A few years ago, I embarked on a mission to figure out the mistakes I was making in my life. I found myself in the same situations over and over again and I was tired of it. I found myself in relationships that were not fulfilling and constantly feeling used by people with no thought to my health and well-being. I was emotionally rundown and surrounded by negative people and experiences. Instead of continuing to point the finger outside, I figured out that I was the common-denominator in every situation. I also realized that I can’t control everyone else, but I could control who I let into my life and my own thoughts and actions.
I decided that the best place to start was with me. I started by reading books about intention and attraction which showed me that your thoughts dictate your experience. Every thought in your mind is like a prayer. Whether it is negative or positive, you are basically praying for something to come into your life. If you are worried about not having money, you are praying to not have money. If you are worried about someone leaving you or losing a job, you are praying for it to happen. On the opposite spectrum, if you think you have everything you need, you will have everything you need. Prayers are literal and not generally interpreted to figure out your intentions. Once I understood this, I had to check into my insecurities to figure out what I was praying for that I wasn’t aware of.
I did some real introspective work which led me to really make some connections and understanding of what was going on internally. Many of the beliefs we have are passed down to us or we gain them in childhood. As a child, you cannot protect yourself. Your mind creates ways to protect you. You no longer need to be protected as an adult because you have more control. However, the established ways still spring into action when you feel threatened. This is especially true in relationships. Relationships, not only remind you of parental and childhood relationships, but they require ultimate vulnerability and trust. Therefore, they bring up the most of your “stuff” or issues. The irony is that avoidance of relationships does the exact same thing, which is why people can find themselves in shallow, comfortable relationships that don’t drudge up their issues. While it might seem easier, it’s merely allowing you to avoid yourself.
The best relationships challenge us to push ourselves and to change for the better. A book I read once explained that when in a relationship the fear is that you will experience so much pain that you will die from it. In our hearts, we know that we will not die from emotional pain. But, our irrational fear launches into action to protect us and that is when we launch into either tantrum or withdrawal. One of the best books I read is, “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. It was so good that I bought it for two of my girlfriends after they got married. The book taught me a great deal about how relationships are a way to heal ourselves and that good relationships aren’t found or stumbled into but cultivated and nurtured. It’s a book that shows you how to get out of your own way. It also helps you to accept your shortcomings and the shortcomings of your partner. Basically, it gets the fairytale out of your head.
The biggest thing I have learned is that I am not broken. I used to think that I wouldn’t find love because I’m too broken. The reality is that I am not. I am not damaged. I am human. My mind created a shield to protect me from getting hurt. That is a beautiful and loving thing. I also have accepted that what has happened is apart of my journey and played an important role in who I have become. My job now is to chip away at the shield to allow in the love I’m hoping to receive. I am a visual person so I love metaphors. Forgive me. Let’s say, your childhood may have been like a hurricane. So, you sealed your windows shut and sandbagged your door. The hurricane winds and rain is over. The sun is shining and you want to feel it, but you refuse to unseal your windows and remove the sandbags because another hurricane could come. There hasn’t been a hurricane for ten years. How long are you going to keep those windows sealed and the door blocked while longing to feel the sun and wind? How long are you going to protect yourself from the Hurricane that may never come?
“I can let my life pass me by or I can get down and try, work it all out this lifetime”- Maxwell, Lifetime.
It will take time, but it can be done. And the more you try, the easier it will become. Relationships will bring up your stuff and you will apologize more times than you want to, but it’s supposed to be that way. If you have a loving, supportive, forgiving partner, you will be able to do the same and be the same for them. The greatest gift we have to give in this life is to learn and teach unconditional love.