“Love’s in need of love today, don’t delay, send yours in right away. Hate’s going ’round breaking many hearts. Stop it please, before it’s gone too far.” – Stevie Wonder
Love and tragedy
Once you have experienced the sting of betrayal, you will never forget… As I finished reading the fine novel “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain this morning, I re-experienced a time in my life 34 years ago when my lover made clear that he had chosen the company of a friend of mine over me. The devastation I felt for years afterwards cannot be exaggerated.
I am afraid too many of us know that feeling, that fear, that wondering if we will ever trust anyone again. Loneliness and sorrow took over my life. Hadley, in “The Paris Wife” says, “My life was in shambles; how would I right myself? How would I get through this?” But most of us do somehow, by doing whatever comes next.
I clearly remember how low I felt, lower than I ever had, and found it almost impossible to rally. I knew my only way out of this staggering depression was to complete my degree in library science and find a job elsewhere, so that is what I did. I took the geographical cure and found my first professional job in Salt Lake City, where I ended up having the BEST group of friends ever!
I learned that life is often unfair, and even cruel. I learned not to trust most men or women. But in the end I learned no one you love is ever truly lost. My lover at age 22 was fine and strong and weak and flawed, much like everyone else I have ever met. We both went on to experience many more loves, but I like to believe “I got the very best of him.”
This recent story about the Notre Dame football player who fell in love with a virtual person, is a great cautionary tale about false identities on the Internet.
How many of us have been blinded by our desire for the perfect love? But what if that love is not even a real person?
That’s why I have always said, meet a real person face-to-face soon after beginning a virtual relationship online! Look them in the eyes, notice the chemistry, and of course do this in a safe place!
The strangest thing is, too many of us meet people even in real life, and STILL make them up in our heads:
“We human beings have an amazing ability to decide what we want and need in a relationship, and then unconsciously project all of that onto someone we have just met. We may convince ourselves quite nicely that this person, who we don’t really know, is exactly what we want and need right now. And online relationships have made this projection process even easier to achieve!” – excerpt from my new book: Find Your Reason to Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife.
We are all looking consciously or unconsciously for someone who makes us feel better about ourselves and our lives, and this can place enormous expectations on those we think we love. Love can be scary, virtual love even more so.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!
I have seen the film “Beginners” twice in the past 24 hours, and recommend it to all who desire, but fear love.
Beginners is about how we are all beginners when it comes to finding love again, and dying. It’s about that voice in your head that says, “Things never work out,” and that other one that still believes in magic. It’s about never giving up the hope that you will someday feel real, loved and lovable. It is about the endless dance between hope and fear, and it’s also about not settling for less.
Beautifully constructed and filled with surprises, irony, and subtle humor, “Beginnings” tells the parallel story of Oliver, a graphic artist in his 40s, who wants to believe in love, but instead continues to write “The history of sadness.”
Oliver has recently watched his father die of cancer, a father who only embraced the fact that he was born gay at age 75, but did finally embrace everything in himself before he died.
This comedy/drama is really about how deeply funny and transformative life can be if you ever have the courage to risk embracing it fully. It’s also about those who have spent a lifetime leaving relationships, because they “don’t believe it’s going to work… so I make sure it doesn’t.” It’s about whether it is better to settle for a giraffe when you’ve been waiting your whole life to find a lion.
Most importantly, this film is about becoming real and authentic at some point in life:
“What is REAL?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day… “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?” “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.
“Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand… once you are REAL, you cannot ever become unreal again. It lasts for always.” – Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
P.S. I’m going as Sigmund Freud to my very next costume party!
Just finished watching Snow White and the Huntsman. What a cool fantasy movie, with great special effects and an interesting array of metaphors from ancient European mythology. The evil old queen who will not accept aging, the young princess who still does not recognize her own beauty or power, cold and dark versus the bright beauty of spring…
The one I zeroed in on was the idea that the proper person must kiss Snow White to being her back to life. Everyone thinks she’s dead from eating the poison apple offered by the evil queen Ravenna disguised as William, her childhood friend. I’m sure you all remember the poison apple scene, but this time I saw it in a new light.
I saw it in terms of my own midlife reawakening from a deep disillusionment with love. How many of us feel completely burned out on romance and love by the time we hit 45 or 50, especially if we are recently divorced or single? I know I felt pretty hopeless, and dead to the idea that love could ever happen again in my life. I needed to find ways to reawaken my heart and open once again to the miracle of unconditional love.
I find it interesting in retrospect that my inner wisdom pushed me to do something I would never have done under ordinary circumstances. When I lost my job as an academic librarian, I started my own dating service. If you know me, you know how unlikely this outcome was but, as it turned out, this was also the perfect way for me to learn how to believe in love again!
I not only gathered lots of nice encouragement from my clients through my business, I also met the man I had been wanting to meet my entire life. Note how in Snow White, a kiss from any man would not do. Only one man could bring her back to life.
The same is even more true when looking for love later in life. It is that one man with just the right way about him and that one kiss, that can reawaken love again in you! Are you feeling any more like Snow White now?
by Laura Lee Carter, author of How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom and this blog!
But I also know how important it is to fight that crappiness feeling. How is that done? Here’s how:
Remember first that whatever you focus on grows. So what do you want to grow in your mind and emotions today? Are things changing in your life in ways you don’t like? Use these life-changing events to change your mind!
With unexpected life changes we are sometimes offered unique opportunities to see everything differently, causing us to question anew the entire plan we have laid out for our life. Maybe we aren’t even aware that we have a plan, until something screws it up. Sometimes just a scary birthday can help us open up to options we never dreamed of before.
Nothing is scarier than the daunting realization we have not even tried to live up to our full potential. Sure we did what we were told and found some success in our endeavors. Being “good” definitely has its rewards. But do you ever spend time focused on all that you could have been, and then realize that none of that will ever happen?
If you are anything like me, all of these “details” can only be ignored so long. In midlife we realize time will run out, and when it does, how will we feel as we look back on our lives?
One of the best things about being alive today is that we have a new perspective, we have more time after this realization, and we have the tools and resources to do something when we begin to feel this way. All we may lack is the courage to dig in and live the dream…
Get creative and find new ways to turn your crappiness into happiness TODAY! I KNOW YOU CAN!
I have been enjoying the website positively positive lately.
I only saw parts of the CBS 60 Minutes interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger last night. But I saw enough to know that he’s a schmuck and doesn’t deserve the attention he’s getting right now!
In that interview he admits that he has a habit of keeping secrets from his wife, including multiple affairs with other women. He makes no excuses. Today many will go buy his book, because of that interview and his slimy affairs.
He said he could not help himself when he was screwing every woman in sight, and he didn’t want word to get out about his “love child” with his housekeeper. Why? Because it would “hurt his reputation.” Then he goes on 60 Minutes and announces to the world exactly what a slime ball he is!
This is what I find disgusting about the American mainstream media. Ugly Arnold has affairs, destroys his marriage, devastates his kids, and then uses that information to sell himself to America. And the media plays right into his hands, assuming that we all go for the gutter, thus selling even more books and his bad movies. Put simply, this is plain old AMERICAN UGLY!
I would like to recommend that you take the time, psychic energy and money you might have spent on reading about Arnold’s mistakes and stupidity, and focus instead on improving yourself and your own ability to have healthy, loving relationships.
How could you change your beliefs about yourself and your potential to be authentic in your relationships with others today?
Self-honesty, self-responsibility, and awareness is where it all begins, and Arnold is the WORST example of these!
Are you waiting for something to happen before you can believe in love again? You will wait FOREVER!
I know it sometimes seems impossible to believe that there is someone out there who will come and love you. I know I had lost all faith myself after first my divorce in 2001, and then getting dumped from my job in 2004. Optimism was out the window!
And yet I also know that the man I had been waiting to meet forever lived only ten miles away, and he was struggling to believe just as much as I was.
As soon as I did my work on myself, getting past my past heartbreak, I was ready to believe again. And then I met him!
I’m afraid we all believe it is the mechanics of meeting the right one that stands in our way. But this is simply not true. It isn’t about which dating site you choose or how you act on your first date.
It is about first forgiving yourself for past mistakes, and then preparing yourself to believe in your own judgment and inner wisdom this time. Because even if you met the right person today, you wouldn’t know it if you feel bad about yourself.
And if I could find a way to feel good about myself as I sat there unemployed and divorced, you can too. It just takes a dedicated effort on your part and the proper tools. That is my gift to you!
In my book How To Believe In Love Again, I walk you through this process. I explain how early trauma has caused your problems with trust, and created self-shame deep in your heart. Then I show you how to work through these difficulties.
Self-healing is where you begin to prepare for future love. Then you must begin to trust your inner wisdom again, for it can tell you what you need to do next to heal your heart.
I know this all may sound hard, but how much do you want to find love again, and know you have finally succeeded this time?
I know most of the time, breaking up does not feel like a golden opportunity. But just for a few minutes, try re-framing your break up into your best chance of ever getting EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE!
A break up usually feels like some sort of crisis or lost opportunity. It is one moment in time when we should spend time focused on who we are and what we want to happen next.
Too often it makes us feel like a loser, especially when it comes to divorce.
Fight the urge to see it that way! You actually have two choices in how to feel about what is happening right now.
Too often we see any sort of rejection as a sign that we are worthless, and will never find a lover who truly loves us for who we are. This reflects how poorly we see our own true value. The more you feel worthless, the more you need to spend some serious time working on yourself to improve your self-respect and esteem.
BEFORE going forward to some other relationship, work on changing how you see yourself now. I have learned that we get what we are in relationships.
If you should find a way to see real value in yourself, and believe you have lots to offer others, you will then attract those who also have something to offer you.
Here’s a fresh way to view your divorce or break-up:
“I think I’ll spend some time working on feeling much better about myself, and then go out and find someone who is so much better for me!”
That was my experience after my divorce back in 2001. Initially I felt all was lost, but then I taught myself how to believe in myself and love again. I have every confidence you can do the same!
“There’s a light in the depths of your darkness…Let it shine!” – Dan Fogelberg in the song “The Gambler”