Why is My Love Life Struggling?
From we found love in a hopeless place… to Josie’s on a vacation far away, we’re surrounded every day by the concept of love and the ideals that encompass it.
So many kids grow up searching, dreaming and longing for Mr./Mrs. Right but sometimes finding him/ her seems like an adventure only the bravest or boldest take on.
Others find the partner of their dreams only to find that spark fizzling out or things just not being as pretty as they are in the movies.
So how does one traverse this wild playing field to discover healthy, loving relationships that feed their souls? How do you stay in love once you find the one? What’s the point of it all anyways???
Well though I’m no relationship expert, I’ve been through the rough and came out on the other side. I’ve learned a lot about love and relationships along the way and I’d like to share with you some practical advice about finding your lifelong partner and cultivating a healthy relationship.
One of the greatest things I’ve learned and live by is this “You can’t give what you don’t have.” I mean this can literally be applied to anything... like, for example, if you don’t have any money then you can’t give away any money. But it also applies to the non-physical. For example, if you don’t have any love within then you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to give love to others. You give what you have inside.
So in terms of love this expression translates to this: If I don’t have love for myself, how in the word am I going to share my love with someone else. Or in more positive terms: Only when I find love for myself, can I attract someone into my life that loves me just the same.
Let me give you a real life example of this.
So if you’ve been following along with my materials and weekly emails, then you may know that I struggled with self-confidence and self-worth for a majority of my life. I had ridiculously low self-esteem. People would even tell me, “I don’t know why you have such low self-esteem. You have everything going for you.” And I did. But I didn’t see it.
I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without makeup on. I needed to be fully ready – nails done, hair done, everything did (lol) – every time I walked out the door. If I thought I looked bad, I’d be in a horrible mood for the whole day. But even when I did get all dolled up, I’d look in the mirror and just focus on what was wrong with me.
But it didn’t end with the looks. I knew I was smart but I didn’t believe I was worthy. I just thought I was a good test taker. And I thought that all guys wanted was to get laid and their primary objective was to hook up and only got to know me so they can get in bed.
That is truly how I viewed the world and myself.
At the end of the day, I had minimal to no love for myself. I thought I was ugly without makeup on. I rejected my naturally curly hair. Every morning was a battle to tame it. I thought I was fat. I didn’t believe I was worthy of love. I believed I was a freak that had nothing going for myself.
As a result, no guys would ever stick around. The longest relationship I had was to a substance-abusing guy who I thought I loved because he was the only one that gave me attention. I knew I could “do better” than him and I’d never bring him home to meet my parents but since I had no love for me, he was the closest thing to making me feel better and wanted. It was tumultuous to say the least.
I wrote it off that all of the good guys were either gay or taken and that being an independent, successful single woman would be my crux to bear.
I honestly count my lucky stars that I’m at where I am today but at the end of the day, I don’t really buy into luck. What’s that quote? Luck is when the prepared mind meets opportunity - or something like that.
The one thing that changed EVERYTHING for me was changing how I viewed and felt about myself. Throughout my journey, I found love for myself. I discovered who I was at my core and chose to love her. I realized that I’m a great, genuine, loving person that believes everything has its time and place and the world and I am exactly as they should be. I love art, creating, my family, animals and helping others. I have a beautiful face sans makeup and my naturally curly hair is phenomenal. I truly love me. When I began to discover who I was at my core and chose to love her, I attracted my amazing boyfriend into my life. Unbeknownst to me he was in front of me for a year and a half but until I found love for myself, did I open myself up to finding someone who saw me in the same light that I saw myself.
You can’t expect someone to love you to the core if you can’t even see the reasons why you should be loved.
Ok, so you found love for yourself but still nobody’s knocking on your door? What gives?
So this is actually what happened for me. I did a lot of inner self-work but still wasn’t seeing results until I had a major shift. It was new years a few years ago now and I went to Chicago to spend it with my sister and her relatively new boyfriend. She seemed so happy with him. She was her normal, jokey self with this guy that smiled at her every time she was silly. After seeing her let her guard down and be herself with a guy, I knew I wanted that for myself.
I began practicing the mantra “I am ready and open for love to come into my life.” The first time I said this to myself it felt weird. I wanted to resist. My mind didn’t want me to be vulnerable. I had walls built up. But my heart liked it. So I practiced the mantra as much as I could and I’d fanaticize about what that relationship would look (and here’s the key) feel like. I felt how that mantra emotionally made me feel. I imagined as though I was in a loving relationship. A month later my boyfriend and I became official. Like I said, he was in my life for 1.5 years prior but not until we aligned (he was going through life changing events on his own) we attracted each other into our lives. Pretty neat, huh?
So if you’ve been listening to (or reading) this but you’re like that’s great, Steph, but I’m in a relationship and things just aren’t the same as when we first met. The sparks aren’t there; all we do is rag on each other and get into fights over seemingly nothing. I love my partner but I just don’t know what to do. Sometimes I find myself wishing we could just go back to the beginning where everything was new and easy.
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered!
My advice for you is two-fold.
First, remove the word should from your vocabulary.
Second, cultivate unconditional love.
This might not be the advice your couple’s therapist would give you but it’ll align you back to a state of love, I promise. You’ll just have to be willing to set your ego aside.
Let’s talk about the word should first.
This word can cause a lot of problems especially in relationships. He should pick up after himself. He should help me more. He shouldn’t watch sports all of the time. He should want to hang out with me, not his friends. He shouldn’t want that job… I mean I could go on forever.
Saying should is fighting with the truth. It’s arguing with reality. When this happens, nothing but frustration and pain arises. Saying the word should is pretty much like arguing with a wall. The wall’s not going to change and you’re just going to get angry. Your relationship isn’t a negotiation. It’s a lesson. It’s the ultimate teacher to help you find love unconditionally.
What I’ve found to be true is that whenever I’m irritated or frustrated with my boyfriend (which honestly doesn’t happen because I catch myself), it’s really just a reflection of how I feel internally about myself. The easy thing to do is to blame him but in reality it’s me.
Let’s use an imaginary scenario to demonstrate this a bit further. Let’s say you’re in a relationship where your significant other is in between jobs and you’re the only one working. He’s trying his best to find another job but in his off time he does what he loves like watching football or playing video games. At first you’re totally fine with this but over time you get a bit worried if he’ll actually find a job. You start thinking things like “We’re going to run out of money.” “I don’t want to work more.” “He’s not pulling his weight.”
You come home from work one day and he’s playing his favorite video game. The first thing that goes through your mind is he shouldn’t be doing that. He needs to focus on getting a job. You make a sly comment in passing and it blows up into a huge fight.
On the surface, you’re both fighting about the fact he’s playing video games but underneath, what’s really happening is the pain that’s resulting from arguing with reality or the word should.
You’re scared and worried about finances and your wellbeing and deep down he feels insecure and inadequate because he hasn’t found a job yet.
The fight that results has deeper issues but they’re so frequently never spoken about because that awareness isn’t developed.
Relationships suffer from the word should.
So how do you fix it?
Whenever you say should flip it to shouldn’t and whenever you say shouldn’t say should.
For example, with our story:
Right now you’re thinking, “Billy shouldn’t be playing video games.” Even though he is.
You would simply flip that to “Billy should be playing video games.”
And then you’d back that up with 3 reasons why that’s true.
So it could sound something like this…
Billy should be playing video games because he’s been working so hard on his job search and he needs some time off.
Billy should be playing video games because he loves them.
Billy should be playing video games because he’s able to connect with his friends through it.
Do you see how it all of the sudden feels better? Now you’d definitely want to work on the insecurities you have around finances, etc. but on a base level, this will help a lot.
What this really boils down to though is the concept of having unconditional love. There are two types of love out there in the world. One is conditional love and the other is unconditional love.
Conditional love sounds like this:
“If Billy is playing video games when I get home one more time then that’s it! We are going to need to take a break or something. I’m withdrawing my love from him until he gets his stuff together.”
Unconditional love sounds like this:
“I love Billy no matter what. I understand that he’s going through a rough time right now. The job search is taking longer than we both thought it would. I realize that I’m a bit worried about finances, but today we are okay. I understand that he needs his video games as a way to help him feel better. He enjoys them, after all. Maybe the perfect job for him just isn’t open yet. When the time is right, he’ll get a job. Until then, I’ll be there to support him. Everything’s going to be just fine.”
Do you see how those sound and actually feel different?
Conditional love is a headache and leaves everyone feeling worse. It resides on the basis that if you do something I don’t like then I take my love away. Unconditional love is just that unconditional. No matter what the condition, I will still love you.
So there you have it! A bit of advice that I’ve learned over the years. What it all truly boils down to is this: When you change the way you look at things, what you look at changes.
It’s powerful but so true. Love is the highest vibration. It is life. It is creation. And it feels great. When you think thoughts that align with love, everything falls perfectly into place.
Sending my love to you!