The key to living from “the heart” is to love your Self, the real you. To do this you have to put aside the self-hate and recognize and embrace the perfect and beautiful soul that you really are. The heart longs to do that; it is the natural state of the heart to love the Self. When the heart is functioning as it is meant to be, it engages in true love, first for the Self and then for others. John Steinbeck in his collection of thoughts from A Life in Letters, captured this love beautifully:
“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had…..Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it. The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it”.
But this is easier said than done. After years of practicing self- hate, we have built up huge neural pathways focused on our perceived failures to live up to some impossible standards. When we apply these standards to our bisexuality, self-hate gets tangled up with sex and takes on the added power of our hormonal sexual energy which is aimed at disgust for our sexual behavior. We have to refire and rewire those self-hate pathways into self -love ones. We have to separate ego based behaviour from the longings of the heart. The heart has no hate for the Self. It is not concerned with our sexual behavior, at least not in a moralistic sense, but it does seek to turn sexual behavior into love. Love of self and love for others is something that needs to be developed over time, until it becomes an art. Again, from John Steinbeck:
“The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering….I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one — my intuition, the essence of the mastery of any art. But, aside from learning the theory and practice, there is a third factor necessary to becoming a master in any art — the mastery of the art must be a matter of ultimate concern; there must be nothing else in the world more important than the art.”
In other words you have to focus all the energy you use in hating yourself into loving yourself. You must balance every self-hate statement and feeling with an abundance of positive self-love statements and feelings.
Let’s start off with an easy exercise in the art of self-love. For years I could not make eye-contact with myself in the mirror. When I engaged in cross-dressing, and saw myself from my feminine side, it was different. I could make eye contact, saw that I was okay and told myself that I was beautiful. But I hated my masculine side. I was ashamed because I felt I was not the man I wanted to be. I finally overcame that by starting off each morning with a good stare into the mirror until I could feel positive about myself. Sometimes this took awhile and with a lot of head talk to convince myself that I really did like the person I was. I would end this session by telling myself that I loved myself just the way I was and I was proud of myself for fighting the good fight and then whatever else it was that I could find to say to myself to convince myself that I loved ME. Try this for the next week. It really works. We will go on into the art of love in the next blog.
 Steinbeck: A Life in Letters (public library). Falling in Love: A 1958 Letter, A Life in Letters. www.brainpickings.org/2012/01/12/john-steinbeck-on-love-1958/