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Our Barriers to Love: Monday's Mindful Quote from Rumi

There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Rumi:

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

A couple weeks ago I wrote the post Moving Past Avoidance: Monday’s Mindful Quote with Helen Keller, which talks about being able to move toward the things in life we are avoiding as a potential path toward creating real change.

I think we’d be pretty hard pressed to find someone on this planet who at the core didn’t want to be loved. But Rumi’s words point us in the direction of not looking outside of ourselves for love, but within to the barriers for love. Why? Because I imagine he believes that love is all around us if we are open to it.

Whether you believe this or not, for most (if not all) of us, we have built up barriers to love because we have been hurt by love’s departure or absence in the past. Maybe we were just babies when we first felt the disconnection and made an unconscious pact to not feel that pain again. Or maybe it was emotional or physical abuse that led to the distrust of love. Could it have been the loss of a significant relationship in your life that you swore you would never love that much again because the fall is too traumatic?

We can take this a step further. What stops us on a day-to-day basis from relating to ourselves with love?

Maybe there are thoughts of worthlessness or deficiency? Perhaps there are feelings of shame that drive the unconscious or conscious thoughts that we’re simply not worthy of love, even our own. Self-judgments run rampant here.

It’s just so clear how hateful and violent we can be with ourselves. This negative self-talk is a huge barrier we built against experiencing the love. In fact, going up in our heads is probably the number one barrier we build against feeling emotions in general.

This week, do a little experiment with yourself. Make a conscious effort to see how you talk to yourself. How often are you kind? How often are you self-judging? Is there a way you can be more compassionate with the way you talk to yourself?

Make a mental note these events in your mind.

As always, please share “your thoughts,” stories, and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Our Barriers to Love: Monday's Mindful Quote from Rumi

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2010). Our Barriers to Love: Monday's Mindful Quote from Rumi. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Feb 2010
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