There is a piece of priceless wisdom that we've seen change the lives of many single and divorced people. We first learned it ourselves the 'hard way,' by struggling through many difficult relationships in our twenties and early thirties. Once we realized it and put it into practice, we met each other and found the relationship of our dreams. We offer it to you, in hopes that it will work its magic on you.
Here it is
The major barrier that stands in the way of establishing a loving relationship with another person is an unloved part of ourselves. A hidden aspect of ourselves that we have never fully loved and accepted keeps us from bringing genuine love into our lives. Even if we bring a healthy new relationship into our lives, this unloved part of ourselves can rush forward to prevent us from enjoying and keeping the new love we feel.
If you don't love yourself, you'll always be looking for someone else to do it for you. It never works, because people who don't love themselves attract other people who don't love themselves. Then they try to get others to love them unconditionally when they're not even doing it for themselves.
When you love yourself deeply and unconditionally for everything you are and aren't, you attract people who love and accept themselves deeply and unconditionally. If you feel fundamentally unlovable deep down inside, you'll attract a lover who feels the same way.
When we don't love some part of ourselves, we run around in desperation trying to get someone else to love us. Our hope is that if they give us enough love our unlovable part will go away. It never does. Only a moment of loving ourselves unconditionally will do that particular job.
Most of us spend our lives running from that unlovable part of us. When we finally confront it, we will usually discover it's a fear. It's usually a particular fear, and there are only a very small number of them.
One of them is fear of abandonment. You can probably see why that fear could play havoc in your relationships. It certainly did in our early relationships, before we became aware that this fear was driving a lot of our troublesome behavior. When you're afraid of being left alone, you'll either keep people distant so it won't hurt so bad if they leave you, or you'll cling to them dependently so they can't leave without dragging you with them.
Another big fear is the dread of being smothered by the other person. When you're in the grip of this fear, you're worried that your individuality and freedom will be lost if you surrender to full union with the other person. So, you stay at arm's length, just as a person who's afraid of drowning might stand a yard or so away from the water's edge.
The good thing to know about fear is that it's simply a pulsating quiver of racy-queasy sensations in your stomach area. Fear, said the legendary psychiatrist Fritz Perls, is merely excitement without the breath. Breathe into the fear and watch what happens: The butterflies will flutter out of hiding and fly away.
When you love that fear directly, you can actually feel the fear disappear. In the space where the fear used to be, you now feel a big open space into which a wonderful new relationship can enter. That's what happened to us, and that's what we've seen happen to a lot of people when they mustered the courage to love themselves and all their fears.
The Grip of Fear Holds Us In Check
It's impossible to enjoy good relationships until we give that scary place in ourselves a split-second of love. The reason: The fear causes us to push people away when they get too close. That's because our fear gets stirred up when we let them in close. To keep the fear under control, we keep people at a distance. We push down the very aspects of ourselves that most need to come to the surface and be loved. Then, having already judged ourselves unlovable, we strain to get others to love us. Trying to get other people to love us when we don't think ourselves lovable is like a dog chasing its own tail. The more they try to love us, the faster we run from it.
Fortunately you can solve that problem right now, right here.
What are you feeling right now? Tune in to yourself and do a quick body-scan. Are you afraid that nothing will work? Are you worried that maybe you're not good enough to do this? Do you fear, as we once did, that there's something fundamentally wrong with you that is always going to keep you from love?
Right now feel all these feelings and LOVE them. Love yourself for having them. Love yourself for your courage to feel.
We've never met anyone who loved themselves deeply and unconditionally all the time. Don't expect that you'll be perfect at it, either. Begin with a second or two of loving yourself and work up from there. Begin with a commitment to loving yourself. That way, you'll have the commitment to fall back on when you find yourself in the grip of your unlovable part.
Remember, too, that loving yourself has nothing to do with egotism or self-flattery. Egotistical people are desperately trying to get other people to love them, even though they feel deeply unlovable inside. That's why egotism and boasting look so tacky: Everybody knows it's phony.
We're talking about genuine, sincere, heartfelt and humble love for yourself. It's a feeling of accepting yourself for everything you are and everything you aren't. Unless you're super-human, you won't ever feel absolute love and acceptance for yourself all the time. You can, however, make a commitment to feeling that way. Making a commitment to loving yourself gives you a firm ground to stand on throughout the ups and downs of your life.
Right now say to yourself - I commit to loving myself deeply.
Float the idea around in your mind and feel it in your body. Use it as an anchor-point in your work on yourself.
Adapted from ATTRACTING GENUINE LOVE, the cyber-course developed for single and divorced people by Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks. The Hendricks Institute is an International Learning Center has been teaching core skills for conscious living for over three decades.
Find out more about the Attracting Genuine Love course.
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