“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it”
In love, we often stumble, tumble and fall into dysfunctional, destructive relationships because we don't know what we are truly looking for. We select mates based on the picture we've painted in our minds; from the magical list of what we think we SHOULD be looking for.
Too much exposure to others opinions, our own insecurities and an over saturation of romantic comedies can severely skew our perception of what is 'right' for us. Given that we all have individual, unique needs, no one but you can accurately set your course. When we don't step outside our laser focus of 'shoulds' and start thinking about what we really WANT and NEED, we perpetuate patterns of hurt and disappointment.
Dig into your past relationships. Draw connections to repetitive themes, feelings that continually arise and commonalities in the type of partner you are drawn to.
What worked in those scenarios?
What, deep down, do you actually NEED but may be leaving off your list because it doesn't fit the cookie cutter image of the 'shoulds?'
Have you thought more about superficial items than the personality traits and characteristics that best suit you?
Educate yourself on yourself. When you get a handle on your core needs, you will quickly develop the ability to find YOUR proper fit.
Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT – www.lifeissuespsychotherapy.com
It’s odd to me how many women lament that they can’t find a healthy date or mate when they have a long way to go themselves before being a poster child for mental health. While I understand and applaud their desire to find someone who is emotionally balanced and wise, I’m a firm believer that the pay off in this situation is to become a person who would attract someone who’s mentally healthy. For some of you, this will take a great deal of effort and for others, you may need to just change a few things about yourself.
Here are the basic areas in which I’d encourage you to put attention:
1. Interpersonal Skills: To function well in a relationship, you’ll want to know how to both listen and share. In too many relationships, people talk at each other and the goal is not an honest interchange to learn about the other person, but only to tell them who you are. Alternately, it doesn’t foster communication if you only listen and never share anything about yourself. Seek this balance in yourself and your partner.
2. Trust yourself and surround yourself with people you trust: If you’re a loner who has difficulty depending on people, you’re going to have difficulty in a relationship. When you have deep and strong inner resources and can also ask for help when need be, you’ll have a much easier time. Likewise, if you choose someone who doesn’t trust anyone or anyone but you, this is going to create problems down the road as dependence on you grows to uncomfortable levels.
3. Be your own person: Learn to speak your mind even if others don’t agree with you and stop looking for their approval. Being your own person doesn’t mean always having to be right or do things your way. It means that you’ll share your needs and wishes, can tolerate confrontation, and won’t let yourself get pushed around just so someone will love you. Look for a partner who also is able to relate without constantly needing to please you or others. Again, seek someone who is balanced.
4. Learn to accept mistakes and failures and be wrong: If you’re uncomfortable being wrong or imperfect, you aren’t going to attract someone who is okay being a flawed individual. Being able to see yourself as imperfect and give yourself unconditional love is a necessary trait in a healthy, loving relationship for both partners. Don’t mistake a partner’s need to be right or perfect for strength when this trait is actually more of a weakness.
As you grow healthier, you’ll notice that you’re attracting healthier people and also that you’re no longer as interested in people who haven’t done the work on themselves that you have. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, “be the change you wish to see.” That’s called a two-fer and you can’t beat it.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
When it comes to finding love, confidence is key. Some people naturally have a lot of confidence while others have to fight the negative way they perceive themselves. For those that have lower self-confidence, relationships can be harder to feel secure in. You may find yourself questioning every interaction—should I text him? Why hasn’t he contacted me yet? Is he the right person for me? These questions can overwhelm and confuse leading to a potentially jeopardized relationship. Improving your confidence can help to attract a healthy love.
To help sustain and create a healthy romantic relationship, it is important to increase your confidence.
A few simple ways to approach this are:
1. Do Lists of 5: Take out a piece of paper and list your top 5 accomplishments, your top 5 reasons you deserve love, and your top 5 personality qualities. This can help create a baseline in your thinking as you begin to work on improving your confidence to attract a healthy love.
2. Adopt Activities That Promote Positive Thinking: Spend some time understanding what situations provoke your most negative thoughts. Ask yourself if it is healthy to keep engaging in those activities and if it worth it to explore new ones. Try not to get stuck in a cycle of feeding the negativity by giving in to it. Actively challenging the thoughts is important in creating a more confident lifestyle.
3. Find the Evidence: When things become challenging, it is easier to blame yourself than anyone else. When questioning why you are not in a relationship, you may say a statement such as “I am never going to find love.” Break this statement down and determine whether or not there is evidence that you will NEVER find love. Typically, the way the sentence is phrased will be an inaccurate depiction of the real situation and rephrasing it to a more accurate depiction could increase your self-esteem.
Ultimately, improving confidence to attract healthy love can take time, effort, and dedication. But it is worth it. Taking time to examine and transform negative thoughts, emotions, or perceptions of how you view yourself is important in attracting a healthy, loving partner that you deserve.
Liz Morrison, LCSW – www.lizmorrisontherapy.com
Sometimes it's hard to end something you know is not working, for many reasons, but letting go of a relationship that is bringing you down is the only way to free you for good relationships to come!
Breaking up can feel like such a huge decision, so let's help you figure this out first!
The nuances of deciding to end a relationship are many and I cannot possibly cover it all in this one episode. Some of you have relationships that are legally and physically easy to get out of so it is only the emotional considerations to weigh. Others of you have your financial and social lives wrapped around your partner, including the fact that you are raising children and pets together. This complicates matters further.
When there are strong ties emotionally, spiritually, socially, and materially, being the one to decide to break up can have you feeling guilty and uncertain. It is a confusing time and often people are clear they want to break up before they are ready to lose all of the connections, and subsequently feel unclear.
Divorce is crushing for everybody involved. Since it affects other people (whom they love) beyond the couple, it is usually not a decision people make lightly. When end a relationship via divorce, you may find that the people around you might be judging that you haven’t tried hard enough, but they haven’t lived in that relationship like you have.
Break ups are complicated
What complicates breaking up even further is that we often feel a deep soul connection with people–a connection that we feel beyond our understanding. No matter how bad it gets, this connection is hard to walk away from. This connection is intense but it doesn’t mean we have to spend the rest of our lives with that person. It may be a sign that you had work to do with this person in this lifetime, but that work may be done now.
Sometimes people stay with someone far too long when they know it’s not feeding their soul because it is so hard to leave. If you're not happy in your relationship, it affects your mind, body and soul. Here are four questions you can ask yourself to get started in thinking about your future.
1. Am I staying because I don't want to be alone?
We always think that it's this person or nothing. That's just not the case. The other possibilities are unknown and scary but definitely not nothing.
2. Am I beating myself up?
If you are being too hard on yourself for failing at a relationship, this might be getting in the way of your efforts to work on the relationship or decide to leave. Self-judgment is distracting. Making the decision to leave a relationship, or to stay, doesn't mean failure. It means you’ve made a conscious decision.
3. Am I afraid of what other people think?
If people react badly to you breaking up with someone that they love, it's more about their emotional issues than it is about you. You can't change people so dwelling on this is not helpful.
4. Is there an imbalance of power?
Does your partner use power to control you or situations? This could be very subtle or outwardly violent. If this is the case, get yourself some support so you can see the situation from a new perspective and decide what to do.
Jodi Aman, LCSW – www.jodiaman.com
To get the love you want in your life, you have to be clear for yourself on your intent.
What does the love you want really look like? State your intentions of love you want in your life. Consider how you want to be treated and loved by a partner or a friend. When we state vague intentions (“I just want a boyfriend” or “I don’t want to be alone anymore”), we are not utilizing our own inner power to create what we want in our life.
State clear intentions of what this love you want looks like.
What kinds of behaviors does this person perform that brings more love into your life? How would this person speak to you? Perhaps this new person would uplift you with kind words and see your beauty more clearly. They might shower you with gifts. This new love may be compassionate and understanding. Maybe this love honors your body and your mind unconditionally for all of your talents and strengths.
Once you are clear in stating your intentions for love, check to see if you really can receive it.
Ask yourself: Can I give myself the love I just described as wanting? Can I say kind, uplifting statements to myself? Can I be more compassionate with myself? Can I honor my gifts and strengths focusing on these more often? If you answered no to any of these questions, it may be difficult to bring the love you want into your life and truly receive it.
Before you set out to find this new love that can give you all that you are waiting for, reflect on the idea that this love you want in your life can bloom within you.
Instead of handing your power over to someone else to give you the love you want, start by giving yourself a bit of that love. When we give ourselves the love we want, this creates the energy for love to constantly bloom in our lives.
Use your stated intentions on yourself.
Uplift yourself and see your own beauty within; give yourself unconditional love. Honor your strengths and talents, as well as your body and your mind, despite your many flaws. Starting from within on our intentions guides us to be more open to receiving the love we want once it comes our way. If you can’t give yourself some love, then how will you accept it fully when it is given to you from another?
Once you work on cultivating your stated intentions inwardly and loving yourself, begin using your stated intentions to draw another into your life. Review what you really want and list out the behaviors, characteristics, qualities you want to see in another. Don’t settle! Practice with intent to give yourself the love you want another to give you and you will consistently cultivate love in all areas your life.
Dr. Lisa M. Templeton, Phd - www.interpersonalhealing.com
When we begin getting to know someone that we think we might be interested in romantically, we are typically on our best behavior. There are a lot of different reasons for this, ranging anywhere from good manners and political correctness to self-consciousness and insecurity. Whatever our motivation, the simple truth is that when we are in those first heady throes of a new romance, we aren’t quite ourselves—we are very often only a version of ourselves. If our motives are driven more by self-consciousness and insecurity than simple politeness, that can eventually present us with some challenges.
The deep structures of a relationship tend to be established in the first few weeks. If they are based on a false premise—that facade of best behavior we presented to cover our self-doubt—eventually the foundation of the relationship is going to start to crumble under its own weight. As the habits, patterns, idiosyncrasies and issues that were once veiled begin to reveal themselves, the true nature of the relationship will do the same, and we may end in a place that neither we, nor our partner, bargained for.
Beginning in a place of authenticity, rather than illusion, is at the heart of attracting healthy love.
Connecting with our authenticity involves developing a certain level of self-awareness, tempered with self-compassion. When we start poking around in the dark corners, we aren’t always going to find hidden treasures. Sometimes we are going to find cobwebs, and we have to be good with that, holding space for it. Integrating the light and the dark, and being able to say, “Here I am—all of me—take it or leave it!” with conviction, faith and self-possession is central to embracing our authenticity. It also takes a certain amount of willingness to be vulnerable, not only with ourselves, but with others. When we can open ourselves, we also become open to possibility of establishing a relationship based in authenticity, not illusion.
The beautiful thing about developing this kind of self-awareness and self-compassion is that it’s not simply about attracting healthy love, it’s about developing self-love. Accessing our authenticity and owning it empowers our higher self, bringing us to the next level. When we bring that into the world, it gets reflected back to us and, instead of finding ourselves with a kind of love we didn't expect, we discover the kind of love we want and deserve.
Dr. Dori Gatter - www.drdorigatter.com
Your quest to meet a mate has likely taken you to the Internet if your college days are behind you. The good news is that you’ll find a never-ending supply of prospects online… but how do you find the proverbial “needle in that haystack”?
While nothing in the dating world is a sure thing, there are ways to make your online dating experiences fun AND safe.
After many years of personal and professional experience in cyberspace, I’ve come up with my top dos and don’ts for your endeavor into the online dating pool.
DO compose an accurate profile and don’t overstate your skills, hobbies, interests, and background in the hopes of attracting a better “catch”. The truth will be revealed eventually! And DO include recent pictures. There’s nothing more frustrating than showing up to meet someone new and having them look nothing like their former selves.
DON’T assume that everything you read about someone is true. Too often, people are writing about the person they want to be, not who they really are.
DON’T get sucked in by overused lines like, “Looking to spoil the woman of my dreams with flowers every week, international vacations, etc.” Come on… when life gets in the way, priorities take over.
DO be on the lookout for consistencies in their stories and facts. Sadly, men (and women) lie about all sorts of things like height/weight/body type, career/income, age, education, the number of ex-spouses and children they’ve had… you get the point.
DON’T give out any personal information that could lead anyone to your home. Don’t worry about offending someone you’ve just met and always put your own safety first. Ensure your name is not coming through on your Caller ID and don’t give out your last name until you’ve spent enough time and feel comfortable with someone.
DON’T rush into a “relationship” with someone you just met. Meet in a public place for the first few dates. You’ll know when the time is right to share your address and have him pick you up at home.
DO be honest about what you’re looking for in a relationship… if you’re looking for a relationship at all. There are plenty of men and women out there looking for free meals and/or a hook-up and know just what to say to get what they want. If your goal is to get married and have children someday, let your desires be known sooner rather than later—don’t waste your time and his if you have conflicting long-term goals.
DON’T be naïve to the reality of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and birth control. Be careful, get tested, and insist that your new partner gets tested BEFORE putting your own health at risk. While this can be an awkward topic to discuss, knowledge is power. In the end, your partner will likely respect you more and appreciate the candor.
And with all this in mind… DO have fun meeting new people, and perhaps, making some new friends along the way to finding your Mr. Right!
Deb Daufeldt, MA, MBA, NCC - www.newchaptersolutions.com
We are whom we attract!
Like attracts like and there is no way around that! Often times we don’t see the mirror in our partner because we like to 1) glorify ourselves and 2) the behaviors for the same emotional issues are different. For example, “He is abusive and I am not”, “He is emotionally unavailable and I am not”, therefore we think we are completely different. But if you look a tiny bit beneath the surface the similarities are glaring. Maybe you don’t yell but are controlling in other ways. Maybe you feel you are much more available than the truth of it (if you are protecting yourself or are guarded about anything then you are not emotionally available).
The patterns of whom we attract are set early on in life. All patterns have roots and the patterns that cause us problems have roots in dysfunction. Until we heal the roots in ourselves we will continue to recreate the same pattern. Period. As a side note, the same concept is true of yo-yo dieting that is why weight goes up and down because the underlying issue has not been addressed.
Looking at us and taking personal responsibility is what should be the hardest part of any relationship: it shouldn’t be hard getting along, communicating, establishing a flow. So if you have a history of unhealthy relationships it is because you yourself are unhealthy and until you change that you won’t attract much different. If you attract abusive or emotionally unavailable partners then you are abusive or emotionally unavailable in some way, you just may do it differently.
When I started doing this work I never allowed myself to say “yeah, but I am not like that”, instead I would say “I don’t do it like that so how do I do it”? “Since we are the same how do I do this pattern”? And would follow the path from there.
All dysfunctional patterns have roots, just like a weed. You can pull and pull the weed but until you get the root it will keep coming back. So to pull the dysfunctional root we look at our past, we have to start opening those boxes we have neatly tucked away that contain the roots. As we open the box we will feel the emotion stored inside. As we feel those feelings we are releasing the patterns tied to it. That’s all it takes is to feel the feelings. I will say that is true in most cases except when there is a history of sexual assault. Having said that, with sexual assault in your history you need therapy to recreate new dynamics because the dysfunctional patterns it creates are so deep and varied.
We are taught to fear our feelings. Yes, they can be painful but the healing process creates a stronger person for being willing to feel and permanently changes the dysfunctional patterns. The pay off is incredible and is truly life changing. Good Luck!
Cynthia Pickett, LCSW – www.cynthiapickett.com
You know the story about the man in the flood? He was waiting for God to save him and when a row boat passed by to help him to dry land, he turned it away because he was waiting for God. Then when the water was up to the second floor a helicopter came by and he turned their rescue down because he was waiting for God to save him. When he was on the roof, and the water was about to swallow the house he yelled at God, “I had faith in you and you’re letting me drown!” and God said, “Who do you think sent the boat and the helicopter?!?”
If your eyes aren’t open to what healthy love looks like, you might pass it by because it doesn’t fit your picture of “soul-mate.”
The typical picture most of us hold of a soul-mate is one where the passion and butterflies are never-ending. Where the connection is so strong, on almost every level, that the relationship is fulfilling and easeful and we long for this person whenever we’re apart.
However, this kind of love—though it does exist—is the exception, rather than the rule. There’s nothing wrong with holding out for this type of connection, but that involves possible sacrifice of other wonderful potential partners along the path. As Christine Meineke discusses in her work, everybody HAS those type of soul-mates in the world, but it’s only a small proportion of people whose romantic partner is also their soul-mate.
So if the traditional definition of soul-mate is what I mentioned above, I want to throw out an updated definition: Let’s call it Soul-Mate 2.0:
Someone who shows up for you. Someone who is emotionally present with you or willing to learn how to be. Someone who doesn’t hurt you (even if they sometimes hurt your feelings). Someone who wants to have fun with you and explore this wild world with you. Someone who is basically healthy, though imperfect. Someone you think is beautiful in their own human way.
So much of how we see people depends on our lens. If your lens screens out all but the perfect match, you may find yourself without the relationship for which you long. Try a gentler lens…one which seeks a partner who supports your path and spirit, but perhaps in a different way than you expected.
Rachel Weinstein, MA, LCPC – www.theopenheartspace.com
More than likely, if you’ve been active in the intimate relationship world, then you’ve probably been scorned by a former lover or two. As such, you may feel righteous indignation and see no need to forgive him. Or worse, you may even vehemently hold onto your anger as if you had won an Olympic gold medal for the “one who was most wronged” category. However, while you might feel fortified by your resentment toward your ex, resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other guy to die! In other words, holding on to hatred or general disdain for someone who is no longer present in your life will only negatively affect your own mental and emotional wellbeing in the long run. Hence, if your goal is to attract and create healthy love, it's time to forgive your ex and move on!
You might ask, “Can I forgive someone whose behavior may have been despicable?” Well you can and must. Here’s how:
1. Accept what is true—i.e., that you are no longer in a romantic relationship with your ex. You may not like it, but it’s what’s so.
2. Accept your ex for who he is, both the good and the bad.
3. Recognize that most people do the best they can in their relationships. So simply acknowledge that the relationship did not work out for various reasons and that both of you get to be happy by moving on. (Note, if your former partner intentionally set out to harm you wherein you were seriously abused or harmed, this may be more difficult. But nevertheless, what’s done is done and you must let go.)
4. Accept responsibility for your own contribution to why the relationship ended, even if you believe he was the primary cause of the demise. That is not to say that you were equally responsible in all ways, but more than likely you had a part in creating and maintaining the problems. For instance, maybe you stayed in the relationship too long because you believed in his potential though he never said he was going to change. Or maybe you didn't communicate your needs adequately doing the classic female stance of “why should I ask, when he should just know what I need?” So learn from your mistakes to avoid making the same ones in the future.
Once you practice the tips above-- take a deep breath, inhaling your desire for healthy love, an intention to create it, and freedom and hope for the future. Then, release the breath, exhaling all negative feelings toward your ex. Most importantly, appreciate the blessings in your life today and create the fertile ground for the seeds of romance and love to bud and blossom in the future!
Dr. Debra Mandel – www.drdebraonline.com
People are attracted to confident self-assured individuals. If you approach dating or your relationship from a place of insecurity and fear, that is difficult to hide. Basically, you want a mate, a confident partner, and a friend in life. To attract that kind of man you have to come across as a desirable, self-confident woman. For many women, that involves doing some inner work. Perhaps, this may feel uncomfortable, as it is “stretching” you beyond how you are used to being.
If your insecurities are substantial, get private counseling before starting on the road to dating. Or if you’ve been experiencing many dating or relationship disasters, now’s a good time to stop, re-evaluate your situation, and get some objective, outside help.
So what can you do to stop repeating old, negative habit patterns that are sabotaging your love life? You can step out of your comfort zone and view your situation differently. Unless you acknowledge and bring awareness to your circumstances, you won’t be able to implement new, more positive behaviors and choices!
If what you need is a spirit boost, look yourself in the mirror and acknowledge all your desirable qualities. Then make a list of your many attributes, talents and positive personality traits. Start believing in yourself and knowing that there is someone out there who will appreciate who you are.
Become aware of your self-talk. Catch yourself putting yourself down, calling yourself fat, boring, stupid, frumpy or any other term you may have previously used to make yourself feel less valuable to the world. Start consciously calling yourself a "babe" or a "great catch" and begin visualizing yourself laughing and proudly walking hand-in-hand with someone special.
Keep mentally affirming, "I deserve a great man and I am attracting him into my life" -- or any other powerful, positive statements that resonate with you.
Remember, it’s your level of belief and acceptance that counts here. What do you feel when you make those affirmations? Work on feeling the truth of what you’re saying. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen if you put your attention on feeling good about yourself – as you are – and as you are evolving through these inner work processes.
Start anticipating success and feeling like the woman you want to be. Step out of the comfortable zone you used to have and know you deserve to share your life and attributes with some other very lucky, very special person!
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Be clear about what behaviors you won’t accept from others.
Be assertive. Let others know what you want/don’t want, like/don’t like, believe/don’t believe. Above all learn to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself well. Can you think of 5 things you are not doing now but would be examples of taking good care of yourself? Learn what it means to respect yourself. Know that you deserve a healthy love.
Hang out with people whose values you admire. If you aren’t happy being single you won’t be happy in a relationship. Learn how strong you are. If you don’t recognize your worth, can you expect that someone else will? If you see yourself as a victim others will also. Get out of your comfort zone if you want your relationships to change for the better. To build confidence (which is attractive) challenge yourself.
There is irony in that to love you must be vulnerable, but be not blind.
Learn to recognize red flags. If you are confused and wondering why he is treating you this way, you are not in a healthy relationship. Do you feel you are being treated with respect? Does he truly love and respect himself? Is he bitter? Does he blame others for his situation? Beware of control by you or by him. Fear, anxiety, or confusion aren’t a part of healthy love. Constant drama, chaos, turbulence aren’t healthy. There is a problem in believing someone else’s love will heal the wounded part of you. That’s your job.
Dr. Mary Ella Viehe, PhD, LMFT - www.makingloveinmarriage.com
“All of your relationships are inside of you. There's no relationship out there. There is only the reflection of what you are doing inside yourself and how you're dealing with relationships inside of you, not out there. It may look as if a relationship is you with another person or with other people, but it is always you within you, and relationships are one of the greatest mirrors you can have for yourself-your patterns, your beliefs, your conditioned responses.”
- Are you tired of attracting the same types of people and relationships in your life?
- Does it seem as though each relationship has a very similar theme ?
- Do you “settle” for an unhappy relationship rather than be alone?
Whether you are currently in a relationship, looking for one, or just broke up from one, you have one important question to ask yourself: “What is my relationship with myself?” The answer to that will determine the relationship you have with others.
If you are looking for a relationship with someone that is respectful, loving, and nurturing, you need to look first if you are giving that to yourself. If you realize that you are critical, withholding, neglectful of yourself and your own needs, you will often attract partners who treat you that way as well.
Our relationships can be one of the greatest teachers we have in life. They not only help us learn loving, patience, boundaries, effective communication, but they are a mirror of our relationship to ourselves.
Every doubt and insecurity we have about ourselves and our own worthiness is brought forward in our relationships. Every need to prove ourselves, to seek approval, and our sense of safety and security is played out with the people in our lives.
What do your relationships say to you or about you?
If you were to look in to your relationship reflections, what does this mirror tell you about the following:
- How safe you feel to open your heart
- How worthy you believe yourself to be
- How honest you are with yourself
- Unhealed traumas or emotional wounds
- Beliefs about being good enough
- What you value in others that you are not seeing in yourself
- How you love and take care of yourself
- How safe you feel to be yourself
- The responsibility you take for yourself or for others
Instead of blaming others for not being who we want them to be or not loving us the way we want, we can begin to look at our relationships in a new way. Rather than trying to change the other person, we can begin to heal those parts of ourselves being reflected in other people that upset us.
For our own personal evolution and spiritual development, it is very helpful to become an observer at times. To look at the situations and people that trigger anger, guilt, loneliness, helplessness. What are they saying about you? What part inside of you needs your attention? What is the belief about yourself or about life that you’re holding on to?
When the quality of the relationship with our selves improves, the quality of our other relationships will shift as well. The actions of other people lose their power to affect us, or we get the courage to speak up. Sometimes we get the courage to leave a situation. And this time, they don’t show up again in another form, because we are not the same. We have moved on and are creating new reflections that are part of our Soul’s purpose and for our Highest Good.
Dixie Clark, MS, DSS - www.dixieclark.com
So many successful "modern day" women learned that the only person they can depend on is themselves. They thought they had to prove how strong, capable and powerful they were. Weakness, asking for help, or needing anything meant being less than.
We couldn't have been more wrong. I say we because although I've discovered the absolute blessing of receiving and surrendering, both of those "muscles" could still use some strengthening. I can still get caught in the go-go-go, gotta-get-sh*t-done, keep-it-under-control dogma that society appears to put on us. Yet now as soon as I notice the real pain that masculine driven approach creates, I breathe, open, and surrender.
At one time that masculine way of being felt normal, comfortable and natural. It's so wasn't. It was an inauthentic and even manipulative attempt to try to feel safe… to not have to depend on anyone (particularly a man)… to remain in control.
When I got real, when my clients and program participants get real… that's not how we want to live our lives. We want something very different, but we get to afraid or ashamed to admit it. That way of life has left us overwhelmed, exhausted and usually lonely (even in a relationship).
Nature works like this.
The feminine attracts the masculine. The masculine attracts the feminine. Conversely, feminine repels feminine sexually. Masculine repels masculine. And for the last 60+ years, way too many naturally feminine women have put on their masculine personas and started driving life and they repelled the very men they're attracted to.
The masculine mask a woman wears energetically repels the masculine man she so hungers for. A masculine man wants to make a difference in his woman's life and that mean she has to receive his efforts and gifts. She has to let him contribute to her life. Take a breath… She has to surrender to his wisdom, guidance and leadership. That doesn't make her weak… It makes her a happy woman.
I tell people that come to my events… The mantra of the modern-day woman is "No... no. I got it." While the mantra of the happy, in love woman is, "Thank you,". as she receives.
So although we could take some time and answer some questions to get really clear on whether you have a feminine sexual essence, if you're attracted to a masculine man who knows who he is in life and where he's going… If you're attracted to one who might put you up against a wall in a passionate kiss… You're likely feminine at your core.
The path to hot and happy love is to build your receiving and surrender muscles.
That means you have to find your trust of men again. It means realizing that having needs is normal. It means you have to know it's OK to be supported and you don't have to do it all.
I invite you to reconnect to the extraordinary woman in you…. and great man will certainly find his way to you!
Joanna Kennedy, Passion and Intimacy Expert - www.happinessloveandpleasure.com
The magnetic draw of falling in love often leaves us dreamy-eyed and unaware of red flags that might alert us of old and unhealthy patterns. Engaging in “conscious dating” will help you prevent these disasters and allow you to create much more viable bonds with your loved one.
Conscious dating goes beyond simply becoming mindful or aware of your patterns and old ways. Instead, it is an active commitment to participate in the fun and joy of the dating process while simultaneously monitoring your choices, behaviors, and thoughts to assure that you are maintaining only healthy ties. Many people look back and identify red flags that appeared early in a relationship, only to be overlooked in order to maintain the connection. Although the red flag is clearly visible now, remaining conscious and committed to creating only healthy relationships at the time would have prevented the heartache that followed.
You may be engaging in “unconscious” dating if:
1. You often talk yourself out of feeling hurt, awkward, or upset by something your new dating partner did or said, and only look at the positives of a relationship,
2. You recognize yourself falling into a familiar pattern of thinking or acting which resulted in a difficult breakup,
3. You feel like you are constantly justifying you or your partner’s behavior,
4. You feel like something is just not “quite right”, but you can’t identify what it is, and
5. The relationship is happening at jet speed and you are swept away by the bliss, rather than taking time to create a strong foundation.
To be more conscious in a relationship, consider the following:
1. Prior to dating someone new, take time to identify any patterns of thoughts, emotions, behaviors, or actions you have shown or witnessed in the past that contributed to an unhealthy relationship. Watch for these signs as you enter the dating process.
2. Allow yourself ample time in-between dates, phone calls, or texts to fully explore what is working and what is not. Take note of each, as this will help you learn whatever you’re supposed to learn from this particular person and relationship,
3. Monitor how much time you spend thinking about this new person while away from them. If you can’t focus on daily tasks, ask yourself: “Are you over-concerned that they will not like you?”, “Are you authentic in how you interact and speak with them?”, and “Are you trying too hard to impress them—or they, you?”
4. Pay attention to whether your interactions seem “equal”. Are you equally interested in getting to know the other person?
5. Go ahead and make the proverbial list of what you want in a partner and relationship. Then, turn the tables and ask yourself, “What do I need to do to prepare myself for receiving and maintaining a relationship like this?”
6. Acknowledge the things you need to work on for yourself in order to be the partner you’d like to be. Then, get to work!
7. Conscious dating is a two-way street. If you feel you are working harder than the other person, you’re probably right. Make note of this.
It takes two to tango, and there is nothing more important that forming a conscious and healthy bond with your potential life partner. When you exercise conscious dating from the first time you interact, it will be much more likely that you will find the man or woman of your dreams.
Dr. Katherine Kelly – www.drkatherinetkelly.com
How many times have you, or someone you know, said “he’s the one” only to realize several months later that he was NOT?
The honeymoon period can last anywhere between a few weeks, and in some cases up to 2 years! During this time, you have the ability to ‘ignore’ the warning signs and the ‘alarm bells’; you will make excuses and reasons to remain in the relationship because you are in LOVE. We have all heard the saying “love is blind”, well the initial stages of love definitely can affect the way you see your relationship with your partner.
Time and time again, you may find yourself moving from one relationship and heartache to the next.
To know your relationship requirements and needs is so important if you want to avoid continuously falling for the wrong person. Knowing your requirements and needs is like having your ‘shopping list’ when you are choosing a partner based on his qualities and compatibility – it is not a shopping list based on his looks or how much money he earns.
When you know what you need and require in a relationship, YOU become the chooser and YOU ARE in control. There are 7+ billion people on this planet, so you can’t say “there is no one out there for me!”, if you do, you have a scarcity mentality. Yes, you can choose and attract your ideal partner when you know what you want and you won’t settle for anything less.
So what are requirements and needs when it comes to relationships?
Relationship Requirements are non-negotiable and they MUST be met for your relationship to work. An example of a common requirement is fidelity. If this requirement is broken, your relationship will not work. Requirements are normally ‘deal breakers’! Other common requirements can include: integrity, emotional intimacy, common life vision, romance, flexibility etc.
What is non-negotiable to you in your relationship? Is it “being treated like a priority?” If it is, don’t ignore your intuition, and the behavior of your partner (warning signs) if you’re not being treated like a priority! Particularly in the early stages of your relationship (honeymoon period), listen to your gut, not your heart.
Needs in a relationship are negotiable, but if your needs continue being unmet, they can become deal breakers and you may find your relationship ending. Needs are emotional and functional. Functional needs are practical needs such as helping out with chores, meals etc. Emotional needs are the way you are being treated and accepted. Now, think about your ideal relationship (not the relationship you may be in at the moment).
What do you need in a relationship to be happy? To have a happy and successful relationship, you must be clear about your needs. Do you need intimacy? Do you need fun? If you’re not getting them in your relationship, why not? Is your partner willing and able to meet your needs? If not, what are you going to do to make sure your needs are met? You can be creative and compromise on how your needs are going to be met, for example, having fun with a friend instead of your partner, but DON’T compromise to the point where your needs are not being met at all; you’re compromising yourself and you will be unhappy.
- Make a list of your 6-10 relationship requirements (if your requirement can be negotiated, it’s probably a need rather than a requirement).
- Know and own your requirements - don’t compromise your sense of self and ignore the warning signs!
- Identify as many needs as you can (as you change and grow, your needs will also change, so review them regularly).
- Take control and responsibility for your needs and requirements in the relationship. Communicate your needs and requirements with your partner, he’s not a mind reader.
- Make a Vision for your ideal relationship and life. What does it look like? Do you want 2 children and live in the suburbs? If you have a partner, check out your partner’s relationship vision (he may want totally different things and it’s better to find out now rather than later).
- If you’re looking for a relationship, be the chooser – not a victim. Remember your requirements and needs in a relationship. If he is not able and willing to meet them, move on!
- Remove any thoughts of scarcity when choosing and attracting your ideal partner.
- Be authentic - Love yourself first and foremost. ‘Like attracts like’, if you love yourself, you will attract a person who will love you for YOU because you’re WORTH IT!
Sharon Craig, Relationship Coach – www.coach2connect.co
Whoever coined the phrase, Wearing your heart on your sleeve, probably tried to be invulnerable. This phrase may date back to the Middle Ages when Emperor Claudius II declared marriage illegal – in an effort to create tougher soldiers. Claudius probably realized that while vulnerability made better lovers, it also softened people and gave them empathy – qualities incompatible with war.
When I say “vulnerable,” you might think: weak, pathetic, naïve, needy, sad, or overexposed. But while vulnerability has many aspects, one in particular helps relationships grow and makes us more likely to connect in the first place: Openness.
Vulnerability means openness. When we’re vulnerable, we’re open to the experience of relationship in the moment. We respond to the other person because we’re human. We let ourselves be known by them and we trust they’ll do the same. We allow ourselves to feel whatever we feel in the relationship and we trust that the other will treat us with kindness.
Think about the opposite of vulnerability: rock-solid independence and impermeability. It says, “You can’t get to me.” You might see this in your friends or family. By resisting vulnerability, they block opportunities for closeness. They communicate, “I’ve got this. I don’t need you.” They put up a shield that keeps others from really knowing who they are, at a soul level. So, their loved ones constantly feel left out of something. To resist feeling vulnerable means to keep people at arm’s length and to pretend we are self-sufficient and unmoved by their behavior. The effect is mutual loneliness.
Here are some ways to let natural vulnerability nourish your relationship.
1. Make eye contact whenever you can. Much bonding happens through the eyes.
2. Listen and learn: allow your partner/friend to teach you something.
3. Notice your internal responses to your partner’s behavior. Let some of them show on the outside. See what happens. Just observe.
Maybe rock-solid independence helped those Roman soldiers (to a degree) in their fight against the Goths. But now we know: hearts do us more good when they are a little exposed.
Dr. Deborah Cox – www.deborahlcox.com
Many of us dream of being in a committed, loving relationship with someone who accepts us for who we are and loves us unconditionally. This makes sense from a very primal perspective.
We’re hardwired for connection with others.
Imagine a young child, needing care, love, and shelter from a parent. The toddler’s very survival depends on being able to count on another’s love for survival. As we mature, and move into adult, reciprocal bonds, we maintain that need for acceptance and emotional security.
This safe haven, however, can be threatened.
When we first meet someone, how do we know that they will accept us for not only our virtues, but also for our shortcomings? We so desire love, but fear that our flaws will drive our partner away. Our natural tendency is to be on our best behavior, hiding the demons far from the admiring gaze of our partner. This mask that we wear is not sustainable, however. We are human, and fallible. Complex beings, we have parts of ourselves that we are proud of and parts we’d rather deny. But the integration of all aspects of ourselves is what makes us unique.
By having the courage to be vulnerable and allowing our true selves to be seen by those dearest to us, we create an opportunity to become even closer.
Marnee Reiley, LMFT - www.YourOCTherapist.com
Our level of self-worth is directly proportional to the relationships we attract. In other words, how we treat ourselves is almost always how our partner will treat us.
In order to attract a healthy, reciprocally loving and respectful relationship, it is vital that we do our inner work and heal our unworthiness.
Below is a list that is near and dear to my heart as it is the exact format I used to heal my unworthiness in order to attract the loving relationship I enjoy today.
4 Steps to Healing Self-Worth
1. The Discovery Phase – Similar to court cases, this is the time information is gathered. It about becoming radically honest with ourselves about our past relationship's demise. In essence we are exploring what went wrong.
The discovery phase has the propensity to feel shameful as we explore the “ugly” associated with our relationship's end. I invite you to do your best to stay neutral during this time. The walk of shame never leads to empowerment – it only perpetuates stuckness.
2. The Sorting Phase – In this step we sort through our partner’s wrongs and our own. Again, we release the need for blame while we openly put our findings into categories. Theirs and Ours.
For example: Mine – Neediness, jealousy, controlling etc.
Theirs – Lying, disrespectful, substance abuse etc.
It can be very difficult to separate our wrongs from our partners especially when our partner’s bad behavior far outweighs ours. Remember, just because he/she was a jerk, doesn’t mean you didn’t contribute in some way.
Hang with me now! I understand you might be feeling the urge to run! This really works I promise!
3. Responsibility Phase – In this phase we take 100% responsibility for what is ours and ours alone. There may be a lot or there may be very little. No matter what you discover, own it, bring it to the surface and allow it to be seen! In fact, shout “Hallelujah! I’m on my way!”
We only have the power to change ourselves. Any behavior we recognize and own begins to change immediately. What we bring to consciousness is easier to spot and now gives us the opportunity to heal it.
4. The Work Phase – Now that we have taken responsibility for our part, we can begin to heal the underlying wounds that have caused our unhealthy behaviors. This is the phase in which we formulate an Action Plan for Healing by researching our topics, joining support groups, empowerment talks and/or hiring an expert in the field.
Unless or until we do the work to heal ourselves, we will always be approaching relationships from the same energetic level as the past, hence, repeatedly attracting partners who mirror that back to us.
You have all it takes to attract a loving relationship. The only thing stopping you is healing your self-worth and being willing to stand up for it!
Kristen Brown, Author & Certified Empowerment Coach – www.sweetempowerment.com
Are you really ready? Keep your mind clear and your heart open.
Chances are you have been in a relationship emotionally, physically, or both, that still triggers stirrings, either in your heart, or elsewhere in your body. You may be spending time and energy clinging to those feelings though you know it truly is time to find something real, with someone who makes you feel understood, cared for, confident, and excited – in the flesh.
If such thoughts and feelings create boundaries that hold you hostage, release energetic cords that bind you. There's no need to erase anything, so feel free to keep the memories and lessons, good and bad, while giving them a perspective that will set you free. Journal, have a little personal ceremony, or whatever your imagination suggests so that you can create openness for your heart's energy to fully embrace all things healthy and new to come.
Another potential block is a belief that love is out there somewhere and that you need to be or do something to GO FIND it if only you knew its exact location and had the courage to go there. Love within yourself, enjoyment of yourself, and treating yourself as your most cherished possession will take you “there”.
Imagine your 96 year old self looking back on today. What would she want you to know? What love would she impart? Sit down, preferably outside, away from all the usual distractions, and have a visit with her. Jot down what comes through. You know she would want you to pull out all the stops and shine, starting right where you are.
Love will find you when you have given yourself permission to approach life from your highest capacity and deepest heart. An honest commitment to love yourself forever will take you to a mindfulness and truth that can purify you of FEAR (which is, as you may have heard, false evidence appearing real).
You most certainly will shine when you are living in that higher place. Embrace your essential self. Name and claim your signature strengths by taking the free VIA Institute on Character strengths survey on my website. Lean into your top strengths and confidently embrace the energy there. This is you, at your natural best. Living your authentic best will help bring out the true character of those around you and offer them the opportunity to shine as well.
Key to attraction is “kiss-ability”.
When you are loving yourself and authentic, you are most kissable. Keep your expectations in line with your self-love. How does this person make you feel about yourself? Do you laugh together comfortably, and honestly enjoy each other's laugh? Does he/she turn toward your bids for attention and connection? Are your life philosophies in line? Are your hopes and aspirations compatible? Can you see yourself turning toward each other 20 years from now? Would your 96 year old, well-loved self approve?
Laurie Curtis, CPPC, CiPP – www.curtisease.com
Here are a few ways to bring more pleasure into your life:
1. Focus on sensuality and general feeling of well-being over strong, local sexual stimulation. Connect with sensual pleasure through your senses. Eat or drink delicious foods and allow the experience to heighten your senses. Smell and admire a flower and let yourself be enlivened. Enjoy a walk in nature and create an atmosphere of beauty. Massage your body with oils, take a bath, and move your body before engaging in any sexual activity, either solo or with a partner.
2. Move your body in non-linear ways. Notice how much of your daily activity, including workouts is ballistic and angular. Take some time to add smooth, round, and unstructured movement. This could be done by dancing without choreography or allowing yourself to simply undulate your spine, hips, or any other body part without any agenda for progression. Simply allow your body’s intelligence to guide your movement. Play with contraction and release of tension while beginning to feel areas of your body that are already pleasurable. Then allow your movements to amplify the pleasure that is already there.
3. Explore writings or videos that induce pleasure and arousal in your body. Women’s bodies are built to learn by resonance and assimilation. Experiencing pleasure by reading or seeing other women’s sensations informs your own body and heightens arousal. Research what material informs your body’s sensual reactions and keep a “library” as a way of inducing heightened senses.
4. Create a daily ritual of giving attention to your body. This could be dancing to one song when you come home from work, taking a bath, or even just massaging your hands while you watch TV. Small and often brings much better results than planning a once-a-week spa or yoga day. Pleasure is our birthright and always available, but like any other activity it needs to be cultivated and invited. A little cultivation goes a long way!
Michaela Boehm, Intimacy Teacher - www.michaelaboehm.com
Learn what a "destructive" relationship is versus an "interfering" relationship.
Destructive Relationships are those that are destructive to health, well being and overall safety. Learning how to prepare for leaving this kind of relationship is a delicate process that deserves a safety plan, including domestic violent resources and perhaps professional help.
Interfering Relationships are those relationships that may be interfering with well being, however, there is some level of hope that with collaboration and professional help, both individuals may be able to over come obstacles that are interfering with the relationship and learn how to create healthy relationship skills.
If you decide to end either of the relationships whether to destructive or interfering, the key is to learn how to not maintain unhealthy relationship practices, which is a process called Opposite Action for unhealthy love.
Avoiding and decreasing contact with individuals that are not increasing health and well being.
If you find you are repeatedly attracting destructive or interfering relationships, the key is to explore what it is in you that is attracted to the to these types of individuals and how is it that you are not cutting off, avoiding or decreasing all contact with individuals that are destructive to you. This is up to you to end the relationship or not start or welcome it in, however the reality is that not all destructive behaviors are revealed initially, they come in slowly and insidiously, therefore, being mindful and aware, slow down sex, take the time to get to know the individual and listen to your intuitive sense of self, which may mean you have an objective individual such as a therapist to help bring in the reality checks.
Learning how to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself is the key to attracting healthy partners.
Remember, healthy people are attracted to mutual healthy people. Therefore, learn what healthy practices are for you, such as: exercise, sleep, nutrition, minimal mood altering substances, building mastery, being kind and gentle, Interested in others, easy manner in life, fair, having values, not lying or exaggerating weaknesses, and willing to say no or ask for what you want. Remember, you may not be everyone's type, and that's okay, date yourself in the meantime before your healthy relationship arrives.
Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT - www.lcbahar.wix.com
It’s important to show empathy, care for others, and want to help in the context of a mutually supportive relationship. I see a lot of women in lopsided relationships where they are doing all of the giving and receiving little in return.
Sometimes we don’t realize that our caregiving has crossed the line into codependency or unhealthy care taking. Women are socialized to be care takers, which makes it hard for us to see when our behavior is no longer supporting a healthy self and a healthy relationship.
A healthy relationship is made up of two whole and independent people who mutually support each other. It doesn’t work for one person to do all of the giving and one to do all the taking.
Several problems can result:
1. Your needs don’t get met. You’re so busy meeting all of your partner’s needs that you don’t prioritize yourself. Eventually you become resentful and burnt out because you are taking care of your partner, but not receiving care in return. You’re also not making time to take care of yourself. You don’t go out with your friends or see your family. You don’t prioritize exercise because it takes you away from your partner. You may not feel worthy of spending time or money on yourself. Sometimes women bring these ideas with them into relationships but often they choose partners who directly or indirectly reinforce the idea that they aren’t worthy.
2. You become frustrated and discouraged because you are trying to change your partner. You are working harder than she or he is to improve things. You suggest counseling, self-help books, or 12-step meetings and all you get in return is broken promises. All of your efforts to fix or change him/her could be energy spent elsewhere – on your own hobbies, career, or personal growth.
3. You lose sight of who you really are and what’s important to you. Because your focus is on your partner, over time, you lose touch with your own goals and values. You compromise so much of who you are to please or take care of your partner that you lose yourself in the process.
In order to attract healthy love and let go of codependency and unhealthy care taking you can:
1. Prioritize meeting your own emotional needs by showing yourself the same love and care that you give to others.
2. Set clear boundaries so that you and your partner both know what to expect. Boundaries demonstrate respect for yourself and others.
3. Begin to speak up. Specifically ask your partner for what you need or want. Don’t assume that s/he knows.
4. If you’ve asked and your partner still can’t or won’t consistently offer support and help, carefully consider your options to accept him/her or leave the relationship.
Most importantly, remember that we all deserve mutually caring relationships where we both give and receive support.
Sharon Martin, LCSW – www.sharonmartincounseling.com
The practice of assertiveness: being authentic in our dealings with others; treating our values and persons with decent respect in social contexts; refusing to fake the reality of who we are or what we esteem in order to avoid disapproval; the willingness to stand up for ourselves and our ideas in appropriate ways in appropriate contexts.
- Nathaniel Branden
We all want to have healthy love relationships where we feel love and cherished, where we can trust that our partner will be there for us 100% of the time to support us when we’re down and be our greatest cheerleader. How can we find that person who can provide us with those qualities?
To answer this question, it’s important to understand the difference between emotionally healthy and unhealthy men because we are attracted to men who are similar to us in the area of self-esteem and confidence.
Emotionally unhealthy men have low self-esteem and want to control you. They will tend to say hurtful things or demean you as a way to get you to do something you might not want to do. They are threatened by strong women and, thus, are attracted to those women who are more submissive.
Emotionally healthy men, on the other hand, are very self-assured. They have no need to manipulate or control women to feel good because they already like themselves. They will totally love and support you and if they hurt you in any way, they will be accountable for it and try to fix it to make you happy. Emotionally healthy men won’t put you down or neglect your feelings. They will be your “soft pillow” to fall on where you can safely share your feelings without being told that you’re just being too sensitive. These type of men want an assertive woman who knows what she wants, who can communicate clearly her feelings in an open, honest and fearless way so that he doesn’t have to guess where she stands on things.. For him, assertive women stay in the present, avoid drama, aren’t needy because they control their own lives and don’t play games to control or try to change him to get what they want.
The first thing to do to attract an emotionally healthy man is to be an emotionally healthy woman who’s not afraid to share her truest feelings, opinions and needs no matter what they be—both good and bad. She is confident, strong and knows want she wants. She is an assertive woman who loves herself and can stand up for herself when she feels taken advantage of without violating the rights of others.
According to Rori Raye, author of Have the Relationship You Want, you want to tell your partner what you want without making him wrong. You do this by using “I” statements such as, “I feel lonely when you work so late at night.” or “It would make me feel so good to spend more time with you.” rather than, “Why do you have to work so late all the time?”
Emotionally healthy men are attracted to women who are self-confident and have high self-esteem.
Maxwell Maltz said that we are injured and hurt emotionally, not so much by other people or what they say and don’t say, but by our own attitude and our own response. Therefore, it’s important to have these skills, which are gained through assertive behavior where the woman makes conscious decisions to take risks, to face her fears, to share her feelings with a friend, to set goals for herself and goes after them. She says and does what she wants and doesn’t want by setting boundaries that helps protect her sense of self while maintaining a respectful stance with others. Here, her gained achievements through being assertive fuel her feelings of healthy self-worth and confidence. She loves life and is respected by others. These qualities put her in line of attracting healthy love through emotionally healthy men, who, in turn, will treat her with respect in a kind and loving way.
Dr. Joanne Wendt – www.drjoannewendt.com
At the core of this issue are self-love and integrity.
If you are the healthiest version of yourself, then you are ready to attract something equally healthy. If you appreciate the effort it takes to be healthy, then you can appreciate what you have to offer as a partner. You want a partner that can offer you just as much as you have to offer. Do your self-care and maintain the integrity of your emotional and physical health. Be the healthiest you can be so that you are balanced and clear about staying in your integrity.
What does the healthiest version of you look like?
What will it take to manifest that version of you? One steadfast rule that will help you stay on course is to never compromise your integrity. Be balanced and know the difference between healthy and productive compromise versus giving in beyond what is fair. Being healthy is about balance and sharing the best of yourself. Staying in your integrity is about coming from a place of strength rather than fear. If you are frazzled, it is hard to come from a place of strength. If you are balanced, maintaining healthy boundaries is much easier.
We tend to make poor decisions when we are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
Be mindful of unhealthy patterns and habits.
Know yourself and be honest about the things that you need to work on within yourself. Identify your triggers. Focus on being the best version of you that you can be by making decisions that support your effort to be healthy. Avoid toxic people and unhealthy relationships. Set boundaries and sever ties with people who are not supportive and engage you in unhealthy behaviors. Surround yourself with people that energize you. Work on developing habits that create structure and provide you with a foundation in your life.
Stand your ground when you need to and do not lower your standards to accommodate others.
Be mindful of the context of a situation in which this boundary applies. If he is toxic and abusive, it is up to him to do something about it. You cannot save him from himself. Only he has the power to change his behavior so don’t stay in the relationship thinking you can change him. Forcing you or him to spend time with each other thinking it will fix the relationship is self-defeating. Sometimes knowing when to call it a day is a win. Leaving before losing yourself is about maintaining your integrity.
You want the time that you spend with someone to be quality time. The quality of the relationship is about what you do together and whether you bring out the best in each other. It is healthy to be able to spend time apart. This also allows him to miss you and you to miss him. You can appreciate each other more when you are able to spend some time apart and work on your own self-care. That way you both bring the best you have to offer when you come together.
Don´t accept something into your life that is detrimental to your well-being.
Doing so would be compromising your integrity. You are worthy of dignity and respect, but this starts with you and what you are willing to tolerate. Doing more than you are able to and doing more than you know you are capable of is compromising your integrity. Don’t over commit and don’t take responsibility for something that is not yours. Don’t change you or your plans for anyone or your will lose yourself. You are the only one responsible for your inner well-being and no one else.
If you have insecurities and struggle with low self-esteem, work with a therapist to develop skills that help you gain confidence. Something to work on in therapy might be examining what keeps you in relationships that no longer serve you. Where does the idea come from that you have to tolerate something that is not fulfilling or does not make you happy? Work on setting your own standards for what you want in a relationship and do not settle for less. It is telling of how you feel about yourself when you settle for less. It is compromising the integrity of who you are and devaluing what you have to offer.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
How do you date without getting too emotionally attached? Great question!
Keeping yourself from getting too emotionally attached can be the difference between feeling empowered and feeling desperate in your relationship. When you put all of your “emotional eggs” in the other person's basket, you start to lose yourself.
Dating requires a game plan to keep from losing yourself. Keep reading to learn how to maintain your emotional independence while dating.
Fantasy Is NOT Reality!
It’s exciting to think of him being “the one” but those fantasies can trick you into thinking you know him when you really don't. This creates a false sense of security that lets you depend on him like you would a long-time friend.
If it's been awhile since you’ve dated, it's like going to a restaurant when you're starving. You don't care WHAT you eat as long as it's edible. This coupled with a fear of being alone can steer the ship in the wrong direction.
Like Yourself First
You deserve to have a loving, trusting relationship and not everyone fits that profile. Without healthy self-esteem, your standards for dating will be low. You might think that you shouldn't be too picky. But you need to be!
If you don't feel good about yourself, you might let them pick you. Then you end up in a relationship that you don't really want. And that’s never a good sign…
Keep Your Friends
A healthy relationship has a balance of spending time together and apart. When you make him your everything, your sense of self disappears as you become more dependent on him and less on friends and family.
If you drew out a pie shaped circle, how much time goes to the relationship? What's that time compared to work, friends, family, exercise? Too much time indicates dependency.
Don’t settle for less
Dating without knowing what you want is like shooting in the dark.
It is almost like interviewing - you go through a series of intense questions until you get “an offer.” If he is not right for you, for any reason, you need not apply!
Do you know your non-negotiables when it comes to dating?
For instance, is your end goal marriage and kids? Do you have a strong faith that you want to share? What values are so important that you won't commit without them?
These values provide a blueprint for finding a compatible partner. The key is following through once you set them up. Dating is way less emotional when you know what you're looking for!
By following these tips you’ll become skilled in a way that makes dating fun. If he doesn't call back, you won't be crushed because your social life is still in gear.
If you take the time to get to know him and not let emotions dictate your actions, you’ll always be at choice and that is a powerful place to be.
Michelle Farris, LMFT – www.counselingrecovery.com
The best way to prepare for that ‘just right’ loving relationship with a lifetime partner is to feel love for whatever is beautiful to you in yourself, first of all, and in your life - a cloud, a flower, a child, whatever presents itself to be adored in each moment.
When we fill ourselves up with love, we radiate it. We are not coming from a needy emptiness. We attract that fullness in another.
True love is not really an emotion, it is an eternal state of being that we open ourselves to. It is possible to include everyone and everything in it.
When we live in a state of love, we are able to discern when another lacks that fullness, not from a place of judgement, but from a place of accepting integrity. We are able to recognize who is capable of love, choosing love in their life, and who is still needing it from a lack of love.
Without this discernment, we cannot make the important choice of who to share a lifetime of love from. As Rainer Maria Rilke shared in Letters to a Young Poet, it is the ultimate challenge in life, “For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other. This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess.”
Maryanna Bock, LCSW, MEd - www.lightcoach.com
The best way I know of being in healthy relationships is to have high standards and not to ever be convinced to lower them.
It starts with knowing what you want from a relationship and from a partner. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never know when you’ve got it. Ask yourself what you liked about your past relationships to start the list, then ask yourself what you really didn’t like and figure out what the opposite would be. This is just the beginning, and you’ll want to review these again and again once you compare your thoughts with reality.
Some of the things on this list will reflect your values in life and in relationships. There’s no sense in starting a relationship with someone who does not value what is important to you, or at least doesn’t understand how important it is to you. Make sure you are asking for what you really want in a partner, not just what you think you can get or what you have gotten in the past. There’s no need for you to give up on your true desires. You’ve done that before, and it didn’t turn out so well.
Once you know what you’re looking for, figure out what are the things you know you can never compromise on and which are things you are willing to overlook for the right person. A friend of mine recently told me she will never again compromise on dating someone who doesn’t love dogs because that is such an important part of her life, and she wants to make sure that she shares that with the next person she dates. Of course, over time you will also figure out what things you thought were important maybe aren’t, as well. And you are always allowed to change your mind, just do it with careful consideration.
I assume that if you’re dating someone, the goal is to see if they’re a person you want to spend your life with. If nothing else, you’ll be spending a lot of time with that person while you’re dating them. They should be someone who makes that time worthwhile, someone who uplifts you and helps you grow, someone who makes you a better person. Your high standards will allow you to be ready for this person when he comes into your life. You’ll recognize that he has the qualities you’ve been looking for, and you’ll be able to see if he’s the right one for you – or at least the right risk to take.
Having high standards will mean that you pass up a lot of opportunities that don’t meet your guidelines, but they aren’t the right opportunities for you anyway.
Your friends may tease you, but they will also know that they shouldn’t introduce you to anyone who doesn’t qualify. I hope there are men out there who have set the bar high, too. And I hope they’re out there looking for you!
Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.org
Some of us carry our wounds like badges of honor. The battle scars won in love. Our scars become the stories we share. Each person has a story to tell of the pains they have survived. Others bury them away. All of us carry wounds received throughout our lifetime. Some directly related to our lovers, others our families and some ourselves and situations. Your wounds do not have to define who you are. Each story, is a chapter in your life, rich with lessons. When you release the wounds you carry, you release yourself. You open yourself up to vulnerability and unconditional love.
I love the power of ritual and ceremony in releasing wounds. The power in honoring the story, the experience, the pain and lessons. But, how do you release the wounds? Let them go?
Give it away! Fire. Air. Water. Earth. (You can do all or just one. Remember be gentle with yourself. And the deeper the wound, more attention and time will be needed.)
Honor your wounds with patience and love.
1. Write it out. Tell your story. What is it that you are carrying? Hiding? Buried? What are the war stories you tell? Get to the raw emotion, let these emotions out. Let them tell their story. The story of pain, betrayal, violation, insecurity, let what must rise to the surface, rise.
2. Start on a new piece of paper. What have you gained? What are the lessons. What are the positives.
3. Take your war stories. Write everything you want to release and let go on a piece of paper.
4. Rip it and burn it! Down to ashes. Or set it down stream. Or burry it. I say, burn it. Add water to the ashes, and then spread the ashes.
5. As it burns, or floats, or returns to the Earth, say, “I give myself permission to let this go, all of it consciously and unconsciously (you can say out loud what it is that you want to let go and release, as well).”
6. Lastly, let’s get it out of your system. Free your body. Stomp your feet, scream, dance, cry.
Make time monthly to let go of what you are holding on to. Do what you are called to do. Perhaps you need to dance, burn a list, sit in the river, scream. Don’t censor yourself. This is you letting go. You’ve learned your lessons. You have the scars to prove it. Now set them free. Set the intention that you are releasing all that no longer serves your highest good. Give yourself permission to let go and release. Listen to your soul. What does she call you to do?
Margaret Bell, MA, NCC – www.forwardkindheart.com
“I never want to see you again! You are a liar. You don’t love me or care about me! I hate you! Goodbye!”
The relationship is over. There’s no turning back. As you relive the fight that ended it for sure this time, you realize the hurtful remarks hurled from his side of the battle zone constituted only part of the picture. Yes, he did say and do those things that were so painful for you. And in that moment you do hate him for the devastation you feel.
Once you have cooled down, you also realize that as much as you hate him, there remains some residual love, too. You start beating yourself up.
“Why did I say or do what I knew would be hurtful?”
Sometimes the hardest one to forgive is our self. Yet forgiveness sets us free. Free from self-condemnation. Free from repeats. It brings to consciousness our part in the situation, what we can change. The greater our awareness, the healthier we are.
It is easy to go to the extreme of, “It’s all his fault.” It’s just as easy to think, “It’s all my fault.” Neither is true.
The hardest part involves finding the path to forgiveness. Perhaps these suggestions may help:
1. Evaluate what happened, and identify your role. When we can see the bigger picture, it is easier to forgive ourselves. For example, I’m elbowed by the person standing in line in front of me. What is my part? I’m standing too close. It is easier to forgive myself when I can parse out who did what. I can do something about what I did. I have no power to change another. Next time, I will be sure to leave more room. Sometimes more of the fault lies with the other person, sometimes guilt for the bigger share is mine.
2. Admit the need to forgive yourself and let go of the strong desire you may have to hold onto the disappointment, guilt and resentment towards self.
3. Ask God (your higher power) to give you the power to forgive what you cannot forgive on your own.
4. Accept that it will take time; it’s a process.
5) Acknowledge that it did hurt. A LOT.
6) Choose to forgive, for your own sake, not theirs.
7) Make a conscious decision to let it go, and change what you can going forward.
As you free yourself from past mistakes, shortcomings, and failures, you open yourself to healthier love and happier life.
Charlene Benson, LPC, NCC - www.bensontherapist.com
After counseling many women, I believe one of the best ways to attract healthy love is to be your self and let go of perfectionism.
Perfectionism can attract unhealthy relationships and block healthy love. Perfectionism can involve having a highly critical mind, being unable to relax or let go, a need for constant approval, thinking that you have to perform in order to be accepted, or believing you have to be perfect to be valued. In order to attract healthy love, you must have a healthy image of yourself!
My favorite relationship coach used to say relationships are just mirrors.
They mirror back to you what you believe about yourself and how you feel about yourself.
What is being reflected back to you? Where do you hold yourself back or sabotage yourself? Are you being a perfectionist? I remember when I used to work really hard at pleasing men, and would hide my imperfections. This would lead me to feel frustrated, exhausted and misunderstood. I finally decided to just be honest, and tell the other person how I really felt. It was a risk, but it was worth it. I now believe that healthy love likes honesty. Healthy love appreciates self-respect. Healthy love accepts differences.
I hear from a lot of women who are afraid to be vulnerable. I get it. However, I look at it from a different perspective now. To me, being vulnerable simply means being real about who you are and what you want. It means taking a stand on your truth. What is your truth? What do you believe about love? Take out a piece of paper and answer these questions for yourself.
Pay attention to what you believe about men.
Does it sound neutral, positive or negative? Will it attract the kind of love you want? A belief that all men are liars or cheaters will not attract healthy love because you will want to prove your beliefs. Let go of the pain that caused those beliefs. Develop some new beliefs and educate yourself on how to have a healthy relationship with men. A great book on this subject is called “Men are Great: How to Build a Relationship that Brings Out the Best in Both of You” by Karen Jones. Take an action (any action) once a day that leads you in the direction of creating and maintaining healthy love.
Dr. Shannon Tran – www.shannontranphd.com
“The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
~ Eden Ahbez (American songwriter and recording artist)
Do you want a loving relationship, but can’t seem to find the perfect partner?
Are you already in a relationship and feel unhappy, dissatisfied or unloved?
Either way, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
∙ How do I know if I’m loved, and what does being love mean to me?
∙ What are the qualities and values I want in an intimate partner?
∙ Do I possess and express these qualities? Or, am I seeking an intimate partner to fill an emptiness or lack I perceive in myself?
∙ Imagine that you are the intimate partner you desire to attract. Ask yourself, if I were them, would I love me?
∙ Do I repel or reject, rather than attract the intimacy and love I desire?
An essential step in attracting a healthy, happy, loving relationship is to replace your negative beliefs and behaviors with affirmations for positive outcomes.
When your thoughts are governed by fear, guilt, blame, shame, distrust, judgments, excuses, self-deception, expectations, and other negative self-talk and emotions, you emit vibrations that repel others. In order to become a magnet for love, you must let go of negativity and allow your loving nature to emerge.
The most important step is to release the negative thoughts and behaviors that stand in your way of attracting the love you desire.
On an 8" x 11" sheet of paper, create two columns by drawing a vertical line down the middle. Label the left hand column Negative Beliefs to Release, and the right hand column, Affirmations for Positive Outcomes.
1. In the left hand column, list of your negative thoughts, behaviors and beliefs.
A negative belief might be, “I can’t have love in my life because I’m too old and nobody would want me.”
2. In the right hand column, create a positive affirmation for each negative.
A positive affirmation might be, “I am now attracting my perfect intimate partner who loves me just as I am.”
Create an affirmation for each negative thought, belief and behavior. When your lists are complete, look at each affirmation for similarities to others. Notice how you might combine them and create a total of three to five affirmations.
Write each affirmation on a 3" x 5" index card and post these cards where you can read them at least three times daily for the next 28 days. Speaking them aloud while gazing into your own eyes in a mirror is a powerful way to embody these messages and create positive transformation.
In the process of releasing beliefs that no longer serve, you might wish to forgive everyone who helped you create negativity in your life, including...and especially...yourself.
As you affirm self-love daily, you will become more loving, compassionate, accepting, forgiving, and even more beautiful. You will then be able to say, “I AM LOVE” and to attract the love you desire in your life.
Elizabeth Powers, Hypnotherapist & Spiritual Counselor - www.empatherapy.com
As you all know, I am passionate about helping people navigate the one constant in life…CHANGE! And being in transition we as a culture often force ourselves into the next step or fall back into old patterns because being in the unknown is very uncomfortable. When it comes to love and relationships, things can become even more complicated.
Getting out of a relationship, even if it’s what we wanted and needed is difficult. One partner may want it more than the other, one may have cheated or been abusive, there may be jobs, houses, finances and children involved. And even if this change is the best thing for you, many emotions will arise and you will find yourself in what Thomas Moore describes “the neutral zone”.
You may be tempted to jump right out of the love transition and into the next relationship or hook up to ease your feelings of sadness, confusion, loneliness, grief, and all that comes with it. BUT taking time to carefully reconnect to yourself, to sit in this grey unknown while becoming open and able to receive what the universe has in store for you can help you attract healthy love.
So, what is it that I am suggesting?
Take a big, grown up, TIME OUT! Yes, that’s right, a time out. Before getting clouded with another person’s needs, wants, and expectations, take some time to reflect, feel, observe and become aware. What’s most important to you when it comes to compatibility? What drove you nuts about your last partner and relationship? Were your needs met…why or why not? How open were you to receiving love or did you have subconscious walls up to protect yourself? What did you learn growing up about trust, intimacy, and relationships and is that a belief, norm, or way of being you want to move forward with?
Being in a relationship you may have conformed to what your partner wants, or have been so concerned with your own wants, you failed to compromise and meet your partner half way. Just sit with this for a while. We are under no obligation to be that same person, you have it in you to grow, evolve, give and receive.
Take time to be by yourself, to meditate, to be in nature and engaging in your favorite type of play. Reconnect to your friends, families, neighbors, those who are your biggest supporters. Take up that hobby you have always wanted to try and notice how it makes you feel to try new things, to accomplish healthy tasks and to be connected.
Having a good counselor or coach during this time can provide you the safe space to reconnect with yourself, to evaluate what healthy love is and how you operate within it, to explore relational issues and how to overcome obstacles, ultimately getting you ready to attract healthy love.
I am currently reading Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life and am going to leave you with this quote from Gregg Levoy, “Through some trial and error, I have discovered that often the best bait to use in luring a call is a little space. We need time when we’re not engaged in what the Taoists refer to as ‘the ten thousand things.’ When we give off nothing but busy signals, calls simply don’t get through. There’s no room for them. Make room for them. Get off the line every once in a while.”
Instead of giving off the busy signal trying to prematurely jump into something new, give yourself permission to heal, feel, and sit in the transition and that alone opens you up to what’s in store for you. Being the best version of yourself, you will attract the right partner. Having love and trust for yourself will help you to listen to your intuition, guiding you to a love that’s mutual and healthy. We can only love others as much as we love ourselves!
Love yourself and one another!
Brooke Jean, MA - www.brookejeanllc.com
Why you should date unavailable men
Well not really. But hear me out.
You've heard it before: love yourself and you will attract love. Stop choosing unavailable men. Demand what you deserve. You've read the articles. You've heard the advice. You've tried. So why do you keep repeating the same exhausting, painful, devastating patterns?
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how your behavior may play into your man's avoidance, meanness, and unavailability?
In my therapy practice, I commonly observe women who enter into relationships trying to change their partners in one way or another. We need to get engaged. He needs to be more open about his feelings.
What happens to your partner when he realizes your acceptance is contingent upon him changing? He begins to feel rejected, pressured, and scrutinized. So of course he's going to withdraw. Pressuring him to open up and commit is the very thing that makes him feel closed off and scared of being trapped in a relationship. Putting pressure on someone is just a version of being unavailable, you're not really opening up your emotional experience to your partner.
Rather than focusing on what you want him to change, try tuning into your feelings.
What happens for you when he is distant or non-committal? You feel scared, right? You begin to doubt you will be able to get your needs met and you start to wonder whether or not he is the right partner for you. What if you shared with him that you were feeling scared and uncertain, rather than trying to get him to behave differently?
If you're really coming to the conversation vulnerably, openly, and without an agenda, and your man still doesn't hear you out, chances are this relationship is not on solid ground. You and your partner's ability to validate and understand one another's emotional experience is critical to creating a stable foundation for a long-term partnership and/or a family. We often avoid being truly honest about these things because we fear it will end the relationship. But if honesty ends the relationship, it's not a relationship worth having.
Have you ever thought about the fact that when your man is being distant or cutting he's actually scared?
So when you find yourselves caught up in this tug-of-war you're actually both just scared. When you characterize him as afraid rather than as a jerk you can take the volume down a notch and come to the table with compassion rather than criticism. And when you are compassionate with him and can openly communicate your fears, you can begin to have an honest dialogue that is not based on power, manipulation, or anxiety. You begin to create safety in your relationship. This allows you to have open, safe conversations about your compatibility as partners.
The point is, unavailability is not a fixed trait located within our partners-- it is a result of a dynamic co-created by both partners.
When a man is emotionally distant we need to ask ourselves what kinds of conditions we are creating within the relationship that are leading him to feel the need to withdraw. It may help to ask him directly as well. Asking him his perspective on your dynamics conveys humility and invites safety and openness. He may be able to point out your blindspots about ways in which your communication is shutting him down.
Instead of pointing the finger, let's look in the mirror.
In order to get the kinds of relationships we want to have, we have to take responsibility for how we have contributed to the emotional climate within our relationships. We need to ask ourselves, how have I created a climate of fear rather than compassion and safety? How have I let my fears dictate my behavior and my communication? Did I blame him rather than owning my feelings or my part in the problem? Did I threaten to break up with him because I was really at peace about moving on or because I thought it would wake him up? Am I trying to extort a commitment out of him because I feel insecure and fixating on his commitment is easier than having an honest conversation about our doubts?
Coming face to face with our fears, letting go of power, releasing the need to save face, and learning to communicate honestly and vulnerably even when we are hurt and afraid-- these are the skills we need to bring to all of our relationships. When we practice these skills in our "unhealthy relationships," we often find the relationships transform and we often see how we too are "unavailable" in our own ways. We often find our men are remarkably clear about their needs and feelings when we begin the dialogue with openness and compassion rather than criticism and pressure. This is how we build a healthy relationship with anyone and how we develop the skills to sustain a long-term partnership with the right guy.
Brooke Sprowl, LCSW - www.thesantamonicatherapist.com
Often when we are seeking healthy love, we feel like we are attracting the same person over and over and they are not the healthy partner we seek.
We chalk it up to the fact there are just no healthy partners out there or others are in unhealthy relationships too, so it just must be the way it is. This could not be further from the truth. To find the healthy individual to be in a relationship with, we must look at ourselves and the messages we are sending out, resulting in attracting the people we are.
When we are in an unhealthy place or have not dealt with issues we need to, we end up attracting the people that will fit right into our unhealthy dynamics.
Example: Before I dealt with my fear of true long term commitment, I kept dating the” too busy guy.” He had too many things going on to ever make spending time with me or being in a relationship a priority. At first I was dating them and complaining how I kept meeting unavailable men. When I started working on me and why I was so afraid of commitment, things started to change. I wasn’t sending out the signals that I was before and was able to identify the signs as early as a first date when the guy was unavailable, such as statements like “ I am so busy that I often don’t have any free time in my week.” I was able to then politely say nice to meet you but I think we are looking for different things but I wish you the best. As this changed for me I didn’t need to try to have someone attach because I knew when it was the right fit they would be available and my current partner was open, available and ready for a committed relationship.
We often don’t realize the signals we are sending out because we are looking outward not inwardly.
We must spend the time with ourselves to be truly comfortable in our own skin so we know exactly what messages we are giving to others and make sure they are in alignment with what we really want.
1.Look at the person that seems to keep coming into your life and what issue that could be reflecting.
2. Ask those you trust what patterns they have noticed in your dating history and really hear what they have to say.
3.Truly listen to what your date is saying on a first conversation, date etc. Is this the message you want to hear from a healthy partner?
4. Be comfortable in walking away when it is not the right fit for you because choosing to stay will only further your messages and your belief that you need to be in an unhealthy relationship.
5. Consciously and verbally state what you are looking for and what a healthy relationship looks like to you.
6. Remember positivity attracts positivity/healthy attracts healthy, negativity attracts negativity/unhealthy attracts unhealthy.
7. Be what you want to attract
When you change the signals you are sending out, you will start to identify the viable healthy relationship options and be okay passing on the unhealthy ones. In this change you will see that you are starting to attract different people and creating opportunities to find the healthy love you have been seeking.
Neesha Lenzini, MS - www.relationshipsinneed.com
Attracting healthy relationships requires you to be honest with yourself and recognize and release old patterns.
Poor choices from the past are the building blocks of our future. Many of us have played out patterns that are unhealthy. Many of these types of behaviors were imprinted in us at birth, or learned through observed family dynamics. Some have been passed down through generations. Whether it’s the way we communicate with loved ones, or how we display love, it’s important to recognize unhealthy patterns or roles we’re susceptible to, and release the behaviors that distract us from attracting what we truly deserve.
Making decisions from a vulnerable place generally opens us up to not being treated right, or falling back into old patterns.
When we aren’t in our full power, we’re unclear in our intentions and it’s difficult to make a decision. Making intentional, empowered decisions is the key to attracting what you want. It is often easier to make a decision from an empowered place than it is from a vulnerable one. When we’re clear and empowered, we know exactly what fits into our vision and what does not.
Here are some guidelines to empowering yourself and, in turn, those around you:
Know yourself. Be clear and extremely specific about what you want.
Be comfortable being on your own. Spend time alone. Be sure you’re not just filling a void.
Value yourself. Be selective about what type of person or energy will complement your world.
Live and make choices from love rather than fear.
Let your “mistakes” or poor choices from the past guide your future.
Detach from a specific outcome and have faith. This is true power.
Live your truth, and encourage those around you to follow theirs. This creates the smoothest, most natural interactions we can share.
Live in the vibration of love and compassion, and you will attract the same in return.
Kelly Hart, Certified Reflexologist and Empowerment Coach - www.renewalwellness.org
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