Thoughts on Love…
Relationships are POWERFUL!
When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, you have synergy.
One excellent example of a synergistic relationship is that of water. All that is and could ever come from hydrogen alone, or oxygen on its own, pales in comparison to the myriad wonders of water, and all its mystifying properties.
The richness of experiences that arise from two people interacting is pretty synergistic, too – let alone the things that they can collaborate to create together! And the depth of love and growth that is made possible by a developing relationship is remarkably synergistic.
There are three main features of this phenomenon.
Relationships are infinitely reflective.
Our relationships with others continually reflect the relationship we have with ourselves. And our romantic relationships are especially good at revealing some of our darkest corners!
It’s amazing how much we’ll accuse each other of that we are perfectly guilty of in some other way. Recognizing this is humbling for ourselves and humanizing of our partner. It makes way for empathy.
How we perceive our partner – how we interpret their behavior, their motivations, their intent – speaks volumes on how we perceive ourselves; and how we view the relationship itself speaks to how we see our place in the world.
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
The same can be gleaned of our partner’s perceptions.
Lasting relationships require courageous vulnerability.
There are such minefields of insecurities that arise within a relationship, and when our defenses get triggered, we can lash out or close up.
So how can we really be in relationship, if we’re not fully present? When we’re so busy defending our ego, we lose the connection that is the very essence of Relationship.
When we are able to find security within ourselves, and stay present and open to our own experience, as well as our partner’s experience, we create the space for real intimacy to occur.
The best relationships are magnificently complementary.
But it takes differences to make complements. And with differences can also come clashes. We cannot have the possibility of one without the possibility of the other.
It takes differences to have diversity, variety, beauty… It takes differences to create SYNERGY!
Our similarities unite us, and our differences strengthen and enhance us – both individually and collectively.
As much as we’re often compelled to want our partner to be more like us, when we are able to embrace their unique perspective and contribution, so much magic happens.
This is a gateway to Unconditional Love – and that, my dear, is what It’s all about.
I can’t tell you what’s right for you, but I will tell you that leaving the person you’re with is unlikely to resolve the underlying problem. How many times have you been in this same situation? With how many partners? Doesn’t it feel like you just keep finding yourself in the same relationship, over and over again?
There’s a lesson that’s trying to be learned by you, through your relationships, and it’s going to continue presenting itself until you see it for what it is, and learn what needs to be learned. I also can’t tell you what it is that needs to be learned, or what will develop after you’ve learned it, but I can tell you how to uncover the lesson.
The first step (assuming your physical or emotional well-being is not in danger) is shifting your perception of challenges from options to stay or go, to opportunities to grow. Make a commitment to rise to every challenge by delving within. The answers lie within you, and this lesson is beckoning forth a strengthening in your relationship to yourself.
Our relationships with others mirror our relationship with ourself, and although it’s often unpleasant, if we can ride out the storms that come up in our relationships, we can harvest a wealth of insights, and ultimately learn how to better love ourselves, and thereby create more loving relationships.
Did you know that when you were a child, you developed an attachment style that was essentially either secure or insecure, and if insecure, either anxious or avoidant? And did you know that anxious folks and avoidant folks tend to attract one another and then play out relentless cycles of push and pull? Have you experienced this?
People with insecure attachment types have very challenging love-lives. They both want very much to be loved but also distrust it when it’s presented. Anxious partners get scared and move closer, while avoidants get scared and move away, hence the merry-go-round.
Here’s what I’ve noticed though: The prevailing advice basically encourages anxious types to leave their avoidant partners, stating that the avoidants will never be consistent, they will always perpetuate confusion, alternating between hot and cold, and because the anxious types need to embrace their self-worth, and go find the love they deserve. I have a slightly different perspective.
I agree that anxious people deserve the love they desire, but I find that their anxiety generates interpretations of events that prevent them from experiencing the love that IS present. I also believe that avoidants deserve the love they fear. When a person with an insecure attachment style does learn to embrace their worth and fortify their security from within, they can become strong enough to provide a stable base for their partner in a way that fosters a sense of trust and safety. (I have actually achieved this with my own partner, to great success.)
When you commit to rising to the challenges that relationships will always present, you will grow like a weed! (In the good way.) When you take leaving off the table – you may both choose to part ways amicably, but you will be well-served to refrain from leaving in reaction to your triggers – you will instill trust. When you offer total acceptance to both of you, no longer seeking to change yourself or your partner, but leaving room for each of you to be who you truly are, you will foster true love.
If you’re in one of these unfulfilling cycles, you’ve got a lot of inner-work to do. (I speak from experience.) Now, I know I just suggested to stop trying to change yourself, but inner-work is not about changing who you are, it’s about learning to embrace who you are.
You CAN have the love you desire, and it is quite likely already closer than you think. If you truly love your partner but are just frustrated by the confusion and inconsistency, try practicing the love you deserve – on both of you.
If you have the fortitude to stick it out, your true love awaits…
Act I: Twitterpated –
You see each other for the first time, and it’s instant chemistry. You giggle together, feel butterflies in your tummy when you think of each other, and count the hours when you’re apart. You touch each other and can hardly keep your hands to yourself! You don’t know it yet, but you two are a match on multiple levels. All you do know is that you’re delighted to be around them, and you don’t ever want it to end. (Curiously, this is where most love stories do end, when it’s only the beginning.)
Act II: Triggered –
But then some not-so-good feelings start to creep in. Your insecurities begin rearing their frightened heads, and you feel hurt by the things that your new mate says or does – or doesn’t say or do. Fights erupt. One may yell, the other may shut down and withdraw; perhaps you both yell, or both withdraw. Your respective insecurities begin to clash and claw at each other for validity and safety. You begin to doubt whether this was such a good match after all.
Although painful, what’s fascinating here, is that this is precisely why you were drawn together! You were attracted to each other for the very reason that you are hurting each other, which is that you are each fulfilling the childhood traumas of the other. On a more cosmic level, you were also brought together to provide the opportunity for both of you to overcome those childhood traumas. You are two perfectly imperfect humans, perfectly matched to imperfectly heal each other.
Act III: Tempered –
On the other side of all this hurt, should you both persevere, you finally come to a place of stillness and peace. You have bled your souls (or rather your egos) on the battlefield of your relationship, and are left with only the purest cores of your beings. In this state, there is nothing but true love.
If you can both find the will to practice the love you desire on yourselves and each other, you will pass through the minefield of trauma activation, and move into the realm of true love. This actually comes about quite often by the exhausted surrender of one or both partners, where you’re so ready to give up the fight, that you end up baring your vulnerable side and stumbling upon the door to real intimacy. In this state, you are now connecting authentically, and you are finally able to communicate from a place of sincerity, where you can express your needs, without demanding that they be met.
In this final act of the story, you have transcended the unconscious programming of your upbringing, and are now interacting from a more conscious awareness. You hold space for your experiences and for you partner’s. You share your perspectives with love and with acceptance of other perspectives. You exist in a more or less regular state of bliss, knowing that your partner will support you, and that when they can’t, you have the security within you to support yourself. You trust in the interdependence of your relationship, and it allows both of you greater independence in your respective endeavors. This is a love that expands each of you, and empowers you to create more expansion in the world.
If you’re not feeling fulfilled in your love-life, I’m here to tell you that it is fully in your power to change that.
Did you know that your relationships with others will always reflect your relationship with yourself? And did you know that your romantic relationship is the one that is bound to trigger your insecurities more than any other? Maybe you’ve already noticed that…
Those feelings of doubt and unworthiness (we’ve all been there!) are your inner-wisdom’s way of telling you that you don’t have a secure foundation to stand on. If you did, you wouldn’t feel so insecure!
But you can’t find security outside of you. Everything outside of you is less of a stable force in your life than you are. Outside things come and go; they have their own timing and mood swings. You have your own fluctuations as well, but you are the single most constant factor in your life, and your greatest source of security.
So how do you go about building a solid foundation within yourself?
Let’s start here: you may have heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This means that you cannot be of service until you have given to yourself. Well, I like to take that analogy a step further and point out that your cup won’t hold any water if it is cracked or shattered. You see, all the bubble-baths and positive affirmations will just flow right through you if your cup isn’t fortified.
What do I mean by that?
Allow me to introduce you to your Shadow…
Following, are 3 steps that everyone must take in order to fortify their cup. And without a solid foundation to stand on, your insecurities will perpetually sabotage your relationships, so it is well worth your while to implement this practice into your life.
1. Take Accountability
Your life is the manifestation of your beliefs. If you believe that you’re unworthy of love as you are, then you will find a lot of unappreciation from those whose love you seek. When you become empowered to change your relationship with yourself, you become empowered to change the dynamic of all your relationships.
2. Acknowledge Your Shadow
Operating on the premise that you will be more accepted by being more appealing, is usually motivated by a base fear of abandonment. But here’s the kicker: by hiding certain pieces of yourself in an attempt to be more appealing to others, and thereby avoid being rejected or abandoned, you end up abandoning yourself!
Everything that you or anyone else has ever said that you are too much or not enough of; every aspect of yourself which you have shamed and shunned; all that you would be embarrassed for people to know about; each of these pieces of YOU gets splintered off and dumped into your Shadow.
3. Reframe & Reclaim
Take inventory, one by one, of every aspect of yourself that you view negatively, and find a positive spin to put on it. “I’m so boring” can become “I’m grounded and tranquil.” And you can choose to recognize that as an asset that some people will really appreciate, even though others may not.
Once you’ve reframed a splintered shard of your Shadow, reclaim that piece of you back into your being. Give it a loving hug of acceptance and appreciation. This is the epitome of self-love!
One of the keys here is in knowing that your worth is inherent in your being. You are here, therefore you are worthy of being here – JUST AS YOU ARE.
Another key is in accepting the fact that people have preferences. We all enjoy different things, and different personality types. You will never be liked by everyone. You HAVE TO come to terms with that. I mean – you don’t like everyone, right? And some of the people you dislike have nothing especially wrong with them; they’re just not your jam – and that’s ok!
When we try to dull our light, to appeal to the masses, we become just that: dull. When we operate instead, in full alignment with who we truly are, we make it super clear to others who we are, what we’re about, and who we mesh well with. In this way, the people who ARE your jam, and for whom you are THEIR jam, will recognize you right away, and be drawn to you like magnets.
The more authentically we operate in the world, the more meaningful our connections will be. You cannot form a truly intimate connection with someone without showing up as your WHOLE self. Plus – people who are really grooving in their own jam are just more delightful to be around!
This also means, though, that you have to be willing to disappoint the people who are already in your life and have come to expect you to be the contorted version of yourself that you’ve presented to them. It is, however, less likely to go down that way than you imagine, and – in fact – while they may be surprised by this apparently new side of you, they are more likely to appreciate the honesty, and respect your authenticity.
And maybe your partner won’t be into that thing you’ve been secretly interested in, but it’s unlikely that they will leave you for it, and you will probably find others to share in that interest, outside of your romantic relationship.
If parting ways does turn out to be a result of your authenticity, rest assured that with your security firmly rooted in yourself, you will have it with you in all circumstances, and you’ll have the fortitude to create an even more fulfilling, authentic, and intimate relationship with your next pairing.
When all manner of pieces of you have been splintered off into your Shadow, your cup is fragmented, and it will not hold any water. Without a secure foundation, fortified from within, you will seek security in others, and you will never find it there.
OWN every piece of you. LOVE YOURSELF COMPLETELY. As in: Every. Single. Bit. of You. It’s all lovable. But your subconscious will only allow as much love from others as you give to yourself, so you’d better crank it all the way up.
Claim your power to love yourself.
Identify your abandoned fragments.
Reunite with all of your glory.
Your love awaits…
Here is a little exercise you can do to love on a lonely heart.
(Have you noticed that you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely?)
If you could paint the picture of your ideal relationship, what would it look like? What are the features that are most important to you, and that you are most aware of their absence? In what ways are you most unfulfilled?
Let’s write the most powerful love letter you’ve ever written!
>> Note: If you want to get the most out of this exercise, bookmark this article now, and don’t even read the rest of it until you’re in a quiet space with a half hour to yourself.
- 1 pen
- 4 sheets of paper
– – – – – –
Write a list of all that’s displeasing about your love-life.
(eg: no good prospects; partner doesn’t communicate effectively; etc…)
Take your time. Complete this list before moving on to the next step.
Consider the Law of Opposites which states that for every top there is a bottom, for every left side there is a right side; and exercise your faith in the possibility that if the displeasing aspects of your love-life exist, then so do their opposites.
On a separate sheet of paper, write a list of the opposite versions of the items on your first list.
(eg: abundance of great prospects / found my perfect match; partner and I communicate excellently / bravely and compassionately; etc…)
Complete this second list before moving on to the next step.
DESTROY LIST 1 – burn it or shred it.
(Seriously. Don’t keep manifesting that junk.)
Once you’ve completed that, move on to Step 4.
From the list of your ideal love-life features, craft a positive affirmation statement.
(eg: I’m so happy and grateful now that I’m in a loving romantic partnership…)
After that is finalized, take Step 5.
Consider for a moment that you have the capacity to satisfy your own needs…
Rewrite that affirmation statement without the 2nd party.
(eg: I’m so happy and grateful now that I’m fulfilling the love I desire in my life… See below for an example, if needed, but try to write it on your own.)
When you are finished, give yourself a warm hug for showing up for yourself! You may then choose to carry out Step 6.
Toss that first statement. You don’t need him/her – you need YOU.
(Still appreciate your romance, though.)
– – – – – –
This process is incredibly cathartic, and it will illuminate so elegantly what you truly need, and how you can begin to fulfill your needs from within.
This exercise is modified from one I did in a personal development course.
When I first did it, my own Step 4 statement went something like this –
I’m so happy and grateful now that I am in a loving relationship, feeling admiration, adoration, and appreciation for each other. We delight in spending time together and making plans for our future together. We are committed to supporting each other’s needs, and remaining grateful for one another. We communicate effectively, face challenges together, and honor our unique individualities.
But then I realized that I needed most of that from myself.
So then I added the Step 5 self-affirmation and mine became the following –
(Bear with the variations in perspective; I read somewhere that it makes for more effective affirmations to mix those up.)
I’m so thrilled to be in love with you, Mariya – feeling admiration, adoration, and appreciation for your nature. I delight in being her, and she’s gleefully emergineering a divine future of exploration, expansion, and connection. I am committed to supporting your needs, and remaining grateful for your being. You confidently express yourself, face challenges with zeal, and honor your unique individuality. I feel powerfully self-sufficient, and supremely loved.
I instantly needed so much less from my mate, and was immediately able to appreciate so much more of what he does and who he is. I went from feeling rather lonely and neglected, to feeling deeply loved in a way that only I could fulfill.
I am so grateful to recognize my love for myself reflected in my love for my partner.
(Edit 3/1/19: Still in the same partnership, and I can easily confirm that my initial Step 4 affirmation statement, which I believe was originally drafted in our early stages in 2015, is now 100% true.)
Do you find yourself obsessing over your love-life?
Did you know that there are NINE whole aspects of your life that could probably use your attention – and that when attended to, would likely help your love-life run more smoothly?
Let’s take a look, shall we?
First, there are the aspects that make up who you are:
How well are the needs of these pieces of you being cared for? Are you cultivating your mental acuity? Are you tending to your emotions? Do you get good exercise and plenty of sleep? Are you eating whole healthy foods? Does your soul get the nourishment it needs?
Then there are the things you do:
Are you nurturing these foundations of your daily life with seeds that will grow sustainably into fulfilling endeavors? Are you building a career that enhances your values? Are you earning, spending, and saving in alignment with your true worth? Are you fostering relationships that create mutual enrichment? Are you maintaining all the relationships that are important to you?
There are also the reasons you do what you do:
Are you spending time working towards these ultimate end-goals of yours? In what ways do you hope to grow in life, and how are you progressing in that arena? What experiences do you plan to get out of life, and what steps are you taking to make these happen? How do you want to contribute in the world, and what are you doing to enhance that?
I bet I got your mind of your love-life for a minute!
These 9 aspects make up the foundation of your life, and when they are imbalanced, your foundation gets wobbly, which – just like standing on shaky ground – results in insecurity. It’s crucial to have a stable foundation and a solid sense of security, in order to enjoy a happy love-life. Well, a happy life, really.
In order to stabilize your foundation, it must be balanced. A lot of people make the mistake of trying to prioritize between these aspects, but your one priority is maintaining balance among them – because they’re all connected!
Balance is personal, and will look different for everyone, but you will know you’re out of balance by the experience of struggles in one or more of these aspects. The trick, though, is that the strife in one area is actually a symptom of neglect in another area.
When you are having a hard time in one aspect of life, take a look at the others, and start giving more attention to the areas that have been neglected. You will find that the issues in that other area begin to magically resolve.
The benefits of this practice are numerous.
- When you take a more holistic approach to your life, it has a synergistic effect, and every piece, as well as the whole, will operate more effectively.
- It alleviates obsessive ruminating by giving your monkey-mind multiple bones to chew on.
- People with balanced foundations feel more secure, and therefore exhibit greater confidence, which is an all-around attractive trait.
Whenever you catch yourself hyper-focusing on one aspect – or even one piece of one aspect of your life – recall the bigger picture, zoom out, and refocus on an area that could use some love.
Kiss the Dragon within You!
Loving others starts with loving you, and loving anything means acceptance without condition. We can only receive love at the level we give it to ourselves – eliminate the conditions for your love, and you’ll maximize the flow. Take these four steps:
- Identify your patterns. What situations seem to keep playing out on repeat? Or, perhaps another question could be: What lessons keep presenting themselves as challenges for you to grow? If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut in some aspect of your life, by examining the nature of the pattern, you can explore the underlying beliefs that are holding you back. Once you achieve a more enlightened perspective on the situation, whatever problems are presenting will resolve quite magically.
- Validate yourself. If you have an idea or a hypothesis, you might want to seek external validation to confirm its truth or accuracy. But how often do you look to others to validate your worth? I’m willing to bet that it’s more often than you realize. Your worth is inherent in your existence. How your existence is valued by others is subject to their programming, and not representative of the validity of your intrinsic worth. Only YOU can validate your worth for yourself, and that will set the stage for all of your interactions with others.
- Embrace your shadow. One of the most unloving things we do to ourselves is done in our attempts to prevent abandonment, and it results in us abandoning ourselves. In order to appeal to those whose approval we seek, we splinter off bits and pieces of ourselves that we presume might be offensive or undesirable. All of these little shards are shamed and shunned away into our “shadow”. One of the most loving things we can do for ourselves is to reclaim those parts, one at a time; accepting them as elements of our being, and loving them back into ourselves, to become whole again. Only as whole persons can we connect with others fully, and only then can we achieve true intimacy.
- Fear no judgment. That anxious spell of apprehension you experience when you’re quietly fretting about how your words or actions might be received by another is essentially fear of judgment. It’s worth noting, however, that the only judgments that affect us, are those we hold of ourselves. Once you’ve done your “shadow work”, you will begin to recognize your fears about judgment, and remember that you’ve already deemed yourself worthy.