When self-love isn’t enough

Experiencing another’s deep love for us in a healthy relationship can teach us how to love ourselves more beautifully

Self-Love is a term I think we are all hearing more and more, almost to the point I question it’s integrity.

Do you really need to love yourself wholly and completely to be satisfied within a relationship?

I don’t believe this is always true.

It’s more difficult to build a healthy relationship with yourself when you haven’t experienced it with another.

Experiencing another’s deep love for us in a healthy relationship can teach us how to love ourselves more beautifully. Many people learn to love themselves by first being loved by another. If you grew up in a house that displayed healthy love and support, you are more likely to mimic this in adulthood. Ideally, we would be healthy, whole, and complete before we started the relationship journey with another. For many of us this isn’t the case.

We naturally mimic what we see. Being loved deeply by someone changes you

It is unlikely at this point in your life that you have made it without being wounded. Somedays, I honestly see it lurking around every corner. But I can also see where the world is teaching me to love more beautifully. Whichever one I focus on grows.

The proper love, affection, and attention from another may be the key to believing you are loveable. When someone loves you completely and vulnerably, you feel cherished and in turn you learn to love yourself more. If you are both on a journey of self-love and healing, willing to grow, share, and change; it can be the beginning of an exciting and beautiful adventure together.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu

We must be willing to share our needs, wants, desires, dreams, to create healthy alignment within the relationship. This requires vulnerability and courage. It requires us to have uncomfortable conversations. When appropriate, it may require us to look past our own needs and put the needs of another first; at other times we must voice and enforce to have our own needs met. While our needs and another’s are separate, they can work synergistically. Growth and healing becoming more powerful as a unit than individually.

Part of learning how to love yourself is being loved by another as you need to be loved. Some of us can achieve this by envisioning this love coming from our creator, a perfect and complete love. For me this is also a key aspect to loving myself and those around me. But its a piece of the puzzle, not the said and done solution. I believe it to be a dance, between creation, myself, and another.

How do we manage when our partner doesn’t cooperate with our needs and wants? When their actions speak louder than words?

Growth and healing are not one sided. While expressing your feelings and needs, if your partner says; “You need more retreats to find your self-love” this is not effective communication and balanced responsibility. If you feel your needs are not being taken with seriousness and compassion you may need to self reflect to decide what steps to take next.

Evaluate your relationship. No one is perfect. It’s not a rate your partner on a scale of 1 to 10 question. It is an evaluation of: how is your relationship? What would you rate your relationship together as a couple. All relationships are a choice. It’s easier in the beginning when you are intoxicated with oxytocin, dopamine, and passion; obviously not thinking clearly. Once this euphoria wears off we can find reasons to run away from even the best relationships, when we focus on things that our partner falls short on. If your relationship as a whole scores poorly, it may be time to part ways peacefully. Relationships are our greatest teachers, and sometimes they reveal what we do not need. This is equally as powerful as discovering what we do need.

Evaluate your needs. Ask yourself: What do I need for my partner to give? What do I need from myself? There is a unique balance of what you need to give to yourself and what your partner can give to you. While we can’t expect our partners to fulfill our every need, we should be able to trust in them for our core desires. It is ok to crave loving attention and connection, these are beautiful key aspects of being involved in an intimate relationship.

Communicate your needs. Describe what you are feeling and see from your point of view. Use I statements such as “I am feeling….” avoid making any statements of “you make me feel…) this stunt effective communication and puts our partners into defense mode.

Set boundaries with each other. When you communicate openly, you each know what it expected of the other. When boundaries are crossed or needs are repeatedly not met, open communication is important to help alleviate frustration and keep you moving forward with healthy patterns. Have the courage and vulnerability to speak up before you start to replay scenarios in your mind and the offenses begin to multiply. Let your partner know what you expect and desire, explain how this creates feelings of love and appreciation. Ask them what actions you can do to reciprocate these same feelings for them.

Know your partners love language. If you have not read, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman; I suggest you take this quiz to help you determine you and your partners love languages. Knowing how to show your partner you love them is a lot less of a guessing game when you can speak their love language and communicate love in a way they can hear it.

When we communicate lovingly and speak truth with compassion, we often discover that we are far better together. Our relationship with another can be a journey of deep intimate connection, ocean of healing, and limitless spiritual growth.

Live righteously and love abundantly,

Elizabeth

What I Learned From My Pain

True healing happens when we choose to venture into our pain; seeing, accepting, and honoring our wounds. Embracing my pain allowed me to embrace my life.

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Someone is sobbing uncontrollably. These are cries from a heart that has lost hope. One cannot live long without hope.

I hear, “it is finished”, I stop, realizing the cries have been coming from me. My face is pressed hard against the cold cement floor in my bathroom, it feels so heavy I cannot lift it. Somehow I manage to sit up, legs crossed. Through my tear saturated lashes and swollen lids I look around me. Everything is familiar yet different.

Something has happened inside of me. Something has been awakened.

It’s Christmas Eve. I have been on my bathroom floor crying for what seems like an eternity. Life has brought me to the floor many times over the past decade. I have sat in my pain and tears; praying for the strength, courage, and ability to continue onward, but this episode is different. Something “let go”. That Christmas Eve, I found the lesson in the wound, the answer in my pain. I unearthed a part of me I didn’t know existed. Something was reborn. Me. 

The painful process of becoming who I needed to be for the next step in my life was complete.

Previously, there were many times I wanted to run from the pain, vowing this episode was going to be the last, but deep down I knew running wasn’t the answer. Over time I marinated in it, allowing the pain to open my eyes to countless beautiful wonders. I was able to see my life as it was, a gift. It taught me to focus my awareness into the moment, to forgive quickly, to see the good in everyone even when other’s couldn’t.

I cycled deeper and deeper into the pain until this moment came, arriving on time, that Christmas Eve.

Pain prepared me for what was ahead, what I ultimately could sense just over the horizon. Accepting and loving my life, even the parts that were difficult…the ones I could only offer grace to, shaped me into the person I am today. It put into motion a life that I choose intentionally. A wholesome tribe.  Relationships with boundaries. A life of balance and harmony. My voice which was hushed for so long because I was told it was not valid; I am now learning to use.

Pain shaped and guided me to move into alignment with my highest self. I am a survivor and I am thriving.

This journey is just beginning, but the beauty and possibilities are infinite. The road is harder than I envisioned, but has more depth and beauty than I could imagine. I have become increasingly aware of the magnitude of practicing gratitude within all areas of life.

True healing happens when we choose to venture into our pain; seeing, accepting, and honoring our wounds.  

The pain I now carry is different. It is moving pain. It moves with me, I allow myself to express it, to feel it. I listen to it when it arises and ask myself what I need in the moment. I no longer suppress it, or tell myself I deserve it, or label “selfish” to my feelings that long for more out of Life.

I have come to realize what was missing from my life all along, was me. 

The experiences of my life have shaped me. Some are joyous and some are very difficult. Each and every one of these experiences shaped me into who I am. I am thankful for the wonderful, but when it comes to the pain of life, repeatedly I chose to not accept it. My life was often inadvertently shaped out of trying to avoid more pain.

I’ve learned the painful experiences are just as significant as the good, sometimes more.

Perhaps it’s a divorce, death of a loved one, a life changing illness, all horrible things I wouldn’t wish on anyone and avoid even thinking about. Yet, as I face events I previously valiantly avoided, I choose to allow myself to grow through them. As I evolve I become aware of the depth they have brought to my life, that nothing else could.

Suffering strengthened me. It taught me tenderness, humility, and grace.

Suffering forces me to look at life closer, sometimes down to the moment, for the future can seem too painful, overwhelming, or scary to envision. Survival is only present in the moment.

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I have found that pain points me towards the direction where my life should go.

For as long as I can remember I had a sense something wasn’t right, something was missing.

I used vices such as social media, alcohol, and other mind numbing activities to avoid being present with my pain and myself in these moments. Avoidance allowed my pain to grow and return with more vengeance until small particles burst forth in an explosion, often displayed as anger. After the short release I would obtain control, put the lid back on, and regain composure. This emotionally unintelligent cycle was forced to repeat itself over and over again until I began to acknowledge and journey into my pain.

Sitting in my pain allowed a new version of myself to emerge, one that could only be born through affliction and discomfort.

If I had continued to run from suffering and pain, I would have been bypassing the life I needed to grow into. I would have not discovered the version of me I am today. Life is found in the moment. Avoiding the painful moments of my life, was a diversion from Life itself.

Embracing my pain allowed me to embrace Life. 

Understanding that nothing is forever, not even my pain, allows me to be truly grateful for the joys I experience. I seek to love each and every moment without attachment. Even the hard ones I can give love and grace to, for they are not forever. I surrender my future life, what I envision it will look like, who will be in it, where I will live or work. I drop all expectations. I set intentions and give vision to my life, but let go of any predictions on how this will come to fruition or who it will embody.

My energy shifts out of alignment when I become too attached to someone or some goal.

 I trust that Life is conspiring for me, not against me. I am open, present, and aware of any gifts; whether they are people, circumstances, or visions. I focus on my intentions and the moments of my Life. My intention is love (I feel it is for many of us), but I have let go of what love looks like.

I don’t dismiss something, whether it’s a circumstance, job, or person, if it isn’t designed as I conceptualized. Life knows better than I do. I trust Life and my circumstances. What was once seen as bad luck or worst case scenario has lead to the creation of my dream job and fairy-tale relationship. Ultimately, I realize relationships are my greatest teacher.

Divine partners often come in a different form than envisioned, but are attached to a relationship that has more depth than we can imagine. Relationships are our greatest chance to unlock real love and healing from within. 

When a relationship involves a partner who is wholly committed to the process, the relationship challenges growth and heals wounds created from unmet needs. With this real transformation occurs. This requires radical acceptance, grace, and humility. 

I have begun to awaken my love for Life itself. 

Love is an inside job, it is not dependent on person, place or thing. I do not need love, I am the love. The only way to manifest love is to give love. I start with loving and accepting myself, my feelings, and continue to become aware of the beautiful life that unfolds from this one intention. Love awakens more love. 

When I choose to love and accept myself, I form a deep connection within me to Life itself.

From the foundation of this bond my other relationships have the ability to flourish. I set boundaries and release unhealthy lifestyles and relationships. My Life is dedicated to grace, growth, and love. The things that no longer serve for the positive evolution of my soul are released in love. 

Let go of fear and fall in love with Life. No one can take what you freely give. 

Step with me into the unknown, experience life, and it will give you the power and confidence to become you.

This is my intention and my prayer for myself.

Until I am compelled to write again,

Elizabeth xo