Wrong One

“Soulmate. . .”

“The One . . .”

“True Love . . .”

Whatever the name, does anyone still believe this mythical being even exists?

But it MUST exist. . . if only because an alluring photo of The One has been taking up some valuable real estate on my vision board for years!

According to the reigning worldwide champion of love and compassion, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama~

“You cannot love another if you do not love yourself.”

Self-love is one of the newest buzzwords gaining traction in the self-development world. But . . .

• How do we define self-love?

• How do we “do” self-love?

• How does self-love allow us to attract our perfectly fitted lover, The One?

To define self-love, we must first define love. We can each experience love in myriad ways. We can love our children, our siblings, our parents, our pets, or our lovers, to name the most common.

Think about falling in love for a moment. What’s actually occurring? Yes, you’re feeling intense emotions. . . but beyond that? To sum it up in an easy, working definition, when we are falling in love, we are appreciating and accepting our new lover.

Our new lover can often do no wrong. At the beginning, it is almost as if our “red flag” indicator has been temporarily switched to the “off” position. We are accepting them completely during this time.

When we think about them, we are thinking about how amazing they are . . . how caring, loving, kind, and so on . . . We are appreciating them completely during this time.

And as our appreciation and acceptance grows, so does our love.

In the same way, we can define self-love as self-appreciation and self-acceptance. (Yes, there’s more to it than just that, but we’ll keep this piece to an article and not a book.)

When we fully accept and appreciate ourselves as we are at every moment, we naturally stop feeling guilt and shame, because we understand that we are perfectly imperfect. As a result, we can take responsibility for our actions, instead of blaming others.

Here’s the thing . . . Most of us have been running an anti-self-love campaign for many, many years. Every time we harshly judge ourselves and speak negatively to ourselves, we are launching an attack against us. There is only one reason we continue to do this—we have made it a pattern. We have been practicing negative self-talk and hyper-self-criticism for years.

Fortunately, the solution is simple. The only thing required of us is to begin the daily practice of self-love, whether through mirror exercises, writing processes, guided visualizations, meditation, or heart-opening exercises, to name just a few. Self-love is an action, and it must be practiced every day, just as we’ve been practicing non-self-loving behaviors every day.

As we consistently feed ourselves self-love, our old patterns will dissipate and rise to the surface to be worked through. The key difference now is that we are working through them from a place of self-loving discernment rather than a place of judgment.

When we replace our judgment with discernment, looking at our challenging behaviors becomes much easier, because we don’t have to break through the guilt and shame that have often kept these behaviors hidden from us.

So, how does having more self-love allow us to attract The One?

Let’s think about why we get into relationships to begin with. If we’re lacking a sufficient amount of self-love, we often seek a relationship that will help us experience love and avoid our feelings of loneliness. The relationship temporarily fills these holes of love.

But after the “honeymoon phase” ends, all of our “stuff” begins to show back up. It wasn’t gone; it was just buried. Our partner then becomes a reflection of our challenging behaviors and insecurities. If we avoid this reflection, it becomes magnified, and we get more irritated with our partner as we project those behaviors back onto them.

In my most challenging and growth-full relationships, every bit of my insecurity was dredged up from every dark crevice of my being. It was like looking in a full-size mirror that doubled as a full-size magnet, pulling all things unworthy to the surface. My insecurities were in control, leading me to question . . .

Did I say the wrong thing just then?

Am I good enough for her?

If I do this, will she like me more?

Many times these questions were completely unconscious and showed up only in my behaviors.

So, how can we possibly be ourselves in a relationship if we’re bombarding ourselves with questions that come from a place of insecurity, a place of people pleasing?

The thing is this: We bring into our lives someone who matches how we truly feel about ourselves. If we feel an overall unworthiness and insufficient amount of self-love in our intimate relationships, we’ll tend to attract someone who mirrors that back to us. This is the Wrong One.

But when we finally love, accept, and appreciate ourselves for exactly who we are, we’ll attract someone who reflects that back to us. When we show up to our relationship this way, we are no longer dependent or “needy” on the relationship to provide us love—we have given it to ourselves first.

So, it begins with loving ourselves. A good first step on this path is to spend two minutes looking in the mirror, every day, appreciating yourself for who you are. Tell yourself you love yourself. If it’s challenging, then you know it’s exactly what the Love Doc ordered.

Article originally published on:

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Lindsay’s Story: How She Married The One

I saw a quote from the Dali Lama the other day that inspired me to finally sit down and write my story. He said, “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others.” I always wondered if true love existed. And, if it did . . . Where on earth was it hiding?! Now, don’t […]

How to know if you’re really surrendered and not just complacent

 (It can definitely feel the same.)

A while ago, a friend professed to me how completely surrendered he had become in his life. He declared, with the certainty of a double-jointed Yogi, that he had finally freed himself from the burden of internal and external pressure. He’d learned to just go with the flow of life and allow himself to really trust.

Until this afternoon, that is, when I was “fortunate” enough to bear witness to his meltdown over something that, on a normal day, might seem a bit trivial. After listening to him wail about his first-world problems, I thought, “Seriously? It’s a hot yoga class . . . You just might get hit with a drop of someone else’s sweat during smile like you mean it while spinning like a helicopter pose.” Or Vomitasana, in Sanskrit . . .

It had only been a week prior that he had declared his new revelation of internal peace and acceptance of all. Well, “all” except for the release of moisture through our pores—apparently he was unable to surrender to that.

The “S” word is being thrown around hip, consciously evolving circles quite easily these days. “I’m totally surrendered to the outcome” or “I’m surrendered to where life leads me” or “I’m fully surrendering to each moment.” It sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? Well, I’m about to lodge a B before that S, because often it’s not surrender that’s taking place—it’s complacency.

A number of years ago I had the greatest opportunity to really appreciate the difference between surrender and complacency firsthand.

During the financial crisis of 2008, I lost almost everything I had.

I was a half million dollars in debt, losing my home to the bank and suffering from a breakup with a woman I loved. During an eighteen-month period, I moved ten times, couch surfing with friends as I worked to get back on my feet.

To top it all off, a house fire at a friend’s home torched everything that I did have left. Add to that mounting health challenges, a series of three random car break-ins and identity theft, and I was left with a sore neck looking for a piano to fall out of a window!

But strangely enough, it was right after the second car beak-in that I began to feel surrendered. As I walked back to my friend’s home where I was staying, I began thinking about the mp3 player, sunglasses and sweet Leatherman that would likely find their new home in a pawnshop. I decided to let it all go and just go with the flow of life. I couldn’t fight it anymore, so I surrendered to what was happening.

I can remember friends commenting on how well I was taking all these challenges in stride. I would respond casually with, “I’m just surrendering to life.” And that felt true and good to say. To this day, I still have a friend who reflects back on my positivity at the time.

It wasn’t until a couple years later that I realized what had really happened. I had become complacent. I appeared to be surrendered, but that was just lip-service to friends and myself. The immense power of my brain had me believing I was fully surrendered, and I bought right into my own B.S. I couldn’t smell a thing!

But my complacency—cloaked as surrender—had prevented me from moving forward and overcoming the obstacles in my life more quickly. I did not effectively process the emotional losses and difficulties, and that kept me stuck in a pattern of fear and denial. If I had truly surrendered, I would have stayed engaged with the different challenges life was presenting me. And that would have significantly shortened the time that I was staying with friends and watching my life go by.

I’ve asked myself since then, how can any of us tell the difference between true surrender and complacency?

Webster’s online dictionary defines complacent as “marked by self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Thus the primary indicator of complacency is when we are disengaged with one or more areas of our life.

Being complacent means not taking the time to examine the different scenarios that play out in our lives. It often involves ignoring decisions to be made or actions to take that would help move us along. Complacency often also has an unfelt emotional component. For example, we might experience a minimized or nonexistent emotional response to a tough situation in life. We say, “I’m surrendering and letting life take control.” But that’s not real surrender.

As the great philosopher Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That may sound a bit extreme, but he does have a point. We must be vigilant to ensure that our great surrender does not become a beautifully wrapped gift filled with avoidance.

Surrender is actually very alive and functioning. The first signal that we are truly surrendering is that we are actively engaged in all aspects of our life. Thus, to effectively surrender, we must consciously choose to surrender to each thing in life we are surrendering to.

Think about how one side surrenders to another in the movies. They don’t wave their little white flag and then run away in the opposite direction. Once they’ve declared surrender, they begin marching right toward their enemy.

But for us, that “enemy” is actually something that can help us grow and evolve beyond our current state of being. When we surrender, we take a good heartful, thoughtful look at what it is we are surrendering to so we can healthfully process our emotions and consider potential solutions.

Surrender is the balance between accepting our situations in life and staying fully engaged with them.

We can even actively decide not to decide. The difference now is that we make this choice because we are willing to examine a situation fully. And we remember to continue to check back in on the situation as needed.

When we are complacent, we become powerless because we have given our power away under the guise of “going with the flow.”

When we surrender, we empower ourselves to make the conscious choice to do so.

Complacency finds distractions and avoids.

Surrender requires us to be present and engaged.

 

Article originally published on:

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