Happy Valentine’s Day!! Today, whether you are single, or partnered, I hope you will take the time to celebrate the love in your life. I am a lover of love, this is true; I find it fascinating. There are so many ways to express and communicate love, in all of your relationships. There are also so many things that can affect your ability to give and receive love.

One of the most significant influences on the way you approach and experience love is the family you grew up in. Every family has a unique set of norms and expectations around love.

The expectations, conscious or unconscious, that you bring to your relationships, are learned in childhood.

In many family systems romantic love is treated very differently than platonic love. Have you noticed this to be true in your own life?

Romantic relationships can be really loaded. Many people don’t even recognize the unconscious ideas that they have about how a relationship should look and feel. What gets downloaded from your family of origin, are the ‘blueprints,’ of how relationships are, how they work and how they should look and feel.  Whether or not these relationship ‘blueprints’ are healthy or aligned with what you really want. If your parents fought all the time, you may find yourself drawn to volatile relationships. Because it is familiar. Because love and tension became intertwined at an early age. So your internal paradigm of love (or downloaded blueprint) informs you that love and stress go together.

It is your ability to recognize that you have a choice to either blindly accept what was handed down to you or tap into your power to change it, that will free you to have successful love relationships.

Without insight, what plays out in your romantic relationships, can feel beyond your control. As if it is happening to you, as opposed to coming from you. (To help you with this, I’ve created a free copy of my Love Blueprint PDF).

If your love life feels like watching endless reruns, it’s time to change the channel. @Terri_Cole  (Click to Tweet)

I suggest to many of my clients, that before they get into a relationship they do some work around their family of origin. In order to be fully present in a relationship where there is mutuality, you have to be solid in yourself. I remind them to be gentle and compassionate with themselves, as family work requires some deep emotional diving. It’s important to remember that you have the power to change an unfulfilling romantic pattern. But you must be willing and patient.

Whether you are single, or in a relationship, a helpful way to uncover your beliefs around relationships is to connect the dots backward in your life experiences. By reflecting on the past (be careful not to dwell there) you’re likely to see where the pattern began. Perhaps you notice that you continually date the same kind of person (who might just be a carbon copy of your father or mother.) Or maybe you notice after a certain period of time, your behavior is what has sabotaged past relationships. (And this may mirror the amount of time your parents were married.)  When you start to look for patterns, you can start to make strategic changes with the insight you’ve gained. Whatever your pattern may be, one of the most common beliefs that can negatively impact your relationships is, “I am not good enough.”

This belief, as well as many other complicated messages that can come from childhood, has the power to destroy your ability to be happy in love. However, when you become aware of these limiting beliefs, you can change the trajectory of your relationships moving forward. Even if you are in a healthy relationship, I advise everyone to take a look at unresolved childhood pain; no doubt we all carry some.

Doing this work allows you to make mindful choices rather than reactive ones. It gives you back your power. It’s about understanding why you are drawn to who you are drawn to, and what you can do to transform the beliefs and behavior that have caused you pain in the past. As spiritual teacher and activist Marianne Williamson says, ‘It’s not about who gave you your issues, it’s about the fact that they are yours now.’ This is to say that although many of your beliefs stem from childhood, it is important that you take responsibility for them now. Rather than blaming your parents, or whoever raised you, you can rise above the victim mentality and take control of your fear mind.

How LOVE was for your parents, does not have to be how it is for you. Choose. Learn. Grow. Evolve.

Love is something none of us can do without. As part of the human condition, we are compelled to love and be loved. If you can create and nurture a loving relationship with yourself, you can then draw to you the romantic experience you desire. I have seen many of my clients heal their love wounds, and I want the same for you. Deciding how you want to be in the world, and in your relationships, is a freedom that you are all given. When you exercise this freedom in a healthy way, you can experience love and respect in your relationships, regardless of how you were raised.

Know that the past does not have to be a predictor of your future. Remember that you are 50% of every relationship you are in.  So, in the comments below please share what you discover about your past or current love relationships. Then, please commit to completing your downloaded love blue print so you can rid yourself of limiting beliefs in order to cultivate deeper and more satisfying love. You deserve to be loved. Period.

I look forward to hearing from you, and on this day of love, I want to remind you, as always, to take care of you.

Love Love Love


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Tune Up Tips and follow her on Twitter.

*Image courtsey of msmayee