself “when” I make more money.” p96

“Because most of us never learned how to love ourselves unconditionally, just the way we are, we constantly look to a fantasy reality in the future where we think we’ll be more loveable, more deserving of love, or more able to love ourselves than we do right now.” p97


“We have to begin to love ourselves here and now first in order to create, accomplish, and find what we desire most in life. Looking to the future in order to lose ourselves more in the present will never help us love what we have not been able to love already within ourselves, our lives, or our past.” p97

“When we believe that we’ll only be loveable “if” and “when we meet certain conditions that are not present here and now, we’re in effect giving our peace, happiness, and fulfillment away to these external conditions, which always translates into not being at peace, happy, or satisfied now”. p99

“We’re always led back to mastering life’s most important lesson- that is, loving ourselves in the present moment regardless of where we are, what we’ve done, or where we want to go”. P100.



The root-cause of guilt, fear and self-doubt that so many of us are far too familiar with goes back to our conception, our time in mom’s womb, and our early childhood. Think back to what life might have been like for your mother and father when they made love, or had sex, and thus created you.

In my own experience as the child of another person, and now having worked with thousands of people who are both children as well as parents themselves, it has become very obvious to me that most people and couples are stressed, spread thin, confused and scared at the stage in life when they find themselves pregnant. Some people are aware of this inner dynamic within them, while others are very good at repressing what they feel and thus carry on as though everything is ok, when in reality there’s quite a bit of inner turmoil present.

The relevance of this fact comes into play when we stop to consider that we not only absorb everything that mom eats and drinks while she is pregnant, but we also inherit everything she believes, thinks, feels and experiences in her environment. If mom is insecure, then we will most like be born with insecurities alive within us. Likewise, if mom is confident, we will most likely feel this way too.

The bridge between this fact and why we make ourselves wrong so much is that most of our parents felt, whether it was expressed openly or not, that having children was a huge sacrifice or burden. If you reflect back on your own childhood and then fast-forward to today, and you contemplate your relationship to your own parents, some who read this will recognize that they have always felt that they were a problem for their parents. Your needs, feelings, desires and innocent imaginings were not welcomed and supported, but rather rejected and overlooked constantly.

Others will understand this fact but not feel this was the case all the time, for which I would be very thankful.

But for those of us who did feel as though we were a burden or were blatantly unwanted, we then develop this deep subconscious insecurity whereby we feel that our life itself is a problem. We tend to feel guilt just for existing, let alone for having feelings, needs, desires and dreams beyond just physical survival.

Because we depend on mom and dad as vulnerable children, even if they are not healthy for us to be around, we learn to fear losing their love and support. Although we cannot articulate it, we feel in our heart and body that we are a problem – especially when they are short, aggressive, reactive, or completely absent.

At a very early age we are either made wrong by our parents (or teachers) or we learn to make ourselves wrong for feeling what we feel, for needing what we need, for wanting what we want, or for dreaming what we dream. In other words, we learn to feel guilty merely for existing, because the hard truth is that all of our parents had us for very selfish reasons and most of them had no idea what raising children would require, nor were they ready for the responsibility.

Practically speaking, in the aim of using this insight to improve our quality of life now, it’s important to understand that we developed an unhealthy relationship to ourselves where we now, as adults, make our own feelings, needs, desires and dreams wrong in exchange for the unhealthy and conditional love, approval, acceptance or support of others, as a result of our childhood.

Many of us subconsciously fear being rejected and abandoned as adults because we feared being rejected and abandoned as children. We feel bad for existing and further for wanting to be healthy, happy and loved wholeheartedly, because we felt like our presence was a problem to the people who birthed us, raised us, and whose love, acceptance and support we wanted most.

This dynamic in our early lives also gave birth to our deepest insecurities whereby we became accustomed to ‘crumbs’ of love, attention and affection, which we then feared losing. For many this is all we’ve ever known. Because as children most of us only received a small percentage of the love and support we needed, today we subconsciously settle for less love and respect than we need and crave, until we realize that we deserve better. Every adult human being looks to others, often self-destructively, for whatever they did not get as children – until we learn how to give ourselves this love through accepting, honoring and valuing ourselves in the present.

Understanding this deep block that keeps so many of us stuck, miserable and sick is key to overcoming it because once we’re truly aware of this dynamic we can never forget it completely.
Living a life of service to humanity is undoubtedly an evolved way of life that we’re all ultimately heading toward; however, too many of us unconsciously try to lose ourselves in other people’s needs, desires, and problems before we’ve actually healed our own internal conflicts and unresolved emotional pain.



If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see that many of us use spirituality and religion as a means to escape or avoid what’s really going on in our own lives. In many cases, we believe we’re helping other people without self-interest when in reality we’re unconsciously trying to lose ourselves in the desires, needs, and troubles of other people just so we don’t have to look at ourselves or our own lives honestly.

In reaction to not loving all of who we are, many of us unconsciously try to lose ourselves and distract ourselves from the self, the past, and the life that we do not love. We often try to be “selfless,” “spiritual,” “religious,” “good,” or “holy” because deep down we’re not at peace, happy, or satisfied, and we mistakenly believe that our inner battles will just go away if we simply divert ourselves from them.

Viewing ourselves from this perspective, it becomes very clear that selfishly cultivating unconditional love, kindness, and compassion for ourselves is the only way to meet the world and serve the world consciously and genuinely, essentially because we can only give what we actually have to give.

If we do not have a conscious, kind, and self-aware relationship with ourselves that is based on unconditional love, then we cannot truly be loving, kind, and compassionate toward other people without resenting what we give or do for them.

When we unconsciously focus on other people’s problems or needs in an attempt to avoid our own struggles we not only cause ourselves and the world more pain, but we also betray the purpose for which we were born. As we selfishly heal our psychological, emotional, and physical pain and thus grow in love for ourselves, however, we truly do become a pure source of selfless love in the world.




Blake D. Bauer is an internationally recognized author, counselor , and alternative medicine practitioner. His bestselling book You Were Not Born To Suffer and pioneering work center on loving yourself unconditionally as the key to healing yourself, fulfilling your life’s purpose, and realizing your full potential both personally and professionally.

Based on his training with spiritual teachers, healers, and masters from all over the world, Blake teaches various forms of meditation, qi gong, qi gong energy medicine, and dao yin (a health and longevity yoga). Blake’s formal education includes traditional Chinese medicine, five-element Chinese medicine, nutritional medicine, herbal healing, psychology, past life regression therapy-hypnosis, and various other forms of traditional healing and alternative medicine.

Bringing together what he has found to be the most effective spiritual practices and holistic approaches to health and wellbeing, Blake’s work and teachings have successfully guided thousands of people internationally toward greater psychological, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual freedom.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois in the USA, Blake now shares his time between the US, the UK and Australia.