"Love begins with you" is easier said than done.
Over the years, I have wrestled with this idea that in order to really love another person, or for that love to be considered REAL, that it has to start with a deep love of yourself.
When someone said, “put on your oxygen mask first,” I think the surface meaning is a good one (that you can’t care for another if you’re going down with the ship), but that part of the analogy is only a teaspoon deep. There is so much more that’s required if you want really find a mature, lasting love.
What I have come to believe is that the process of learning to love yourself sets the stage for your ability to love another person in a grown-up way.
By getting the neediness and unmet childhood issues out of your way, you free yourself to love someone fully and authentically for who they are.
Think about this: If you came from a family of divorce — where your parents fought and used you as a pawn to settle their scores — what do you really know about fighting fair? Or getting your needs met when you disagree? Or speaking up for yourself or honoring your feelings when you are scared or stressed?
When you have unexplored feelings from your past, they cloud your ability to decide what you want, need or feel in an honest way.
The reason this is true is because those feelings, when they are left unhealed, have power. They motivate you; they cause you to act in certain ways or to feel certain things because the only lens you have for understanding your feelings is through the past.
Let’s explore that for a second because it’s important.
Your past is motivational because it is the backdrop of your life, like it or not. What we do with our stories is we interpret them; we make meaning out of them.
That same kid who grew up through divorce may tell himself “Marriage never works out” because that’s all he knows. Or she may tell herself “All men cheat or lie” because that’s all she knows.
The inherent risk is that sometimes we assign the wrong meaning to a circumstance and then use that misinformation as a compass for our life.
It happens… All. The. Time.
So, when someone says “love begins with you,” I think it goes much deeper than putting your oxygen mask on or getting your weekly massage or date night with your girls. I think that message is really about digging into your past and investigating what your past has come to mean to you.
Because if your story is one that says — love is hard; love is only for special or normal people; people like me don’t find love or love is too hard to sustain… well, then one day (if it hasn’t happened already) you will find a way to make that belief a reality.
That’s what our minds do when we’re busy playing out a narrative. We look for the signs and the cues that things are going “the way we expected.” Which is a self-fulfilling prophesy for disaster.
If you’re someone who is hungry for love, and you keep experiencing the same people (with the same baggage) over and over, perhaps the work you need to do is to explore what you have decided your past means to you.
As Brene Brown says, “When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
Ask yourself: What do I tell myself about love that stems directly from my past?
What meaning have you assigned to your old relationships, your parent’s relationship, your siblings, grandparents or any other influential people in your life that helped carve out the part of your heart (and mind) that believes these facts about love?
“Love begins with you” means that you look at that list of beliefs and then ask yourself which of them are true? What evidence do you have that these beliefs are actually FACTS?
Perhaps your evidence is a feeling or your intuition. Not to rule out intuition, Einstein believed in intuition as do I, but intuition that’s influenced by fear may be misplaced. In fact, it could steer you directly away from the person who could make you the happiest in the world.
By exploring the meaning behind your reactions, your feelings become messengers, capable of steering your life in a direction that’s powerfully true to your heart’s greatest desire.
It shifts the energy away from self-preservation into the realm of thriving and soaring.
Once you know your beliefs, and can say with greater certainty which are genuine and authentically yours, the ones that are carryovers from the past are warning signs.
When those false beliefs come up, you’re being given a gift; an opportunity to listen to your fear and ask what is being triggered? What is the feeling trying to warn you about?
It could be the sign that the relationship is wrong for you and you’re going to have to have the courage to walk away and be alone again.
Or if just might be that you’ve finally called in the one.
The person who will bring your heart the greatest joy you have ever imagined. But you won’t be able to understand what your feelings are trying to tell you if you don’t love yourself enough to ask what the mature person inside of you needs to feel safe and secure in love.
Everything else is just an add-on that perhaps served a purpose once, but is no longer needed.
As a grown person, in charge of your heart, you are free to search for love that meets your adult needs; a love that’s not wrapped up in childhood fears and worries.
By loving yourself honestly, even radically, with full truth and intention, you will finally be able to recognize your beloved and the wrong relationships will hold no appeal to you because your need to have “any” love will pass and for the first time, only the RIGHT love will do.
If you’re ready to learn how to dismantle your old beliefs and radically accept the truth about what you want in a mature partnership, I’m leading a LIVE Masterclass with Arielle Ford, this Monday, April 17th in her Art of Love Inner Circle group. Join me for “Love Begins With You: How To Radically Accept What You Want From Your Soul Mate & Manifest True Love!”