For some of us, growing up doesn’t always provide the tools we need to have successful or fulfilling relationships. We come into the world innocent and dependent on our caregivers to show us how to maneuver the world. Whatever we are surrounded with becomes our frame of reference. If we are raised by emotionally mature and available parents, then we are more inclined to gravitate toward that type of relationship. Disinterested, addicted, or otherwise neglectful caregivers can set us up for disappointment in our choices and a feeling of never getting it right. Some of us can transcend that…it took me a long time. I realized after several years of sobriety and a lot of therapy, that I had to feel complete as a person and like who I was in order to ready myself to receive the kind of love I had longed for.
Every relationship prior to my marriage with my current and “favorite” husband was a competition and filled with compromise. I spent all my energy trying to figure out how to fix or how to change what I perceived as being wrong with me and was sure I could do that with others as well.
I depended on others to shape my reality. I kept looking for someone who would show me HOW to be happy and being angry because THEY couldn’t figure it out. How unfair of me to run through relationship after relationship expecting them to guess what would please me when I didn’t know myself. The poor men were branded “losers” without being invited to participate in a fair game. They never had a chance. Because I didn’t possess the fundamental tools to create peace in my own heart, I created a battleground in every relationship I participated in.
I found someone who ignited my lust then tried to fashion them into someone I could love. I finally got it after an extremely painful breakup when one day he walked out to go to work and never came back. There was no fight. No phone call. Nothing.
So I took a break for a time and learned who I was. I tried new things. Attended concerts and events on my own. I created beautiful meals for one and explored the kinds of things that interested me. I journaled and tried painting. I became an observer of my own feelings about the world around me and changed the language I used to speak to myself and others. I experimented with mirror work and read loads of books on every subject that I thought would enrich my life. I created a dream book with pages devoted to every area of my life and what I desired and felt curious about. I had coffee dates and more coffee dates and analyzed my feelings about the conversations and got clear on the things I had given up to be in relationships. Next I made a list of all the characteristics I desired in a partner (not a thing about how he looked) and stuck it into a corner of my bookshelf. I said a prayer and went on with life, enjoying the new “me” I was discovering and the new energy I was creating for myself.
Then one day I wrote an ad that was an expose on who I had discovered in those 3 months. I laid myself emotionally bare without holding back and described all of the things that I found joy in. I spoke of my love for family, the joy I found in dancing alone to change the way I felt, what I found interesting, my spiritual beliefs, and all of the things that I believed gave me wings. And I invited anyone who found that interesting to contact me. And he did.
Six years later we are happily married and a fantastic team.
And the list? I was able to check off everything on it. When I became the person I wanted to be loved by, that person naturally came into my life.
What is your deepest desire today?