Or does it?
There was a time in my life when I thought I would never get it right (love that is). As I sit here today, deeply connected in all ways to love for myself and the man who stepped into my life at a serendipitous moment - the reflection back on the journey is profound for me.
Overtime, I've come to realize that my 'success' in relationships was in direct correlation to how I felt about myself. I realized through a TON of pain, that I needed to truly define what 'love' actually meant for me in a relationship, while forming solid belief in my self worth. For many years - I accepted crumbs when what I really wanted was a whole damn meal.
Better than nothing right? Wrong.
The connective tissue that truly needed repair, and only got stronger through the years, was the trust I had in my intuition.
Yes, it can be said, and I wholeheartedly agree - that love is a choice.
I would challenge that statement just a step further, to say that it becomes a choice every day AFTER you've gotten to the point of *knowing* deep down that the relationship you are in, is truly aligned with your best interest. We all come from love and know it in our core. Therefore, if you don't feel it - then you need to explore yourself to find the key. It starts with you.
This requires defining what your best interest actually is.
Choosing to make it work with someone who doesn't love and respect you the way you know you are worthy, will result in heartache and diminishing returns. Easier to stay? No, the cost is too high. Typically that wisdom isn't gained until after you've seen the other side of that equation.
Round peg, square hole folks.
But, if you haven't spent the time really defining what you want and deeply understand how you deserve to be treated (and in turn, are willing to give the same to another) then you will be chasing your tail. (Or simply, tail.)
Sometimes, in a world of shoulds, pressure can mount and as such, unwritten rules start to drive our decision making, milestones we need to hit by a certain age - and there is a 'proper' way to go about it. Welp, I threw that shit to the wind. And I always pose the question, how is it working out for you? Is that pressure taking the wheel and causing you to compromise? Is it creating a force and anxiety that is keeping you stuck?
Alternatively, are you so rigid in your view of what 'perfect' looks like that you are passing up some really great relationships?
Just some things to think about.
Time is going to go by anyways, three years with the wrong person will teach you what you don't want - as long as you are simultaneously working on yourself. Otherwise, you will feel stuck and fear will take over. Is it time to take a leap of faith?
There is an in between zone here, it's not all or nothing. You can be equal parts working on yourself AND the relationship, in fact - I am committed to that growth mindset no matter where life takes me.
What can happen though, is your intuition starts to wake up and at certain points in our lives we evolve BEYOND who we were at the start of the relationship. In marriage, I've learned that this evolution means a dedication to communication along the way. Who you once were, might not be who you are now - and that's okay. It's a chance to relearn each other, to redefine the needs in the relationship. See also; healthy.
If I were to summarize my past in dating, it would go something like this:
Not interested in these boys or their games
Totally interested in these boys and their games
Addicted to the games, and in turn the pain
Waking up in the pain, that had transcended from emotional to physical
Completely repelled and devastated by the pain which lead to running in a different direction - any direction with zero trust for myself or anyone else
Throwing my hands up to a higher power and asking for help (including therapy)
Justifying that the new bar I had set was as high as it could go (no abuse)
Trying to be OK with settling into that, even though I knew deep down I was meant for more
Tapping into my intuition and defining on a deep level what I really wanted and asking the universe to show me the way
Falling out of romantic love with someone who brought the absolute best they could to the table, including - parenting our beautiful daughter
Recognizing that there were certain things between us that couldn't be healed, and taking a huge leap out of that 7 year comfort
Seeing so clearly what I wanted and knowing I was ready for it, clearing space in all areas of my life for the man I knew I was always meant to meet
Now 5 years later, happily married with beautiful kids and a coparenting relationship that dreams are made of. A deep sense of fulfillment in my relationship with myself and others.
Let me tell you; there are serious amounts of mess in between those bullets. But now, that mess for me is absolute beauty. The journey that paralleled these stages, was a deeper calling and knowing myself and my worth. What I saw as pain, I now see as beautiful blessings and I am grateful for every bit of it.
When you are going through it, clutch onto that hope. Believe it.
Note: If you or someone you care about is experiencing (or has experienced) domestic abuse of any kind (emotional, physical) it can be hard to find a way out. Listen for the cries of help and be ready with the UHaul (thanks sis) tissues, and a good therapist. If YOU have been through it, the journey to healing can feel scary - but you must. It's the only way you will break the cycle and pattern of unhealthy relationships. You are not alone and you are worthy of healthy, loving relationships - including (and especially) the one with yourself.
The key? PAY ATTENTION. The little nudge or voice, only gets louder if you ignore it. And if you keep ignoring it, the train will go off the track - and you'll be left feeling helpless.
This isn't about what everyone else thinks is best for you, it's about what YOU know is best for you. You are not along for the ride; you are the ride, the passenger, and the tracks all at once!
You are in the driver's seat, and shouldn't settle. With that, is the need to truly define and visualize what you want for yourself on a soul level. Person to person, heart to heart connection. Values, not aesthetics. Yes, the outer packaging is important - and that preference varies for everyone - if the spark and chemistry isn't enough to knock your socks off, you may struggle.
Alternatively, if that's ALL it's about, you WILL struggle to maintain a meaningful connection. There is a fine line between being 'picky' and knowing deep down that someone isn't meant for you, but as you shift from the picky stuff that is surface level - what we really need to ask ourselves is whether or not the person that has entered our life is a blessing or a lesson.
Alternately, if you are struggling to find the 'one', stop obsessing and turn that energy inward. Let the manifestation begin.
In reflecting back on that journey for myself, there were a few things I remember popping into the 'no go zone'. If left unchecked they can quickly lead to an undesirable runaway train. Pick it up, Pick it up, Pick it up - bounce back!!
You feel bad leaving, and begin eroding your levels of integrity to make up for the loss of connection. (Cheating lives here)
Justifying in your mind that the relationship is better than being alone. (Hint, if you can't find moments of deep happiness alone, you won't truly be happy in a relationship) Yummy crumbs!
Feeling like the relationship is something you should do. I don't care if it 'looks good on paper' that's not the point here - this isn't about checking boxes.
Remaining stagnant in your personal growth, to make someone else more comfortable in the relationship.
Letting the other person totally dominate your free will for feeling that this dynamic is how relationships should be. (Losing your voice)
At the end of the day, I've found for me that what I was really looking for was an engagement of equals. Enough common ground to stand on, with unique individual differences to help each other grow and evolve. A natural give and take, not an aggressive 'trying to make it fit.'
I've learned that trust, respect, loyalty and good communication are nonnegotiable. The last one takes practice, the first three? Those are a strong yes or no.
I've learned that it's not my job to make another person feel whole, nor is it theirs.
I've learned that there is a difference between out-growing someone and giving up on someone because love is no longer being served.
I've learned that without forgiving the shit from the past, and yourself for accepting it - you will keep attracting more of the same.
I've also learned that no matter who might be struggling in their relationship - no matter how crystal clear it might seem from the outside - that only the soul knows when it's time to move on and that listening to your deeper knowing, and trusting it, is the only way to roll.
Power struggles don't work. An engagement of equals is all about accepting someone for who they are, who they become - and always knowing which core values are non-negotiable. Anything outside of those core values, is where the compromises can live happily. Don't turn down who you are, to make someone feel more important than they feel on the inside. (False bottom.)
If you've become ultra independent - just remember that it's okay to let others help you and that may include the need to soften a bit, including putting away that shiny armor.
Might doesn't make right, but it sure does shine a light on determining if you really want a struggle - or if you really want love, happiness and peace.
I've been married for a little over two years. I am by no means a veteran in this space, but I have 35 years of figuring out who I am and what I really need vs. want, on my side. The relationship that has manifested as a result, is one that will span many lifetimes - both with myself, and my wonderful husband.
I am no longer searching, struggling to find a fit, I can breath. And, it's the most fantastic fresh air ever. It's not a fairy tale. There will always be disagreements, there will be hard times - make sure that the character and core beliefs match and you can get through the rest. Good communication, checking your ego - both critical - it can and will still feel like hard work from time to time.
Do not ignore your intuition, don't accept crumbs when you want a meal, and don't give up. Know your nonnegotiables, and don't settle down if there is a little voice saying 'that's not the one' because that voice will only get louder and louder over the years, fermenting into resentment both of yourself, and of the other person.
Ain't nobody got time for that. But yet, millions of people remain stuck in unfulfilling relationships because they are afraid to take the leap.
On Valentine's Day, whether you are single, dating, married - always remember you are in a committed relationship with yourself first. Not in a selfish way, in a discovery way. If you keep that relationship healthy and loved - the relationships around you will fall into place. Don't be afraid to love again, what you believe about yourself, is what you will attract. You are worthy - once you truly believe that, what is meant for you - will enter your path (hello darling) or leave it (boy, bye).
If you are listening, you will hear it deeply and without question, when it arrives.
Happy Valentine's Day
A few questions for you to reflect and journal on. Sometimes all it takes is little acts of honest vulnerability with yourself, to create space for the authenticity we seek. Don't be afraid of the answers, sit with it and listen to your spirit.
These can be done on your own or you can do this together with a friend or your partner.
Do you trust? If not, who hurt you? What is keeping you from forgiving them?
Do you feel a sense of fulfillment in your life? Why or why not?
Do you feel healed and ready to start a new relationship? If yes, why are you ready?
If no, what still needs to be healed? Are you ready to heal it? How?
Do you forgive yourself for any past relationship mistakes? Why or why not.
What does the ideal partner look like for you? Physically, Mentally, Emotionally. List it all, visualize it.
What are your core beliefs about relationships?
Do you feel frustrated by not finding someone? If yes, release the frustration and visualize in your mind, body and spirit - the feeling of love. Tap into this feeling when you feel frustrated. (Doing so will keep your vibration high and aligned with what you are trying to attract.)
When was the last time you were vulnerable with your significant other? How did it feel?
Are you holding back anything that is bothering you? What is keeping you from sharing?
What do you love about yourself?
What do you love about your partner? Be sure to share with them.
Are you keeping score? If so, Why?
Do you feel your relationship reflects an engagement of equals? If yes, reflect on the feelings that come up for you. If No, who holds the power? How does that feel?
Do you remember to pay attention to the small things that bring your person joy? What are they? List one thing you will do for them that you haven't done in a while.
Are you holding back on something you want to do because of fear or doubt? What is it? What is one step you can take towards that goal, and how will you communicate your dreams?
Are you walking around bitter, angry or resentful? Reflect on what got you to that point, determine what you need to communicate. Are you ready to communicate these things, with love?
Soften your heart, show your cards first.
Are you happy in the relationship? What would make you happy?
What are the reasons why you are in the relationship? Is this the meal you are hungry for, or crumbs?
Have you communicated what you want? Have you communicated what you are able to give? List those things and plan to share with your person.
Does fear or comfort keep you in the relationship? Does that feel good? Why or why not.
What would need to change for things feel less complicated? Is it fixable?
What are you willing to do differently in the relationship in an effort to resolve?
Have your core values been breached? If yes, are you already done? Why are you staying?
What do you deserve? Are you receiving that?
Remember your worth, and love yourself first. If your intuition is saying it's time to move on, listen and act. Before the collateral damage of not listening to that knowing, starts to manifest in your life.
IN ALL SCENARIOS, HONESTY MUST PREVAIL.