THE BLOG
11/25/2013 04:07 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Do You Believe in Love?

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Photo credit: dark_mephi

If asked, most of us say we believe in love. Is it a person showing up for us, being in our corner, spending time together and the right words? We may think of allowing love as outside of ourselves.

"What are their actions? What are they doing? When will they stop that behavior, which makes it hard to be with them?"

We can stop love dead in its tracks by investing in our picture of what we imagine love to be, whether it's from a story, movie, song, our own experiences or our family.

It's not to say we should put up with someone who truly hurts us and means us harm. It's just not all about the other person. It's about us, too.

Do we allow ourselves to truly and deeply be loved by another? Really?
Do we allow ourselves to fully and completely love the other person or are there conditions?

Ninety percent of the time there are conditions on both ends of the spectrum. And there's no real belief in love. To be fully loved, we have to open and release the obstacles.

This includes patterns of conditioning -- focusing on the shortcomings of others so we remain closed. It's the fear they will abandon us if we trust them, and most difficult of all, being invulnerable.

It's quite a list. Usually, our partner shares our obstacles. We're mirrors.Allowing love, means to go inside and confront our fears. Everything working against love, will keep us in painful spaces in our relationships.When we complain about the other, what does it say about us?

In the past, I loved someone and he loved me. Neither of us did a very good job at allowing the other person to love us fully and completely. We did the dance of intimacy. If he disappointed me, I closed up shop and left. If I triggered something in him, he'd find the nearest emotional cave. The lessons in this relationship have changed me in ways that I could never have facilitated on my own.

I was a lone wolf, picturing myself as Thoreau. I'd be just fine (not really). When I met this man, he had the same conditioning. This relationship broke me of my conditioning through realizing my need for love of myself and for others.

We both used to unconsciously find people to fulfill that conditioning. Emotional drama ensued, because there was no vulnerability in any of our past relationships.

Our biggest issue was our own self-worth, not allowing ourselves to be truly loved by each other.

It's so hard, isn't it?

We become vulnerable for a moment, and expect our partner to do so, when instead it should be a way of life, because it's our most honest and authentic self.

How do we run away from allowing someone to love us:

• Picking fights
• Judging their love
• Cutting off and hiding out emotionally
• Purposely doing things to create emotional distance
• Our feelings, words and actions don't match
• Getting in our head and out of our heart
• We criticize ourselves and our apparent weakness for loving someone who gives us so little or does things to upset us

It takes two to tango and do the emotional distancing dance!

What can you do to allow love to rule within you, to be open receivers and givers of the nectar of life?

1. Recognize you deserve to be loved fully and completely just as you are.
Become aware of the ways you don't love yourself, and all the obstacles you place to your own happiness. Why do you think you don't deserve love now? It's time to make love to yourself.

2. Stop protecting yourself.
There's no such thing. You end up hurt, because you still go through the experience, doing it inauthentically, instead of being fully engaged emotionally. This starts the "shoulda, coulda, woulda" conversation in your head.

3. When your partner wants to participate fully in your life, let them.
Let them support you, walk beside you, listen to you, make love to you, cheer you on, let them in all the way.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. You may cringe, or have anxiety, because you don't feel good enough to have this person participate. Step through that wall and allow it, you'll get used to it.

4. Break a pattern
Call it opposite day. Whatever your first reaction or your comfort zone is in relationships, do the opposite. Stop yourself from doing what you always do.

5. Communicate
Don't run, hide, shut down, throw up walls or anything else to stop honest, deep feelings from being shared. Be vulnerable, because every time you let your head get in the way, you make more issues for the relationship. You never feel good unless you speak from the heart, which means no finger pointing. Say it with kindness.

6. Have fun!
Make time for fun, every minute you can with your mate! Life is short, truly. So laugh, kid and play with love!

And lastly, believe in love!