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

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…

Perfectionism is fear of failure… 

Feeling loved and enjoying life comes from being authentic, not perfect. That’s the lesson I’ve learned this Summer.

Having had experienced another failed romance (romantic relationships just don’t seem to fully bloom into commitments for me),  I thought, “OK there’s clearly some inner work I need to do in order to dig deep and find out why I’m repeating the same experiences in my romantic relationships.”

Now I hate to admit that I have any fears or weaknesses but this time I finally faced up to the fact that my biggest fear is rejection. While I’m a confident, independent and happy woman, the belief I held was that rejection equals failure which equals ‘not good enough’.

So in order to prevent rejection, I adopted high standards which were actually perfectionism. Attaining perfection is tiresome as the idea of ‘perfect’ is an illusion, it’s subjective, and forever elusive.

I realised that I was so fixated on being “the perfect girl” in order to avoid rejection because I believed that if I ticked all of the boxes, I could never be rejected. Yet I wasn’t getting the full love and acceptance I desired in romance.

That was because I had been rejecting myself all along without even realising it. The high standards I had placed on myself were conditions; conditions I had to fulfill in order to feel good enough. This included everyday thoughts which would go unnoticed such as,  “I’ll feel 100% good about myself once I’ve had my hair done” or,  “Next week I’ll feel better once I’ve cut out the junk food.” No, the time to feel good and love yourself unconditionally is now.

I now understand how important authenticity and unconditional self approval is. Without them, we will unknowingly seek approval outside of ourselves and latch onto it once someone gives us the acceptance we’ve denied ourselves. This happens without realising as the lack of fulfilment and connectedness is masked with egoic ‘high standards’.

However when we unconditionally love and accept ourselves, other people’s opinions, whether positive or negative, become unnecessary.

Let go of the fear of failure and the need to be perfect. Instead, embrace yourself and be fearless about putting yourself and your happiness first!