Looking for love in all the wrong places? | Diane Viola
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Looking for love in all the wrong places?

For those who remember this song, chances are it conjures up images of past partners with whom life was far from sweet.  Despite our being sure the problem lay with them, quite probably, what we were seeking in or from them was something they couldn’t, or it wasn’t their place, to give.  Apart from the men or women in our lives, there are many places we mistakenly seek love.  Whenever we are looking for love (approval, acceptance, relief from pain, etc.) outside ourselves without having already tapped into the well within, we could be looking for trouble.

Out of discovering who we really are, beyond our limited perception of who we have imagined ourselves to be, we are free to be self-loving.  And it is really only when we truly love ourselves that we are able to unconditionally love and be loved by others.  How I know that we are all deserving of love is to remember that at one time were just a baby.  In babies we see the perfection and innocence we frequently deny ourselves and others as we grow beyond childhood.

There are many ways in which not loving ourselves can manifest, some more obvious than others.  In our intimate relationships we may push people away at the very time we most want to draw them near out of the false belief, whether consciously held or not, that we’re not deserving of their love.  As parents, we can have trouble disciplining our children for fear that they won’t love us.  In our friendships and at work, we hold back from telling the truth for similar reasons, all the while denying ourselves and others the gift of our essential selves.  Rather than being who we really are, we either cut part of ourselves out or cover it up.  Either way, we are left feeling incomplete and wondering why we’re not really happy in our relationships.

This is what I believe relationship offers us – the opportunity to discover and be who we really are.  For anyone on that path, you know it won’t be all fun and games.  At times it can be enormously painful as we confront and move through the blocks to the presence of love and to our own beauty and magnificence.

Sometimes when we meet ‘the one’, the things from our past – whether circumstances, events or emotions – which we haven’t previously felt safe dealing with, come rushing to the fore.  Suddenly they don’t feel like ‘the one’ anymore!  The key is to recognise that it is not about them but about what is within you that is causing the discomfort.  It’s simply your partner’s job (whether they know it or not) to mirror for you that which has always been there.  This gives you the opportunity to face it, respond to it and move beyond it, knowing there is someone you trust to hold your hand as you do.  Being with my partner since 1986, I have had many opportunities to both witness and experience this!

The willingness to tell the truth, find another way and be open to discovering what’s next, is what keeps a relationship dynamic.  It may not always be comfortable as you continue to push past your old limitations, but the growing pains are invariably worth it.

August 2000 Newsletter ‘Straight from the Heart’ (updated)

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