Have you devoted years, if not decades, to therapeutic services in the search for the answer to how to love and forgive yourself and your ex-partner(s)? The self-help gurus, coaches, and TikTokers offer up many exercises that work to a limited degree by creating an awareness of the emotions we still need to process. Yet soundbites and buzzwords won’t replace self-discovery by learning and implementing how to get to that point!
I forfeited the love of myself by giving it first to my nuclear family in my formative years, a disaster resulting in low self-esteem, doubting my every move, and pleasing people to my detriment. Later, I doled out more pieces of my heart to frenemies, intimate partners, and in-laws until the only thing left was me in a crumbled ball, agonizing over how unloved I was.
Deciding in my favor to speak out against the verbal abuse my mother, father, stepmother, in-laws, and partner hurled at me (and to be fair, me to them in true-to-form Pavlovian response) well into adulthood was excruciating. I’d resort to manipulation.
Are you able to pinpoint how you’ve been manipulative? It took a whopping amount of courage to admit my mistakes. I thought I was above resorting to subterfuge, as I was innocent.
But once I saw my role in all the relationships, I hugged myself. Filled with remorse, I began to heal from that point of feeling.
Redirecting love to me has been an elusive procedure, frightening at first and disheartening. When you live listening to the voice of perfectionist tendencies, you find ways to believe you’re not good enough (performance anxiety) and push yourself harder and harder – in work, hobbies, and relationships, even after psychotherapy, past life recall, alternative vision quests, Shamanism, Gestalt therapy, and God knows what else.
Through a series of stressful, incomprehensible (at the time) events, which piled up and almost rendered me a zombie, I took the time to unravel and touch, smell, feel and taste the bitter fruit of my past decisions or lack thereof. I allowed myself to relive past hurts, rage, and disappointments from as far back as I could remember. I guess I put that at age four.
How many of you grew up in households where your parents, grandparents or even great grandparents pounded it into your head to find a mate and have a baby? Although my mother was from the Silent Generation, she was a Women’s Libber who gave me the birth control pill at 15. Yet my father wanted me to settle down and marry at 19!
Psychologists, anthropologists, behavioral scientists, and theologians tell us that no man is an island; we can expand our life expectancy by living with someone. Doomsayers claim that civilization will be extinct if we don’t have a partner with whom to procreate.
Both of these theories are incorrect. I don’t need to live with anyone, yet if at some point I choose to have another human being by my side, whether platonic or intimate, that will be my choice made in mutual consent with such a person. As to procreation, we do not need a partner. There’s IVF, for example.
We trap ourselves in the mindset of need until we let go of our ancestral chatter about partners. Need begets neediness, a form of mind drudgery or mental slavery.
My life before 2008 feels like someone else’s. As if the third trimester began in 2009.
A late bloomer – emotionally as it stands, because from 2010 through 2016, I finally figured out the puzzle pieces of my life and sorted them into a cohesive whole. At 59 years old, I earned the grandest of all qualifications life could offer.
The key to unraveling the former need to be with someone was a concoction of patience and practicing in front of the mirror using NLP techniques, saying aloud, “I love you,” “You are everything just as you are,” and words to that effect. Before retiring for the night, I’d say, “Goodnight, I love you,” then kiss my palm and plant it on my cheek or forehead.
Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose. Freedom is the emergence and blossoming of the relegating fear, doubt, scarcity, rage, hatred, and other debilitating emotions to a place where these feelings have no punch. I realized I did not need to be with a significant other. I needed to be with me. 24/7 happily in love with me, warts and all. Tough times are when you must prove your commitment. I didn’t give up.
At the beginning of the end of need, I saw a vast difference between the words need and desire. I now choose what I want judiciously and find that my needs and desires are almost aligned. True happiness is not about love. It’s about the peace within from balancing need with desire.
Have you found balance within yourself? What prompted you to look for it? Do you think you are free to be who you are? What is stopping you?
Tags Finding Happiness
I relate to everything in this!! I’m now as of Sept 60. My parents let me marry at 17, became a mom at 18…and so on… looking back I did what I call the dog and pony show my entire life.. people pleasing, trying to be the perfect everything. And yep in the end it crumbled. I crumbled. Left not knowing who I even was once my kids grew up. Not married. Sadness set in my parents thought that was attention seeking so they abandoned me… haven’t spoke to me in 9 years. It’s all a hot mess I wish I could do over. I still have so much resentment, I wasn’t parented guided I was just handed off still a child. Then judged. I still quite honestly don’t know who I am not really.
I understand. Know this, this will take time to discover who you really are, but the inner search will be worth it. Realize that it only matters what you think of yourself. Strive to become someone who you can value, be proud of, and love. What other think matters not a bit. They have their lives to live, you have yours. (((Hugs)))
Don’t give up. Eventually the resentment will fade into the ether from which it came.
It took years and different therapies and group sessions to liberate me from feelings of failure, to be accountable for failed relationships etc.etc.!!!
I accepte and love myself as I are and forgive me for what I missed or failed in the past.
It is time at 72 in October!!!!
Thank you so much for your helpfull and profound articles and videos concerning important subjects in our lives.
We know many things but very often forget, do not think about.
It is so good and helpfull to be remembered!
With gratitude to you Amazing ladies.
Thank you, merci, danke
from South of France
Thank you too for doing the hard work. I used to live in Vence. You’re in a beautiful part of the world.
I have yet to find love. I’ve never been loved the way I deserve to be loved. Not even loving myself.
You are alive. You can find it.
I hear you
Just what I needed today for the validation that my choice to live alone is the correct one. 2 years out of a 40 year marriage that sucked the life out of me and stifled my dreams and desires, I thought I was alone in wanting “me” time. Thank you for your choice, your vulnerability and your courage to share this most counter-cultural position. Now at almost 66, the subtle pressure to find a companion (because I’m old and need someone, right?) is exhausting. Yes, yes, yes to choosing what I want “judiciously” and finding that MY needs and MY desires are aligned. This takes time and a ton of newly learned heart-felt discernment, but having spent my life working to discover what made others happy, I think I can now work to discover what makes me happy. Bless you!
You’re so welcome. If it’s counter-cultural I’m all in. Lol
I feel at 64 that I have finally figured myself out. From issues relating to sex, to how I feel about my body and the fact that it is now 64 years old and not 24 and the fact that I am not a size 2 and never will be again. But I finally feel confident enough to have initiated an online hook up (LOL- I had to google what FWB meant when a guy said that is what he was looking for). Not a relationship and I felt absolutely fine with it, because deep down that is really all I wanted. I sometimes look at myself and think WHO ARE YOU? I only wish I felt this free and at peace when I was in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s – how much fun I could have had. I guess it’s never too late.