Please enjoy a short excerpt from my new book How To Believe in Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust and Your Own Inner Wisdom.
No matter how hard one searched, one could not
find anyone in the universe more deserving of love
than oneself. ~Buddha
Who you are is not the problem – even though you may have heard that your whole life. This is about everything you’ve done right, not about what you’ve done wrong.
The more you believe in yourself, the better you perform in every part of your life. Our belief system equals our reality, and is a combinations of our ideas, thoughts, and experiences. These all combine to determine who we believe ourselves to be.
The journey back to believing in love again must begin with finding a new and much higher level of self-respect. The secret to letting go of all the hurt and betrayal you may have suffered in your past is the slow, gentle process of giving yourself heartfelt compassion for all you have endured at the hands of others.
At the time of my own separation and divorce, I needed to spend a few years first simply grieving the loss of the dream. We all have inside of us some dream of what a loving, positive relationship should look and feel like.
The end of any important relationship is traumatic. Even friendly divorces can be difficult. It may not even be about the end of a relationship that we found destructive and therefore needed to end. It may be about the loss of the dream of what love might have been, how it could have made our lives more bearable and more worthwhile.
When I was in the process of learning how to love myself after my own divorce, I found Gloria Steinem’s book Revolution from Within very useful. I especially enjoyed her idea of accessing your past self for a heart-to-heart talk.
She suggested imagining you are looking your past self in the eyes. How do you feel about her? What would you like to say to her now? I found Gloria’s words helpful when I looked back over my life and reflected on the sad, shy girl I used to be:
“She’s doing the best she can. She’s survived—and she’s trying so hard. Sometimes I wish I could go back and put my arms around her.”
I found these words to be soothingly cathartic.
This may seem like a stupid question, but it is not. Who doesn’t want and need love? But that is not the question. Are you ready to be as generous in giving love and acceptance as you are ready to receive it?
All love should begin with insight into your own ability to love and accept yourself exactly the way you are. As hard as you are on yourself day-to-day, that is how critical you will feel eventually when you get involved with someone new.
Sure at first it will all seem like magic and roses, but that infatuation stage can only last so long, usually just a few months up to a year. What then? Do you have enough self-love, self-respect and strength of spirit to love your partner through thick and thin? Will the good times be worth the tough times when everything seems to be going wrong?
It may seem like self-love is not the most important ingredient in a superior love relationship. But if you are maintaining a running battle inside of yourself, where you mete out critical remarks constantly, this will impact your ability to attract and give unconditional love and acceptance to everyone else in your life.
If you cannot maintain a fairly high level of self-respect, you will too easily be attracted to those who treat you badly, and once you are stuck in a relationship where your partner does not respect you, it may feel impossible to get out.
With age we learn that love isn’t half as simple as it may seem at first. How do we learn how to love ourselves enough to find satisfying, long-term relationships with others? We work on ourselves. We change and grow into the kind of person WE WOULD CHOOSE TO BE INVOLVED WITH.
That’s exactly the reason why I wrote my new book: How To Believe In Love Again. To guide you step-by-step into a new relationship with yourself, so that when you do meet that fantastic new person you’ve been searching for your whole life, you will recognize them for who they are.
And they will quickly see what an amazing person you have become!