We accept the love we think we deserve.
It sounds so contrived and smug when you’re in the midst of another average relationship that’s just about fizzled out.
These seemingly holier-than-thou truisms can do two things:
- They can tip you over the edge into a screaming pit of hyped up motivational BS.
- They’ll be the catalyst for life affirming change.
Let’s choose the latter, the kind of catalyst that stops you in your tracks, reaches in and flips an internal switch. Just the way a good movie or a golden oldie on the radio can change your mood in an instant.
Here’s the fun part: you get to choose, and that choice leads me back to this:
We get to choose the love. And by choose I don’t mean wait for, hope for, demand or force it. Because inspired action is what puts you in the path of what you want. And, if you have to demand or force something is it really worth having?
Choosing love means that you align with it.
Light up on its radar. Meet it halfway. Show up.
Show up despite your past.
Show up despite how others label you.
Show up despite what you tell yourself.
Show up despite your fears.
We’re quick to undercut ourselves when it comes to love, in how we relate to it and our pursuit of it. absent-mindedly we categorise ourselves; we’re too much of something and not enough of something else, and we wear those labels as excuses to prove our love status.
Labels are useless, ego based and destructive and words are far-reaching, potent and transformative.
Especially the ones you say to yourself.
Many of us, most likely all of us, are recovering people pleasers. The want to make others happy and win their approval is a mechanism inbuilt during our early childhood.
What makes us all the same is that we need love, we want acceptance and we’re hungry for security. To get our needs met we bend to fit another persons view of us, even if we break in the process. Our impressionable minds and malleable spirits look to others for validation, to listen to who the world tells us who to be and then we act so.
It’s no real wonder then, when we’re stamped the eternal bachelor/bachelorette or the boring married friend we make subconscious efforts to live up to that label.
As blasé as we try to act, our body language shifts and our behaviour morphs to match the expectations others have of us.
We care too much by trying to prove we don’t care at all.
Choice is your relationship super-power
It’s also underestimated, undermined and underused.
We need to choose to love ourselves wholly, without judgement.
This is how we set the standard for what and who we will invite into our lives.
We need to choose the kind of person we want to love and be loved by.
This is how we show that we know we are worthy and will not settle for anything less than we deserve.
We need to choose the level of love we vibrate at.
This is how we meet our match.
Funny isn’t it, that we’re not taught any of this?
Manipulation of choice is subtle, but it’s ripe and common. In advertising, the media, magazines, social media, our culture, society, industries that claim to have your best interests at heart, they’re all vying for a shot at swaying your right to choose for yourself.
Our choices are also tainted by what we’ve witnessed and experienced in early life, and it touches us in many ways:
Our eagerness to believe something without question.
Actions that we justify, whether they are just or not.
Pure refusal to rock the boat even when you want out.
Nailing our integrity to the cross and denying the most genuine parts of ourselves to placate someone else.
Most of the junk we take on isn’t ours to carry and a lot of the patterns we see play out in our own relationships echo what we’ve been taught to quietly endure. It’s mentally heavy, physically exhausting, and we’re tempted to settle for less than we deserve just so we can lighten our load. And we do. And we feel guilty for it.
What if you could climb down from that cross and change trajectory without sacrificing what you really want or lowering your expectations?
You can. But you gotta rid yourself of the heaviness first.
Lots of new age self-help will tell you that people come into your life, especially into your relationships, to reflect some deep hidden issue back at you.
While I don’t entirely disagree with that, I think we can put an empowering spin on it. As Wayne Dyer said,”If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
What if we could see that those people are there to help you level up.
See them as human reminders that you are deserving of much more. In an intimate, and sometime irritating way, they push you to be better. And they’re doing it all for you.
Every relationship reveals a lesson
How to choose compassion over conflict.
How to soften up instead of shutting down.
How to consciously choose your reactions
How to walk away when there is nothing to stay for.
”Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” ~ Cheryl Strayed.
The number of times you take the same lesson depends on how willing you are to show up and how brightly your wish to move forward is lit.
All the minute things that trigger you in your relationships and in other people are signposts on the path to your rebirth. The things that annoy you are serving their purpose by revealing to you what you don’t want. This is good because knowing what you don’t want build clarity around what you do want, and you need that to get where you want to go.
Once you’ve trudged through enough betrayal, frustration, confusion, empty promises, deception and bullshit you come to a pivotal point called:”Fuck this shit, I’m done”.
Also known as the breakthrough, gateway to greatness, the portal to pure love and potential.
Change be confusing, it can feel like defeat and seduce us to turn back. But the road is actually laced in glitter and triumph, and if you listen closely enough you can hear your cosmic cheerleaders chanting:”Finally! She gets it! Thank GOD!”
Despite the bad press, change itself is not hard. Saying it’s hard is often a way to rationalise taking the easy way out, slinking away and settling.
Backing yourself and upholding your new choice takes courage.
Reintroducing yourself to those who like you to be a certain way to make them feel better is gritty.
Elegant refusal of anything and anyone that tempts to lure you down a notch is quiet confidence.
Having your own back in each moment, every day – that’s the stuff that’s hard.
Raising your standards, holding them high and living in line with them is how you get on love’s wavelength and call forth your match.
Leave romance at the door
Let’s leave romanticized ideas of love at the door and agree that you need to be totally happy with yourself and your life as they stand before you can even expect anybody else to add to it.
You need to know how to be whole so you don’t go searching for a half.
You need to be enough for yourself before anybody else can be enough for you.
You need to love every part of yourself so others know how its done.
Let another person rock your world.
Let them challenge you and rise to meet it instead of running from it.
Let them respectfully disagree with you.
Listen for the sake of listening, not purely to offer a reply.
Let them fight with you, as long as they’re fighting for you.
Contrary to what we’ve been taught, finding your right person has more to do with you being the best version of you than it does with putting yourself out there to be spotted.
Your energy, quality of your thoughts and body language you introduce you before you speak. These are the first things somebody else will pick up about you. They’re subtle, energetic and magnetic, and so are we.
It’s easy to rattle off a laundry list of qualities we want in a partner. But if you don’t embody even a speck of those same qualities, how on earth are you going to attract them? Longing for certain traits in a partner only reinforces a lack of them in your life. Stressing over the thought of never finding love reiterates a lack of love. We usually get what we expect.
I mentioned that we choose love, because like thoughts and words, choice is powerful.
Wishing, hoping, praying, forcing and demanding all feel like you’re mentally wrangling with what you want. It also affirms that you don’t have the very thing you say you want, and so you perpetuate the same cycle of lack.
Lighten Up, Show Up and be Loved
So this is exactly how you get yourself to light up on the love radar
Ask yourself these to bring clarity to where you stand in your relationships/friendships:
Who am I in my most treasured friendships and relationships?
Identify what you give freely. This is what comes easy to you. If it makes others feel good, you feel lighter and doesn’t leave you shortchanged then keep giving. The more you give the more open you are to receiving. Balance. Yin and Yang. A perfect energy exchange.
What do people most call on you for?
Know your most well-loved qualities
Are you the reliable one who shows up to help your friend move house?
The thoughtful one who makes dinner and does laundry for her friend who just had a baby?
The loyal one who drives for hours for a girls night out?
Play to your strengths. Know what qualities separate you from the herd. Strengthen, refine and polish them up. Make them blazingly bright. Work them into your other relationships. Make them work for you.
What are my default reactions?
Know when you’re acting or reacting from a subconscious space.
Are you acting out of fear of abandonment?
Are you ashamed of expressing your feelings so try to manipulate a situation?
Are these actually your true emotions or are you carrying around someone else’s baggage?
Your rapid fire reactions are generally learned behaviours. Know what they are and know how to control them. A tip: speak slowly when and give yourself a 10-20 second breather before speaking.
What presses my buttons?
Your triggers lessen and lesson until they disappear when you bring them into the light.
Practice compassion and know that it’s not the other person or what they’re saying/doing that triggers you – it’s your response to them.
What are your biggest screw-ups in relationships?
I’ve had many, I’m sure we all have.
Not communicating clearly and sending mixed signals – hello confusions!
Keeping up appearances because we’d rather be in a relationship than be looking for love.
Not being you – when you’re inauthentic people can feel it. Plus, it gets exhausting trying to behave the way you think you should.
Now tell me yours – what is your greatest lesson in relationships and why are you grateful for it?