Soulmate kinda love, anyone?
In today’s episode, I’m giving you the five steps I’ve created to attract better, healthier, soulmate kinda love into your life. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, these five internal shifts are for anyone who desires deep, lasting love, because it really all begins and ends with you.
Step One: Self-Awareness
In order to change anything, the first step is to become aware that something needs to change.You need to be willing to admit that whatever you’ve been doing maybe isn’t working the way you hoped that it would.
You need to be aware of your history, what you’ve experienced in your life. It’s easy to be in denial of how the things that have happened to us in the past are affecting us today…and that makes sense! Denial is a coping mechanism, designed by our unconscious mind to keep us “safe”. In last week’s episode, I explain more about how your unconscious maintains internal stories about love and relationships, so if you haven’t watched that one, you can check it out right here.
What stories are you telling yourself about what has or has not happened in your love life?
Take some time to think through these stories (and the blog I mentioned above has prompts to help you!) because you are 50% of every relationship you’ve ever been in. Even if the other person behaved (or IS behaving) terribly, your 50% is comprised of your choices, actions, and RE-actions to the other person. Becoming aware is so incredibly important because only when you get really clear about your own behavioral patterns in relationships can you actually change anything for the better.
Step Two: Self-Knowledge
Self-knowledge means knowing yourself without judgment. It’s not blaming yourself or the other person, but knowing yourself and what you experienced. It starts with unpacking everything that’s happened in your life. What did you learn about love? What did you see within your parents’ or caregivers’ relationship? All of these pieces of your past affect who you become in your relationships in the present.
Commit to becoming an expert on YOU. Knowledge of self is the only way to really change anything in your relationship or to attract the someone you really want.
Part of this process means opening that drawer of memories that maybe you’d rather not, so you might have some resistance. It’s so easy for us to compartmentalize painful memories or to minimize what we experienced in childhood (again, that’s our beautiful brains trying to protect us), and just say, “Oh, that was so long ago, it doesn’t matter” or, “I don’t want to keep blaming my parents,” or, “It’s nobody else’s fault but my own.”
I find that with so many women in my crew– they are very quick to take full responsibility–which is of course, ultimately is what we must do in life, but, what I’m asking you to do is to look back at your memories and experiences in an honest way. It’s not about blaming your parents or anyone else for that matter.
We go back for a deeper understanding, not to scapegoat anyone about what has or hasn’t happened in our lives.
I’ll give you an example from my own past: I learned that men were people to be managed and that there was no way to have an equal relationship. I know that my mother didn’t want to teach me that. But that is what I learned from her. And because of that, I went into my adulthood never wanting to get married. The story I took with me from my childhood was telling me, “Ugh! That just sounds terrible! Who the hell wants to spend all of eternity walking on eggshells, feeling fearful and keeping secrets?”
So through my own process, I had to unlearn that limiting belief. You have your own stories of impact when it comes to love.
Can you start to see how the way you were raised or what you learned growing up might be informing your own love story for better or worse today?
Step Three: Self-Acceptance
This one might seem obvious, but I’m talking about a deeper self-acceptance. In my experience as a therapist, some people say they accept themselves, but it’s usually conditional…if they have the right job or that great yoga tush, or whatever.
You have to accept yourself just as you are, right now. You are enough. You are worthy of deep lasting love. You also have to be able to accept the things that have happened in your life and the way that they impacted you before you can move on.
The only place that we can change anything from is from that real, deep authentic place of self-knowledge and self-acceptance. That means being willing to look honestly with open eyes at the past.
I used to have two kinds of memory drawers. One had the real ones so I avoided opening it. The other had the whitewashed, more dreamy memories. Like a great Instagram filter, those memories in that second drawer were ones that I curated with my selective perception of the way things were because I didn’t want to deal with the things that were painful in stark no-filter reality.
Can you relate?
But the thing is, we can’t build something different than what we experienced in the past based on those filtered memories. As a therapist, I can tell you it just doesn’t work that way, because any dysfunction that was there can become internalized…and it can’t heal until we bring it up into the light.
We all have had painful experiences. None of our parents were perfect, because people are just human. We’re not perfect. It isn’t disloyal to accept the fact that your parents were imperfect. We don’t need to demonize them either. But it is an important part of this process to review your past and then accept the straight truth about what you experienced in the past and then explore what you learned about love.
Did someone teach you that love and pain go together? Even if that was the case, that doesn’t mean that love and pain have to go together for YOU. You can accept what happened in the past and then decide to unlearn it to stop the cycle.
Step Four: Self-Compassion
Do you have a mean girl inside your head?
Self-compassion is so essential to the process of creating and cultivating real love and still, it’s probably one of the hardest for people to do.
You’ve got to get really honest about the way you’re treating yourself. If you’re constantly putting yourself down with a never-ending stream of criticism, it’s time to raise your awareness and give yourself permission to treat YOU as well as you treat others.
Remember, the way you treat yourself sets the bar for the way that other people will treat you. Think about your inner dialogue and the things you say to yourself when you’re frustrated or down. Would you say those things to your best friend or little sister? No way, right?
The self-compassion piece is crucial to the foundation of healthy love because the reality is, if you don’t master this, you’ll be looking for compassion from someone else. The problem with that is if you’re depending on others to give you this, you’re coming from a place of need instead of a place of wholeness.
Action step: get a picture of yourself as a child and keep it in a spot where you can see it often (like the wallpaper on your phone). Every time you look at it, practice feelings of compassion for that little you and everything you went through as a child. Let go of judgment and beam yourself with love–you can even imagine hugging your younger self. Dialing into love and compassion for your inner child in this way can really be an effective part of the healing process (even if it might sound a little corny.)
Step Five: Self-Love (AND Self-Celebration!)
All of these shifts culminate in self-love and self-celebration, which really becomes a new way of life! When you really love yourself in a whole and healthy way, you make decisions and choices and you get into or maintain relationships based on that sacred self-regard and love.
The five steps I’ve outlined here are basically a process for re-learning the skills to create healthy love. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you work through them. If you want some beautiful support as you do, I have something for you.
I created the More Love Meditation Experience directly from feedback from our community about what your biggest struggles around love are. It’s completely free and it’s 10 days of brand new guided meditations and daily affirmations and tools to help you make 2019 your year of epic love. Won’t you join us? You can read all about it and sign up right here!
If you liked this episode please share it with friends, because everyone can use a little more love in their life right?
I hope you feel empowered to attract and up-level the love in your life with these five steps. Don’t waste your precious, one-of-a-kind, never-gonna-happen-again life on bitterness or resentment from the past. You’re worth so much more than that. You are worthy of that soulmate kinda love, beauty. It all starts with YOU.
As always, take care of you,
Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.