In all encounters with people, you have basically two ways of relating. Either you will give love, or you will withhold love. When you give love, you are in alignment with the Golden Rule, and recognize that the only strategy that will work without hurting yourself is to love the person. In so doing, you become empowered by that love, become invulnerable to attack, and gain a boost in confidence due to the absence of fear that it induces. This is a natural "extension" of love and is the healthy way to relate to people. To teach only love.
But learning to be this way and to do this, in actual encounters, is not always easy and for me used to be far from what I thought would "work". For a large portion of my life I was extremely painfully shy, socially anxious, and really not liking people in general. There was so much fear and worry about interacting, and everyone seemed to be a powerful stranger. It was a very isolated and lonely state of being, very fragile, weak and filled with suffering. I would people please all the time and never felt seen or acknowledged, as if I had no right to be equal to anyone.
Usually my way of dealing with people was to shut them out, avoid them, deny them, and try to escape them. They all seemed to be threatening and I was very dis-empowered. I lacked confidence and felt insecure all the time. I dreaded social situations and when I was forced into them it was excruciating. My perception of and belief that everyone was judging me made me profoundly embarrassed and this inflicted the most horrendously negative, deep emotional pain, not because they actually judged but because I believed they were. I had no idea what I was doing to myself. What I felt as a result of my self attack was 10 times worse than any other emotional upset I've ever experienced resulting from what anyone else ever did.
The strategy I had, which is entirely an ego strategy, was that in order to become safe or better off in any way, I needed to separate myself from people. I didn't see a possibility of feeling calm and happy and confident in any situation, only afraid, and just wanted to escape. It seemed as if escaping would work, and so I had trust in it. But all that escaping did was isolate me more and make me withdrawn from society. This also actually led to years of depression in my late teens and a sense that my life was so stuck that it was coming to an end.
It was around that time also though that I started to get into spiritual things and there was this strange period of mystical experiences at the same time as being mixed in with a lot of fear and inadequacy. I started to work on healing myself in whatever way seemed to work, although at first that was very haphazard and flawed. It was about that time that I suddenly met my wife, whose spiritual light and strength was so bright and filled with unconditional love, that I thought she was literally an angel. It wasn't until my late 20's that I found A Course in Miracles and everything continued to spiral upwards from there.
So for me the idea that in a situation, when I perhaps don't even feel like interacting, trying to push people away doesn't really work. It has a side effect of attacking myself. Whatever I try to make apply to others applies to me. An alternative approach has been gradually revealing itself, and it's one where I realize that I need to extend love, and that by doing so I'm not only going to be healed but the love will also shine away my fears, strengthen me and make my more invulnerable. The love gives me what seemed lacking when I wasn't extending it, and then I feel that I have what is needed to genuinely relate to the person. And then I don't feel like escaping, because the love is there.
It's a strange flipflop but it's like you spend your whole life using this one strategy of separating yourself from others, to "deal with" the way the world seems to be when you have that perspective/perception, only to find that there is another totally opposite alternative whereby you deliberately decide to bring the love and stay put, knowing that it's really the only approach that is going to work in your favor. This is "new" to me as I guess it is to most people but I'm finding out quickly just how beneficial it is to broadcast, radiate, transmit, extend love, in situations that previously I might have wanted to "stop".
I can testify that when you psychologically try to make people go away, stop, you resist them in any way, wish the wouldn't do what they're doing etc, it attacks you and induces sickness and pain. Physically. Very quickly. You can believe that what you're doing is just an attempt to defend yourself in which it does something to them and does nothing to you, but it's not true. It's double-sided and you both get attacked. You are attacked by your own defenses, and never was that more true that "my defenses are attacking my invulnerability". Only by letting the defenses down and shining love instead, exposing yourself, being open and accessible, paradoxically makes you completely invulnerable and strong and unattackable. You can in a sense "hide in plain sight" that way. The light protects you.
It kind of feels like breaking out of a shell or coming out of an egg. Holy Spirit's guidance to me lately has been to "bring" the love to the world that seems to be lacking in it, and to "extend" love in order to work miracles. It's through expressions of love, which is its natural extension, that miracles occur. They are "given" this way. And for sure, living in fear is totally anti-miraculous and more like being a psychic black hole. And it's not merely enough to ask God or Holy Spirit to send love to someone. You yourself have to actually feel and express and extend the love, if you want to benefit from it.
It's actually for our highest good and in our own best interest, and a shared interest, to "only love". The extending of love to others has a profound affect on your OWN mind. But at first it seems unnatural. Like some kind of "new trick" that you need to practice more. To be able to actually muster some love, and really feel it. It's been through all these years of trying to forgive and healing and releasing old pains and so on that I've very gradually "shifted" to being "able" to find this new "mode" of relationship. And it's for the most part still quite spotty. But there's a sort of underlying "more loving" baseline that's there all the time, which was not there in years past, and that's thanks to the course.
I suppose you could correctly call it being the light of the world, it's like you choose to shine and love comes out of you, even if the world itself is so severely lacking in love (which it is). It gives you the protection you were lacking when you were afraid, and it strengthens and empowers you. It solves all of the problems that the ego's remedies never really solved. And it gives you a whole new sense of purpose in life. Not forgetting how much happier it feels It provides strength and confidence. It empowers you and puts you in a position where you can be truly helpful, rather than completely useless.
All it takes is seemingly a change of direction. Rather than being so withdrawing, it is more of a confronting. Instead of being escaping, it's a willingness to be present. Instead of running away in fear, it gives you the power to stand your ground and assert yourself in a healthy way. It's taken a long time to learn this and I'm still learning. But if you could put who I am now alongside who I used to be 20 years ago, you would probably think we're not even the same person. And thank God for that!