#2: Thou Shalt Define Love In A Manner That Gladdens Thy Spirit
The corrolary to #1. In order to maximize your chances of accomplishing something, you have to align your goals, values, beliefs, resources, actions, and emotional charges. The truth is that if your emotions are clear enough, strong enough, focused enough, you will FIND a way to accomplish your goal or die trying. So it is totally worth-while to examine our basic beliefs, to be certain that our core beliefs about love, connection, and relationships are positive and not in conflict with other beliefs, values and priorities.
I don’t know a human being who hasn’t been hurt, betrayed, disappointed or painfully discounted in love. No one whose heart has not been broken: wisdom is the result of experience, experience is the result of making mistakes. Life dings up the strongest and smartest of us.
Here are some thoughts and questions for you. Take a few minutes to write down your reactions and thoughts in connection to each.
1) Attraction is me looking at you. Love is two people looking at each other. But a relationship is two people heading in the same direction.
2) Where did you learn most of what you know about relationships? Would you have consciously, voluntarily accepted these beliefs?
3) Is love primarily associated with pleasure or pain?
4) If you have a negative relationship history, have you learned the lessons, extracted the information, in a way that demonizes neither side? Only if you have can you move forward and leave the pain behind.
5) Who has the healthiest relationship you know? Has it lasted at least 15 years, time enough to raise a child to self-sufficiency? Do you know what their attitudes about love, relationships, connection, and intimacy are? How are they similar to or different from yours?
6) What are your most important values in love and relationships? Write them out…and then prioritize. Look to see if you have conflicts (intimacy versus autonomy, for instance).
Fear and love compete for the same place in your heart. If you have fears about relationships, trust issues, for instance, remember that you can trust other people to the exact degree that you can trust your own judgement. Pain in your past is not your “fault”—but it IS your responsibility to learn and grow if you would have a life of joy and meaning in the realm of the heart.
Only through maturing to a point of self-trust and self-love can you be strong and secure enough to drop your armor. In general, we can either have a shell or a spine.