Finding strength amidst uncertainty

Uncertainty; expected or unexpected, uncertainty always involves a fear of the unknown. Some types of uncertainty are welcomed such as starting a new job in the hopes of a more rewarding career or moving to a new city for a fresh start. The uncertainty in these situations is manageable since they’re predetermined and so there’s still some sense of control. But what about the moments when we’re presented with an unpleasant situation we were not anticipating? The instinct to panic overshadows any ability to trust and have faith that things will work out. Thoughts such as, “How am I going to get through this?” or, “I don’t think I can handle this” are way too loud for any self-assurance to be heard.

Certainty is a fundamental human need since it provides us with feelings of security and safety. We can relax and enjoy our lives when there are no feelings of instability bothering us. Nevertheless, uncertainties such as the sudden loss of a job, a health scare or a relationship falling apart will throw us out of our comfort zone and cloud any rationale. Change can be scary and unnerving especially when we feel as if we’re no longer the one in charge of our life. However we can always take charge of our actions and responses when faced with such situations. This doesn’t mean we won’t feel scared, instead we discipline ourselves to look past the fear and focus on a positive outcome.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

Here are a few things to remember when faced with uncertainty which can help bring some peace of mind amidst the chaos:

Trust yourself – you’ve made it through every other hardship and hurdle you’ve faced before so you will make it through this too.

Tough times don’t last, tough people do – it might sound cliché but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You might not feel strong right now but you will be wiser and more equipped in the future.

Things do always work out – maybe they’ll work out the way you want them to or not but remind yourself of times when you’ve worried about an outcome and after it’s all been resolved you wonder why you ever worried so much in the first place.

Life goes on – there will come a time in the future where this uncertainty will be gone and you’ll feel secure again.

Growth only occurs outside of your comfort zone – as Tony Robbins says, “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” in order to succeed in life.

Everything is clearer in hindsight – you will get the answers and clarity you seek once you’ve overcome this hurdle and you’ll see things from a newfound perspective.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs

It may be difficult to feel confident or see a clear path as to where you’re headed but periods of uncertainty are a normal part of life. When our world feels shaky we can perceive every circumstance as negative but they can often present us with a brighter future. If you’re willing to take risks, uncertainty can open up a new world of possibilities and opportunities for new beginnings which won’t happen when we cling to what we know. Periods of uncertainty can also bring our insecurities to light which provides the opportunity to work on how we can provide ourselves with feelings of safety and security which aren’t derived from external circumstances. Trust yourself and remember that in time, you will make it through and feel confident and certain again.

“Feeling lost, crazy and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty and reason.” – Alain de Botton

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Ümit Bulut

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Don’t feel guilty for feeling bad

“Positive mind, positive vibes, positive life”

“Choose happiness!

“Think happy, be happy”

Ah, the New Age mantras we find ourselves bombarded with which we’re encouraged to follow in order to lead a better life. We’re told that positive thinking is the antidote to all of our problems but has positive thinking become an addiction rather than a cure? Have these well-intentioned ideas which are meant to empower us actually become detrimental? I’m not condoning the power of positive thinking however the huge emphasis on it seems to have demonised negative thoughts and feelings to a point where we feel guilty for ever having them.

Messages which place such a high importance on only allowing yourself to have thoughts and feelings which are ‘positive’ neglects the fact that we cannot eradicate negative thoughts; they will occur, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Therefore the solution is not to force yourself into happiness but to take a look at why you think and feel the way you do before you can transcend to a better place emotionally.

“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.” – Gretchen Rubin

Since ‘positive thinking’ has become an obsession, whenever anything other than ‘positive’ arises within ourselves we judge and condemn those thoughts which as a result leads to feelings of guilt or self-blame. We perceive ‘negative’ thoughts and feelings as so ‘wrong’ that we either try to wrestle them or do everything we can to avoid them in an attempt to feel better.

We have been gifted with a vast array of feelings and emotions yet we’ve chosen to only love ourselves when we feel good. While emotional mastery is important in order to be a resilient individual and thrive in life, we’re all going to experience worry and fear at certain points in our life. Most of the time our fears are irrational but if we’re not giving ourselves the freedom to feel whatever comes up for us, how do we expect ourselves to transcend whatever is worrying us? Unless we look at those worries and realise how powerless they are, we’ll do whatever we can to avoid them and positive affirmations such as “think happy, be happy” will only cover up the issue.

“I don’t believe you should go to your garden and chant, ‘There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds,’ and think that that’s going to solve something. I’m a believer in find the weed and rip it out.” – Tony Robbins

While it’d be great if we could only accept positive thoughts and reject negative ones, if there’s a problem or you feel upset, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. So what if we can’t always feel good or choose positivity? Keeping up appearances does more harm than good as we deny ourselves the time and freedom to simply be with whatever thoughts and feelings come to mind. Positivity is meant to be the antithesis of negativity however the extreme fixation on positivity with an intention to avoid negativity is counterproductive.

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” ― Sigmund Freud

As mentioned previously, most of our negative thoughts and feelings are irrational. Our brains have evolved since the primitive days of our ancestors but we still carry survival instincts which will always be with us. Therefore instead of feeling guilty for having a bad thought or for even having a bad day, let it be. Don’t pressure yourself into feeling better because you feel guilty for feeling bad (who cares if you can’t “choose positivity” for a moment?!) Sit with the negativity for a bit, just don’t wallow for so long that you become identified with it or reactive. Once you’ve let the negativity express itself, you’ll often realise it’s simply a phantom which you can then let go of.

Rumi’s poem, “The Guest House” eloquently describes how the natural flow of every thought and emotion we posses is better off accepted rather than rejected:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond

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W A T A R I

There’s a time for everything: the seasons of life

Every human being knows, understands and accepts that planet Earth goes through seasons every year. Depending on your location, we usually experience four and while we may prefer the beauty of Autumn to the coldness of Winter or the vibrancy of Summer to the rebirth of Spring, it’s pretty evident that these seasons are a natural part of our Earth’s cycle. So why do we often fail to embrace and live through our own personal seasons in life? Why the lack of acceptance and resistance to change? Why must we be so attached to certain expectations and cause ourselves emotional turmoil? Why do we judge ourselves for being in a less favourable season of life instead of allowing ourselves to live it and remember that “this too shall pass?”

Author and spiritual teacher, Wayne Dyer often shares his insights on the ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. One teaching which struck me like a lightening bolt was that, “there’s a time for everything.” Whenever life reaches a point where things seem to slow down or we feel there’s no significant progress being made in certain areas, we feel stagnant and start to feel bad about ourselves. If we’re not busy enough, or the relationship isn’t working out, or we’re not accomplishing many goals at once…we deem ourselves boring, useless or a failure. This is when it’s imperative to remember that there’s a time for everything and everything happens at the right time.

Do you think you could take over the universe
and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel
and cannot be controlled.
Trying to control leads to ruin.
Trying to grasp, we lose.

Allow your life to unfold naturally.
Know that it too is a vessel of perfection.

Just as you breathe in and breathe out,
there is a time for being ahead
and a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion
and a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous
and a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe
and a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way
and resides at the centre of the circle.

Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Accepting that we’re not always going to be on a high and that low tides are a normal part of life sounds easy in theory but when we’re in the midst of a less favourable season we judge it and do everything we can to change it. Instead of letting go and practising patience, we struggle and yearn for life to be different. Whenever I find myself complaining about what-is or obsessing over things ‘not working out’ I bring myself to the present moment and remind myself that, “there’s a time for everything.” By releasing my judgements on whatever the life circumstance is, I allow room for peace to enter my mind and heart. Please note that surrendering to what-is does not mean resignation or complacency. Surrendering to what-is allows one to remember that this too shall pass.

“Nothing in nature blooms all year. Be patient with yourself.” – Karen Salmansohn

We feel great when everything in life is going our way, things are magically falling into place and we’re encountering success after success. However these seasons can be so alluring that we become attached and wish for them to never end. As a result, when our world slows down, life just isn’t good enough anymore.

“There are cycles of success when things come to you and thrive and cycles of failure when they wither or disintegrate and you have to let them go in order for new things to arise or for transformation to happen. If you cling and resist at that point, it means you are refusing to go with the flow of life and you will suffer. Dissolution is needed for new growth to happen. One cycle cannot exist without the other.” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now

Each season serves a purpose and so to deny one season and only accept another is futile. It’s become the norm to place expectations on ourselves and our lives wherein a season of harvest means you’re worthy and successful and a season of solitude or peace is mistaken for being a waste of time or a sign of laziness. Do we curse the Earth for slowing down in Winter? No, we know it’s a natural part of the Earth’s climate and it’s inevitable. Instead, we prepare for it and make the most of it whilst knowing there’ll be Spring again.

“Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” – Arab Proverb

When one learns to respect the impermanence of life and receives each season with open arms, there’s room for serenity and clarity. Instead of being afraid or attacking what-is, we remember that everything is temporary and nothing lasts forever; not even the so-called ‘bad’ times. Cycles on Earth are natural and necessary; they restore balance and regulate the atmosphere. So next time we find ourselves in a season we don’t like, let’s not judge ourselves. Let’s remember that there’s a time for everything and this too shall pass.

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Image credit:
Matt Lewis

Overthinking will not change your life

There are times in life where we feel that things aren’t how we’d like them to be or how they ‘should’ be. We then fall into the trap of overthinking in a feeble attempt to find the solutions to our problems yet as Einstein says,

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” – Albert Einsten

Overthinking will never provide the clarity we desire since that’s what got us feeling so crap in the first place! It’s a vicious circle as we start to observe our life, think about what we’re unhappy with, go down an endless pit of over-analysing the problems in the hopes to find a solution, realise we’re creating problems that we didn’t even notice before, start to overthink every aspect of life as if we need to fix it (when in fact life is never ‘broken’ or something that needs ‘fixing’), then we’ll notice we’re overthinking everything and so worry about that, and then stress ourselves out trying to stop overthinking and so on it goes.

“Too much thinking leads to paralysis by analysis.” – Robert Herjavec

In my own personal experience, overthinking tends to stem from feelings of ‘not good enough.’

“I’m not good enough.”

“My job isn’t good enough.”

“My house isn’t good enough.”

“My life isn’t good enough.”

While it’s normal and healthy to look at our external world and think about what we’d like to improve, there’s a difference between being in a state of flow and working towards that improvement and being in a state of displeasure and working hard to change everything. The former acknowledges that you have the power to improve your life but you’re not dependent on those external circumstances to feel good, therefore you’re not questioning your self worth. Whereas the latter projects feelings of resistance to what-is wherein everything is perceived as wrong, incomplete and a failure. These labels and judgements can then result in feelings of apathy, unworthiness, self blame or self doubt. Pitiful thoughts such as the following start to creep in,

“What am I doing with my life?”

“I’m such a failure because I’m not where I should be in life.”

“Maybe I’m just not good enough otherwise I’d have everything I want.”

Yes we all have goals we’re working towards, yes we each want to fulfill our potential as an individual, yes we want to live the best life possible however feeling sorry for yourself or putting so much pressure on yourself to obtain those achievements will not and does not work. Those thoughts and feeling only cause more grief and so solace seems even further away.

Our ego-mind believes that peace, self worth and fulfilment is elsewhere; it’s anywhere but here. Thoughts such as “I will feel good enough when I have that dream job” or “I will feel loved when I have the perfect relationship” are filled with insecurity and they’re fixated on outer events as if those events will give us salvation from the inner turmoil we feel. Not only do we become attached to the outer world but we start to base our identity on it as if having a lot to show for yourself makes you a better person. Yet it’s when we’re going with the flow of life and doing what makes us happy without overthinking that we have all of the energy and inspiration we want to naturally become the amazing person we’re striving way too hard to be.

“Detachment is the only vehicle available to take you from striving to arriving.” – Wayne Dyer

Detach yourself from your overthinking and from looking to your outer world to find the feelings of peace and worthiness you so truly want and which are already ever-present.

“But if I just accept my life as it is when I now see there are so many things I’m unhappy with, I need to think about them in order to make a change” is the next thought that may appear. There’s a false belief that by accepting and surrendering to the present moment and life circumstances we will not elicit any change, as if appreciating what-is will make us complacent, yet life is ever-changing. It is this resistance to the present moment which creates suffering and as a result makes us feel like we’re stuck in a rut.

I can look back on my life at moments where I could say my life wasn’t ‘perfect’ and I wasn’t where I wanted to be in certain areas yet I still got to where I needed to be and it wasn’t by overthinking; it was by enjoying my life as-is which in turn allowed room for grace and for events to effortlessly fall into place. My overthinking could not have come up with or strategised the ways I entered my desired career, the relationships that grew stronger or any events which have brought me true fulfilment and wonder.

“A Course in Miracles rightly points out that, whenever you are unhappy, there is the unconscious belief that the unhappiness “buys” you what you want. If “you” — the mind — did not believe that unhappiness works, why would you create it? The fact is, of course, that negativity does not work. Instead of attracting a desirable condition, it stops it from arising. Instead of dissolving an undesirable one, it keeps it in place. Its only “useful” function is that it strengthens the ego, and that is why the ego loves it.” – Eckhart Tolle

Our minds are wired for survival and so will naturally look for problems to solve and things to change but try not let yourself go down that dark road of overthinking. Remove yourself from those worrisome thoughts and take away their power by accepting that they’ll occur. Befriend those thoughts and your mind by giving them thanks for caring about you and your life so much! Then leave it at that and remind yourself as much as possible that you are already an amazing human being who doesn’t need to strive so hard to be happy or work so hard to prove yourself.

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Image credit:
Xavier Sotomayor

Why falling in love is overrated

I used to think falling in love was all about that overwhelming feeling of passion and joy where Mr. Right would sweep me off my feet and we’d live happily ever after. He’s the guy that would light up my life, the man I would find true companionship with and who’d bring me the peace I was searching for. Thankfully however, I realised how flawed that that vision was.

Hollywood makes us believe that romance should be intense; it’s all about the butterflies, the drama, the heightened emotions and finding ‘the one’ who you’ll marry and spend the rest of your life with. Until they come along, life is just ‘meh.’ Many of us are on a constant search to find a relationship which will fill the voids we have and where we can finally be ourselves with someone. Why must we wait until that ‘special’ relationship comes along? Why can’t we feel the compassion and joy we think that relationship will give us now? Is our own self-love and the love from our friends and family not enough? Why do we put our emotions on hold, waiting for that moment of attraction towards someone where there’s a sudden rush? We have confused lust with love, passion with intimacy, and infatuation with connection.

The idyllic notions of romance and the fiery feeling of passion used to be what I was searching for when dating yet those relationships were fleeting and insubstantial. Now I’m not saying romance is dead or ingenuine, romance is a beautiful expression of love yet it is often used as a tool to validate a relationship wherein many feel the need to show off the displays of romance they receive as if there’s something to prove. Instagram pictures of a bouquet of roses with captions that practically brag, “My man buys me roses, omg he loves me so much, I’ve done so well!” have become the gauge of true love as opposed to the warm feeling of content it provides. Since when does a romantic relationship need to be paraded in order to make it true?

“Thinking that there is some special person out there who is going to save us is a barrier to true love.” – Marianne Williamson, ‘A Return To Love’

We all crave love and attention however instead of giving those qualities to ourselves, we seek it externally. That rush of emotion which we think is love acts as a stimulant which fools us into thinking the intense feelings are something special when in fact they are feelings of attachment caused by our separation from our own Self.

Real love evolves naturally, is nurtured consistently, and takes time. The best, healthiest romantic relationships are between two people who not only complete themselves but have come together because they love each other, not because they need each other to heal wounds. There are no rules or regulations which have to be followed in order to feel loved, instead there’s an understanding and deep care for one another where two lovers are also two best friends. Therefore since both people are the best versions of themselves, they naturally bring out the best in the each other.

“A relationship is not meant to be the joining at the hip of two emotional invalids. The purpose of a relationship is not for two incomplete people to become one, but rather, for two complete people to join together for the greater glory of God.” – Marianne Williamson, ‘A Return To Love’

The right relationship is something you embrace and nurture every day, and if that relationship is right, it will go on, and on, and on, until before you know it it’s been 5 years since you’ve been together, then 10 years and so on.

“When love is true and real, it feels warm and sweet in your soul the way oatmeal feel warms and nourishing in your belly. It just feel good. It’s not over-the-top, heart-stopping romance — the stuff Hollywood is made of. It just works. It’s nice. It’s solid.” Sheryl Paul, ‘Love is a Bowl of Oatmeal’

The pressure of the relationship lasting for the rest of your life is another notion that needs to be let go of as this harbours attachment and fear. Change is inevitable and while I believe it is possible to spend the whole of your life in a wonderful relationship with one person, I also believe that by holding onto that idea you can prevent the relationship from becoming whatever it needs to be. Sometimes relationships aren’t meant to last forever however that relationship ending does not mean it was a waste of time or that there’s no room for love again! As long as you’re alive and there are plenty of wonderful people on this planet, you never need to feel a lack of love.

In conclusion, I have learned and realised that a romantic relationship isn’t something you search for, grab and try to keep. It’s something you open yourself up to, allow to graciously unfold, and embrace without attachment or fear of what might or might not happen.

“When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.” – Buddha

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Image credit:
Mira Bozhko

How stress will harm you and why worrying is useless

For the past week I had a toothache on the left side of my mouth and I was not getting a decent night’s sleep. I wondered if my wisdom teeth were perhaps surfacing again, however I knew that couldn’t be the case as they had fully surfaced about eight years ago. I then had a painful mouth ulcer since I’d been tensing my jaw at night and bit the side of my mouth. “Is the mouth ulcer the cause of the pain or the effect?” I asked myself. I then even considered that the issue may be tooth decay, even though I knew that my teeth are in pristine condition! I was adamant that there was something physically wrong yet I couldn’t figure it out and so to the Dentist’s I went.

I had a brief chat with my dentist and explained what I had been experiencing. I mentioned that I had been taking painkillers to take the edge off and that the pain wasn’t going. He checked my teeth and noticed right away that I hadn’t been sleeping properly since the lack of REM sleep left ridges on my tongue. After seeing that there was nothing wrong with my teeth, he even did an x-ray for extra precaution. Again, there was nothing wrong. I was then told that all of the pain I was feeling was due to stress.

I can never clearly identify when I’m stressed out until my body tells me, whether it be with a flu or tight jaw. We are taught to internalise our worries and so we neglect that they’re there by sugar-coating them or numbing them through external stimulants. While stress and worry are unpleasant emotions, they’re something we need for survival but they become destructive when we let them consume us and our health.

If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. – Kris Carr

On one hand I was relieved that there was nothing wrong with my teeth. I now knew what the issue was and I could deal with it myself. Yet on the other hand, I couldn’t believe that I had stressed myself out so much that it took me practically chewing off the side of mouth to realise that I was neglecting my emotional health. It’s in these moments that we must go within and check where we’re at in our mind and heart.

While I love helping my close ones out, I had been helping them with their finances and putting myself out there all to the detriment of myself. I was tight for money myself yet I helped my friends and family without seeing that in reality, I was then stressing about how I was going to manage my own finances. I was also overthinking about everything I needed to do before the end of the year and so the pressure of time constraint was adding to my worries. After I listened to my worries, I then focused on the solution and said,

“Who cares?! If something doesn’t work out as ‘planned’ or get resolved by a certain time, the world isn’t going to end!”

Now I’m not saying don’t help others, but take a look at yourself and think about whether you’re in a position to help or not. You may be at a point where you need to focus on filling yourself up first. Focusing on your needs doesn’t make you a bad person or selfish, remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup! Make sure you’re prioritising yourself otherwise you’ll run yourself into the ground. Don’t pressure yourself into anything you’re uncomfortable with. Let yourself have down-time, we don’t always have to have the energy for others and we don’t always have to be ‘doing’ something… many times we just need to be present.

Everything works out in the end and it’s when we feel peace and let go of all worry that the Universe can help us. It’s not our job to have everything figured out – it’s quite funny how we try to control everything and force the river when really we need to be happy and stress-free in order to receive what we want.

Since I’ve made the decision to fill myself up with positivity and self-care, I’ve been sleeping well again and the ‘toothache’ has gone. I’ve let go of all worry, and lo and behold everything seems to be falling into place in my life! We are told that the Universe has our back and that when we feel good, we are on the frequency of receiving everything good. Not only does it feel liberating to focus on myself and make my happiness a priority, I also feel empowered now that I’m putting my needs first as opposed to neglecting how I truly feel. I feel at one with my life again and there’s no pressure to ‘get everything done’ in order to stay on top of everything.

Key things to remember when you’re stressed or worried: 

Listen to yourself – What’s really going on in your head and heart? It’s OK to be worried about something but then ask yourself how you can remove that worrisome feeling and let it go.

Your body is your home – If you’re letting in destructive thoughts and feelings, numbing the pain won’t help and your body WILL make it very clear to you through pain or illness that you’re not 100% at ease.

Disease cannot live in a body that’s in a healthy emotional state. – Bob Proctor

Honour your needs – Have a healthy attitude towards your emotional wellbeing and care for yourself. You are an important being and a child of the Universe.

Time goes on – These issues you’re facing wont last forever, unless you let them consume you. Change is a constant in life, look back to other times where you were stressed and how those situations dissipated to now mean nothing.

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today. E. Joseph Cossman

Finally, stress really is only a thought – This quote from Wayne Dyer sums it up perfectly,

The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking. – Wayne Dyer

There will always be problems we need to face but we have the power to alter our mindset and reactions. Today and every day, make the decision to let go of all worries and stress. Watch how the Universe helps you when you do and how much better life is!

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Imag credit:
Naomi August

Relationship lessons I’ve learned in 2016

This year has been one of major transformation as I have been on a journey with my inner self and uncovered many beliefs on romantic relationships which have been holding me back from love. I’m used to being single and have never been one to rush into a relationship but there was a yearning inside which I didn’t want to admit I had and that was to be in a loving, fulfilling, romantic relationship.

It all started in Spring this year when I was dating a friend of mine and things didn’t evolve into the committed relationship I was hoping for. I was left feeling hurt and with questions such as,

  • “If I’m so perfect, why am I still single?”
  • “If he really likes me, why are those feelings not enough for him to want to be with me?”
  • “Why does everything feel so right yet two-three months later the guy doesn’t want to commit?”
  • “I was so caring and understanding, what more does a guy want from a girl?”

The transition from dating into being in a relationship just never seemed to happen for me and it was an ongoing pattern. This time I decided to go within and figure out what was wrong. Not because I felt I wasn’t good enough, but because I knew that there must be some unhealed wounds which I needed to confront and work through in order to stop the same situation from manifesting into my life again.

I had always heard and read quotes such as, “You won’t find love unless you love yourself first” and so this was the time I had to finally learn what that meant. I started reading and listening to Wayne Dyer, Marni Battista, Marie Forleo, and Katherine Woodward Thomas. From those authors I learned many things which I will share.

Firstly, I finally admitted that my biggest fear was rejection which was painful to admit for an alpha female, such as myself. I assumed that because I’m such a catch and I know what I want in a man that I couldn’t fail at attracting the right relationship; there was lesson number two which was that my fear of rejection came from believing that rejection = failure.

I was sure that I loved myself but after listening to Wayne Dyer’s “Your Erroneous Zones” I realised that I had been rejecting myself all along. This was in the form of self criticism which many of us do without even realising. I assumed that my inner dialogue with myself was fine. I thought that saying, “I’m beautiful” to myself and liking what I saw in the mirror meant that I loved myself. However that love was so conditional; I only felt good enough when I looked good enough. If my hair wasn’t blonde enough or my abs didn’t stand out, I needed to correct those things first and then I’d love me.

I started reading, “Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life” by Katherine Woodward Thomas and from that book I have gained so much knowledge and understanding on how and why I’ve been holding back on love. As a single female, everything in my life would feel fine but as soon as a man made me feel special and listened to, I would latch onto that. Unbeknown to myself at the time, that reaction was because I was craving love and had voids I was trying to fill. Voids such as feeling appreciated, valued and cared for. I wanted someone to give me their time yet I always had doubts that the man had other priorities other than myself. Fair enough I always said I’d put my career first and so I expected that off the man, but that was the mistake I was making; I was undervaluing myself and didn’t believe that I deserved to be a priority enough for him to make time for me.

Those doubts came from my childhood wherein I never felt like a priority to my parents. Their jobs were the priority and so that’s how I grew up to be so independent and spent a lot of time with myself. I have no hard feelings towards my parents or my childhood, I absolutely love the woman I’ve become and I know that everything unfolds as it’s meant to however that realisation allowed me to then decide that,

  • It’s OK to want to be a priority.
  • It’s OK to ask for someone’s time. If they can’t give it to you, they’re either not interested enough or not the right person for you.
  • I’m going to make more time for myself so that I can learn to enjoy solitude.

Delving back into my childhood allowed me to unearth beliefs I had towards men which I didn’t realise were holding me back from falling in love. I’m not a man-hater as I love and respect the men in my life but the old beliefs I had which prevented me from entering a romantic relationship were,

  • “I dont need a man, I’m independent and can do everything by myself.”
  • “Men haven’t helped me to achieve what I have nor have they had a significant contribution to the success in my life. I’ve had to do everything myself and so I don’t need anyone.”
  • “As a young girl, the men in my life were cold and emotionless therefore I will never let my guard down and I must show them that they have no emotional power over me.”
  • “I am a strong female who is ambitious – being in a relationship may hinder me achieving my full potential and so possibly serve as a distraction.”

The lack of trust and emotional openness in those beliefs contradict the trust and emotional connection needed in a romantic relationship. Now that I was aware of why I would never let a man in, I had the ability to transcend that attitude into a more loving and trusting one.

The journey I’ve been on this year has been an eye opener which has resulted in a huge increase of self-love, self-worth and fulfilment. I am now unafraid to communicate what I want and know I deserve in a romantic relationship. I also feel no lack within, so when the next guy comes along I will be able to enjoy the relationship for whatever it is without the cloud of fear or doubt getting in the way. To conclude this post, I will share the key learnings I’ve made along with the new perspectives I’ve chosen,

  • Relationships are about being authentic, not perfect – I was obsessed with being the perfect girl in order to avoid rejection however perfection is boring. Being authentic means you love yourself regardless of what others think or feel towards you.
  • I am enough – I thought I loved myself but boy was I undervaluing myself as I tried so hard to be ‘perfect’.
  • Being perfect or ‘the nice girl’ won’t get you the person you want – You need to know who you are and always make yourself the priority. Not in a selfish way but in a way where the other person loves you and wants you for yourself, not who you think you should be.
  • I didn’t know it but I was hungry for love because I wasn’t giving it to myself (even though I thought I was through vanity) – I wanted commitment but rushed into passionate dating which then never progressed.
  • Stop accepting crumbs when you want the whole cake – This is something I learned from “Dating With Dignity” by Marni Battista. Declare what you want and be unapologetic about it. If they can’t give it to you, move on and let someone who will come along!
  • When you’re truly in love with yourself, it doesn’t matter if others love you or hate you – You become indifferent to others’ reactions and feelings towards you as they hold no status in defining you or how you feel about yourself.
  • Life is now! – This is something I learned from “Make Every Man Want You” by Marie Forleo. Stop waiting for the right person to show up or for next month’s holiday to feel good. Feel good now as life is full of opportunities and happy moments which will make themselves apparent when you choose to step into your happy place and feel peace.
  • Romance and passion every day is possible but sometimes they need to take a backseat – Relying on those feelings to determine who you fall in love with and when aren’t the best tools to predict how successful a relationship will be.
  • Friendship is key – This is first and foremost important as it’s through friendship that the building blocks of a strong relationship such as mutual trust and respect are found.
  • We all want our romantic relationships to last our lifetime but that can hinder taking risks – Entering a relationship can be risky since you’ll be devoting a lot of your time and feelings to that person…and after that it may not even last! However the obsession of finding ‘the right one’ or fear of falling for ‘the wrong one’ prevents us from taking risks and enjoying the beauty of whatever will manifest. Release the need to be right as life is and always be ever-changing.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with me, I hope you found this post insightful and helpful. Lots of love…

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Image credit:
Jamez Picard