You've given it all you've got. You're tired of the disrespect, lack of being a priority, being used, ignored and/or the emotional, verbal or physical abuse. You spend more time sad and upset than peaceful and happy. You begin to recognize a voice inside of you telling you it's time to go, but you can't seem to take the next step. You believe love is holding you back, but is it?
What's really stopping you? Why are you allowing yourself to stay in something that is clearly not adding value to your life? What belief have you attached to that you are not letting go of?
The one thing I know for sure is the answers to the questions above will be based in fear.
Step One: Locate the Fearful Beliefs
Six years ago I was faced with this exact dilemma. I was dating a man I felt was perfectly suited for me. (At least he was in the beginning) I fell madly in love with him. Over time his interest, attention and respect began to wane. Naturally I tried to bring up the obvious disconnection and distance, but he wanted no part of deep or emotional conversation. He even went as far to say, "You're too good of a communicator."
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't that a good thing?
I tried everything I could to be a "good girlfriend." I gave him plenty of space, I was happy, fun, sexual and spontaneous. As long as I kept things superficial and "easy," he was in. The minute I tried to discuss an issue, he was out.
Instead of progressing forward, he was trying to regress backward. It became quite apparent this relationship was going nowhere.
That realization alone was heart breaking because I truly thought I had found my perfect mate. I knew it was time to go, but how was I going to make this move when I still loved him?
I was frozen.
I asked myself why I was staying where I was surely not valued and I prayed and meditated like crazy for answers. When I started to pay attention to my inner dialogue this is what it said:
This is your last chance at love. You will not get another chance.
You are too old and not attractive anymore. No one will want you.
No one will want a woman who has three children.
No one will want a woman who is living with her sick and elderly parents.
You are unsafe without a man. You must keep him no matter what!
As long as I believed these thoughts, I would remain frozen. It was time to do something because each day I chose to stay, my self-worth and joy were fragmenting away leaving me a shell of who I used to be.
Step Two: Challenge and Reframe Your Fears (False Beliefs)
Locating our fears is a fabulous first step, but it's not over yet, dear ones. We must be willing to challenge the legitimacy of those beliefs and find alternate, better feeling beliefs to replace them with.
I immediately set course to challenge each belief that was holding me hostage. I was able to reframe some of them on my own, but I was very attached to others. They felt so real I was having trouble releasing the stranglehold they had on me. I was weak and I knew it. So I took it to the only power I know greater than me...
I asked God/Source/Universe to give me a new perspective by showing me real life examples opposing each of my fearful beliefs.
I witnessed men falling in love with and marrying women who had five children not just three.
Reframe: There are men out there who will embrace his partner's multiple children.
I watched people I know find beautiful love connections well into their upper years of life!
Reframe: Love has no age limit.
I observed men supporting their women through tough life trials like financial strain, troubled children, difficult exes or ill parents.
Reframe: There is a man out there who will love me regardless of my life trials.
I was astonished to discover how untrue my fears really were. Additionally, I learned that it was not my undying love for my partner that kept me frozen, but a paralyzing fear of the unknown. My need to hold on was not loved based -- it was fear-based.
When seeking to take an empowered step towards our future, we must throw out the beliefs that freeze us and bring in the beliefs that free us!
We must be willing to challenge the old and reframe it with new.
Step Three: Be Your Own Advocate
Throughout life we are given situations where we have the choice to stand up for ourselves or diminish our worth by shutting down and shutting up. Some people can be so good at gas lighting (manipulating us into questioning our own sanity) that we are unsure what is real and we lose sight of who we are and what we desire.
However, we have a choice whether to accept their manipulation and blame or not, by going within and searching our soul for what feels right.
There is not one person on this planet who can tell you anything that will minimize what your soul is telling you unless you allow them to. If it feels wrong, it is wrong.
As the self-worth expert, Debbie Ford once said, "We have one soul to take care of and we must take care of it."
The only person truly capable of taking care of you is you.
We must be willing to be our own advocate when something is amiss. We must cultivate the courage to do what feels right and true for us no matter how difficult or fearful it is.
Our well-being must come first in order to attract and maintain a loving and reciprocal relationship.
No one enjoys the ending of a relationship. It can be one the most horrifically painful experiences to endure. However, staying in an unhealthy relationship will slowly eat away at our life force, kill our joy and forever keep us longing for the fulfilling life we crave.
The end of a relationship is not the end of your life. Contrarily, by choosing to leave a dysfunctional, one-sided or abusive relationship, you are owning your worth and telling the Universe:
I am worthy of love and respect and I am ready to bravely step into the unknown to find it!
Post Script: After I healed my false beliefs, I successfully left my lopsided relationship. Because my mind changed, my energy changed and soon thereafter, I met the "perfect" man for me. We've been happily sharing life together for almost four years now.
If you are interested in: learning how to attract the relationship you've always desired, a copy of Kristen's book or exploring Kristen's relationship articles, please visit www.kristenbrown.org.