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
This is wonderful and sincerely shared. Thank you, Elise!
Thank you Teresita. I appreciate your comment.
Thank you so much for this wisdom and fresh perspective. I feel exactly like this but find myself constantly judged by a marriage oppressive society. My dad’s last talk with me before he died was urging me to find a mate. I told him I tried for decades and just couldn’t find one that stuck. Like you said, it would be nice but you can’t force it so be happy with yourself.
Aww, you’re welcome. I was in 3 co-dependent marriages and many relationships. The freedom that comes from self-love is indescribable. Good luck.
Those who protest too much….personally after my late husband passed I didn’t think I’d need anyone and I felt proud of my independence and ability to handle it all by myself. Yes like you I did protest too much but truthfully since my companion and I have been together for 2 years it’s been so fulfilling. It helps that we’ve known each other for 40 years. There’s no need to figure things out.
I was married for 38’years (last 2 he had girlfriend I learned) and being over 60’and started over as single person was excruciating. It’s been 5 years and I’m barely getting back to myself. After feeling kicked to the curb and worthless I’m finally seeing value in myself. Hard fought. He lives 4 blocks away with his now wife. Ugh
Sound familiar to anyone?
Yes, your story is totally familiar to me. I was raising an 8-year-old at 55 when my “wasband” went off with another woman. The reboot took a long time but alas, I am where I am supposed to be in life. Hang in there, Andrea.
Loved this. So true.