We have the most incredible breakthroughs when we realize that we have all the love we need, already within us. When we realize that we don’t need to look for love outside of us, because we are love, the negative emotions and hurts from the past tend to naturally fade away. It also frees us up to allow ourselves to be drawn to the relationships that are right for us. We lose interest in tolerating relationships that are bad for us, as a way to get love. It’s pretty incredible.
I experienced this not so long ago. I came from a background where I was rarely listened to. I felt like I existed to plug up the holes in other people, rather than being a person in my own right. If a troubled or disturbed character came into my life and decided he wanted me, then he got me. My own agreement was never considered necessary. Even some of my own family and friends would pressure me into handing myself over to this person, regardless of my own feelings. It was as if I didn’t exist to have my own needs and desires. I was an object to plug up other people’s problems, to shield them from having to do their own work. I hated this role, but it never occurred to me to refuse to take it on. It felt like this was my life’s purpose, so I just needed to suck it up and do it.
I learned to stand up for myself and say no. I learned to walk away from anyone who didn’t treat me well, or who refused to get help for their problems, while expecting me to carry them. However, the feelings of frustration, helplessness and victimization had been in me for so long that they were addictive. I noticed that I tended to seek out situations that would trigger those feelings. If I heard a narcissist complain about people not having enough empathy for him because they expected him to take responsibility for his own life, I’d snarl and jump right into the discussion.
Looking back, it was a knee-jerk reaction. Subconsciously, I had a fear that I was going to be handed over to this person against my own desires so I was already on the defensive. Also, for a long time, this is what I thought love was – a mixed feeling of pity and revulsion for an emotionally abusive person who spent their life wallowing in self-pity and complaining about how victimized they were.
Recently, I heard a man complaining about how his attempts to pretend to be friends with women so they’d feel obligated to date him weren’t paying off, and about how women didn’t appreciate how wonderful he was. It was clear from listening to him that this guy had an massively high opinion of himself and felt entitled to have the woman he wanted, regardless of whether she wanted him. He also clearly felt himself to be above every other guy out there. He figured any guy who wasn’t him must be an abusive asshole. This man was clearly nowhere near as nice as he claimed he was. Normally, this would trigger me immediately. I have little tolerance for manipulative behavior. My blood would boil and I would jump straight into the discussion.
However, this time something felt different. If all the love I need is already within me, then I no longer need to be threatened by behavior that triggered me before. This guy has his own path to walk in life, and his own lessons to learn. There will always be people like this in the world, regardless of whether I’m here or not. I know how to stand up to people who try to pressure me into undesired relationships so I don’t need to react with fear as soon as one of them comes into my experience. I don’t need to tolerate abusive behavior to get love.
It felt amazing. I felt very soft and calm. The feelings of frustration and anger were a shield to keep me safe. As long as I stayed angry, then I was always felt prepared for people like this. However, by anchoring into deeply loving and valuing myself, and listening to and trusting my intuition, I can still be aware of red flags while also feeling love and calmness.
What changes do you notice as you sink into greater love for yourself?