Loving yourself through relationships

(This piece of sharing is written from my perspective as a woman who likes men. I respect all sexual orientations and have no comments about preferences different from mine. If anything here offends you, I apologize in advance, and you don’t have to read anything that doesn’t sit well with you. Please close the browser, keep your comments to yourself and channel your energy to something else that resonates with you.xoxo)

As long as we are human, it is impossible to avoid love. Of course, the concept of love and relationships extends far beyond that of romantic and marriage based relationships. But for the vast majority of us earthly mortals, romantic relationships are still the kind of relationships that offer the most challenge, fulfillment and growth.

My last relationship ended some 8 years ago. Each time the topic of marriage came up, I did the disappearing act. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was deeply freaked out by the idea of commitment  After the breakdown in my 3rd relationship, I realized that the problems with my love life did not arise with the other person. The problems came from ME. And so I said to myself – Let’s take a break from relationships and really look into ‘Who am I’.

So began an arduous journey of Raw foods, Fasting, Yoga, Meditation, contributing to humanity and so on. I was obsessed with personal development and became a growth junkie.  I rejected men who showed interest in me, and closed myself to relationships. Several times, I seriously contemplated the idea of renouncing the world, going to the mountain ashrams and shaving my head.

As life would have it, a year ago, I fell in love for the first time in 8 years. It didn’t quite work out, and I was heart broken for a few months. But through the experience, something hit me on my head – I realized that in order for me to progress, I have to fall in love, the human kind of love. I have to participate in human life, in human worldly love, to allow my colored Samskaras (drivers of behavior) to play out, so that I can identify and work on them. So, 7 years after intense self work, I opened myself up to dating, love and relationships.

You might have already guessed that, the path of love is not less arduous than the ‘spiritual’ path. I also realized, after studying myself intensely, that my ‘spiritual path’ was at times bordering into being a bandaid over unresolved issues that I wasn’t able to yet integrate. I began exploring the feminine part of me that I had lost contact with. I allowed myself to feel what every woman who is deeply connected to their core feminine knows about – desire and longing. I longed to be in a spiritually fulfilling, fully self expressed and committed relationship with a quality man; not just any man, but a man who is my soul mate on every level. With that I created a new goal for myself, to attract and keep a soul mate relationship with a man that inspires me into full expression as a woman.

In fact, the moment we fall in love and enter relationships with another human being, breakdowns and pain are inevitable. There will surely be some form of pain because we are human beings, we are not immortals. And as for the meanings we give to our pain, our beliefs about it, and the subsequent choices we make, well, that determines the amount of fulfillment and suffering we experience 🙂

Interestingly, over the same period that I began learning about love and relationships and men, I also had a record high of close friends opening up to me about their relationship breakdowns. Most of them came from my girlfriends, although I did get to hear from some of the men too. All of them were undergoing unpleasant breakups, some were in the midst of divorce and separation; and some even have kids. Although they don’t know one another (I have very diverse groups of friends who do not mix well) but all these close girlfriends of mine were heartbroken, whether they show it or not. Some were on the very verge of emotional breakdown. I was learning a lot from them, especially when I get to hear the stories from both the man and the woman.

In contrast, I also had a fair share of friends in blissful, fulfilling and mutually supportive relationships and marriages. They were such a joy to be with! These women have a different quality about them, different mechanism of dealing with breakdowns, and their men too have very different characteristics. Whenever I observed these happy couples, I was awed by the differences of relational chemistry displayed through their interactions.

The biggest lesson that stood out glaringly to me was this – we are in fact, in a relationship with ourselves. Our partner is merely a mirror to reflect to us who we really are showing up as.

Be a Soulmate unto Thyself

Your partner will treat you the same way that you treat yourself. If you take care of yourself, all of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, then your partner will show up as that too.  Your insecurities, fears and self judgements towards yourself will be amplified exactly in the same manner in your man. If you want someone to be committed and devoted to you, you first have to be equally devoted and committed to yourself in the first place. How much do you nurture and give to yourself? There is no way someone can love you more than you love yourself. If you want soul mate love, you first have to be a soul mate to yourself.

To heal from anything, you have to feel your emotions

It probably takes another conversation to cover the importance of using emotions to transcend and grow. I can’t over-emphasize how devoid of emotions we are as society, and how important it is to be able to feel them. Consider that, no experience of reality is complete without allowing ourselves to feel. Emotions are energy in motion; when we don’t feel them, its not because we don’t have them; rather, Its because we suppress them. Prolonged suppression leads to depression because these energy gets stuck in your system. And then eventually, life becomes stuck.

Do you know people who are constantly depressed and moody? Its almost like they are afraid to be happy because they are scared that someone will demand something from them if they become happy. That is what we become when we suppress feelings. People who live from this state have very limited resources to give to others, and others who love them or lives with them suffers. Many of these emotionally constipated people continue living quiet lives of desperation, swinging between momentary numbness and despair. Dragging their feet through life, existing, surviving; that is hardly a way to live at all. Whenever there is pain, we have to go through them as authentically as we can; there are plenty of methods to express negative emotions without damage. Yoga is one marvelous tool.

If it doesn’t work, wish them well and move ahead

Love and relationships are not a bed of roses; life isn’t either. It is challenging, although it can be tremendously rewarding. Before you understand yourself, become a better version of yourself and learn how to love better, there could be plenty of breakdowns along the way that are heart wrenching. Sometimes it didn’t work out, sometimes our loved ones die before us, sometimes it was a traumatic breakup. In those times you will feel like the sun will not shine tomorrow, and you can’t find it in you to smile again. But you know what, you just have to move on. With tons of tissue to wipe the tears maybe, but you have to get moving away from the one who is no longer available so that those who DO love and are available for you can come running to you.

Do you remember the last time you saw a crappy movie which was a waste of time and brain cells? How many times did you see that movie – only once isn’t it? You didn’t go back to watch it over and over again – because its simply not worth it. So, all those relationships that didn’t work out, wish them well, and then move on with your life. Know that it is no loss to you because they can’t contribute to you anymore. The fact that a relationship had ended means its value to you is over and a better one awaits you. And, don’t resent or hate either, because it does you no good. You will never know how wonderful your life can get if you stop moving.

Never settle. You are a speck of divine force in action, and you create your destiny.

I believe that the vast majority of people have good intentions, until they show that they do not. People do not intentionally want to hurt others unless they are acutely confused. Don’t blame them, but remind yourself that confused partners cannot make you very happy. Quality men actually want to make their women happy.

It may not seem obvious at first, but its the well developed masculine energy that draws out the beautiful feminine essence in almost every situation of life, and vice versa. The best of men are strong, generous, kind, authentic, steadfast and totally sexy when they dare to go after what they want in life, be it business or love. Of course, I’m not saying that there are no knuckleheads around, but my belief is that these are the minority. Women with a well developed feminine energy have the same attributes with an added flavor of grace and fluidity. As soon as you commit to loving yourself, you will begin to notice the quality people, including quality men in your life. To all of you women who are single and moving towards your soul mate, I feel like saying to you this – Don’t settle for just any man that you can pass time with; go for that man who loves you enough to be a real man for you, who commits to showing up in his best for you, who recognizes the divine in himself and in you, and who is ready to co-create your best life with you together.

Life happens FOR you; never TO you. And for me, life is a celebration. Never miss a chance to party dance or laugh. Big hugs!

Linda Loo (C) 2016

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