Many of us have had more than one relationship in our lives.
We may have been married, perhaps we're serial monogamists or something of a player.
At times love may have eluded us and appeared to have been lost. So, navigating the somewhat turbulent waters of dating can feel like we're going around in circles.
Even with a certain amount of self-awareness, it can be a highly frustrating and disappointing experience. We seek out the online profiles, wondering if anyone is halfway normal out there (the word normal is used subjectively) and give up, when we just can't bear it anymore.
Many of us hope we'll meet someone doing the things we love, or randomly at the grocery store and when it doesn't happen, frustration mounts and determination subsides.
We may think something is wrong with us, or all the other singles out there!
The older we get, the more we may be weighted down by our past relationships.
We make our decisions based off what happened in the relationships; whether a past partner cheated, or abandoned us, perhaps there was always drama, or no intimacy and so we create an idea in our minds of what we will or won't tolerate.
The thing is, it isn't so much about our past partners and who they were; it was more about our past partners and who we were being at the time.
Where were we at with ourselves that we attracted this person into our lives? And why does it seem with all the awareness we keep attracting people who don't fit what we believe, we need?
I talk to people all the time in my work, wonderful human beings, who believe they are ready for that particular significant other to enter their lives. Unfortunately, many are still emotionally tied up in a past relationship, whether in feelings or in the rules they create for future engagement.
When we're basing it off what didn't work in the past, rather than our own availability to having an emotional bond with another, we will continue to transmit the same ol' energy!
And if we haven't dealt with what keeps us emotionally holding on, there is no space inside of us to allow another vulnerable entry into our lives.
I've done this cycle, over and over again, in the past. I've compared the new person, to the one I can't let go of, or I've drawn rigid lines for what is acceptable and I've searched desperately for the fatal flaw. All this sort of thinking and action has ever gotten me is in fact, to remain alone.
It doesn't pay off to set things up on the outside that we have either no intention of holding ourselves to, or no idea why we're so afraid to allow someone any latitude at all.
Once we gain clarity on ourselves, it leads to a better understanding of our beliefs, which may include how little worth we may feel inside and our search for it outside of us, leads to these crazy-making results.
It also is important to know our self-imposed limitations, especially when it comes to handling disappointment. The truth may be that we just can't handle more disappointment in the love department, so we pick people who will, indeed, disappoint us, or we run before they can.
When we live in a place of expecting someone else to show up how we want, with no sharp edges, or anything, which could create disappointment, hurt or make us feel meaningless, we're putting all the responsibility for our happiness outside of ourselves.
If we want to change the people we attract, we need to dig deeper into our emotional unavailability first. Here's how:
1. Get real with insecurities.
This helps us to find those hidden beliefs, which trip us up.
2. Notice where we're defensive.
Why are we throwing up protection? Seek to understand, ask questions to stop the past from being projected onto the present.
3. Speak our truth out loud.
Speak the fears, the reasons and the desire to have what we want, while we're moving out of our own way.
4. Set better boundaries and standards.
We don't need to tell anyone our standards; we just need to follow them ourselves. Whatever we want to set up for our lives, we need to agree to also live that way through our own actions and words. When we uphold respect and love for ourselves, others will too.
5. Take emotional risks.
If we lack confidence, it's from playing it safe for way too long. It comes from hiding out and sticking our toe in rather than both feet. We won't know if it's safe, until we venture all the way in, and if the water is too cold, we can choose to try a warmer, more receptive place to jump in!
First posted on elephant journal
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